Something New on the Western Front
'From the first human handprint on a cave wall, we're part of something continuous. So we don't really die.' (The Dig - 2021)
She blinked in surprise as she saw time slowing down. The trees were now distinct shapes, not just dark stains gliding on a white blanket of snow. The whole valley seemed still to her eyes, the mountains in the back majestically posed. The landscape was so desolate and silent that she was afraid to breathe for a long moment, the whisper of air coming in and going out might have disturbed such quiet. Everything seemed on the verge, a sigh would have been enough for the mountains to start crumbling down.
‘Can’t repeat the past? Why, of course you can, Old Sport!’ – The Great Gatsby, the story of a dreamer.
‘I want to write something new’ said F. Scott Fitzgerald to his editor in the summer of 1922, ‘- something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned’. And with this in his mind, Fitzgerald wrote what is considered one of the greatest American novels, The Great Gatsby. Unfortunately for him, the success was posthumous. All the reviews written in the year of its publication, 1925, did not encourage sales, as they depicted the novel to be an absurd, melodramatic story.
‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’ – Tolkien and the war to end all wars.
It is Thursday the 10th of June 1915. Twenty-three-year-old John Ronald Reuel Tolkien sits down to his final set of examinations at the University of Oxford, with which he will consequentially end his career as an undergraduate. He has dreamed of this moment since his departure from his beloved Edith, who he can marry only after completing his studies at Oxford by decree of Father Francis, the priest that had custody over him and his brother. But now hopes and dreams have to be put aside again in light of a larger event: the First World War. Officially begun on the 28th of July 1914, it developed as a tragedy that shook Europe as a whole and impacted millions of lives. Contrary to many of his contemporaries, Tolkien is not enthusiastic to serve in the war, and the idea of completing his studies before enlisting has been, for the writer, a big relief. But now the end of his degree is close and fears and anxiety grow stronger. After one year there is a growing recognition that the war is not the simple and glorious one which the authorities had promised, but more like a slaughtered.
Aotearoa I’ve seen the land that will always be land of eternal beauty, the queen land of this world Peace comes
11th of November
And one morning everything will be a memory – for someone – a bad dream. You will wake up looking at the snow and you will see blood.
'Here events are scars on the face of history, but their evoking ability is unaltered. In Berlin nothing remains more visible than what you are trying to delete.' (Johann Bernhard Merian)