Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cows Absorbing Moisture

Cows in the Autumn Catskills, 1865
by Scottish - American Artist ~ William M. Hart, 1823 - 1894

Current Post On
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
"To Live Even One Day"

There are so many things to say about Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf's elegant interior novel of one day -- plus flashbacks -- in the life of Clarissa Parry Dalloway. I decided to start with one of my sister Peg's favorite passages:

" 'Dear Sir Harry!' she [Clarissa] said, going up to the fine fellow who had produced more bad pictures than any other two Academicians in the whole of St. John's Wood (they were always of cattle, standing in sunset pools absorbing moisture, or signifying, for he had a certain range of gesture, by the raising of one foreleg and the toss of the antlers, 'the Approach of the Stranger' --all his activities, dining out, racing, were founded on cattle standing absorbing moisture in sunset pools)" (266).

Peg wrote: "I just love the thought of such a banal subject as cows standing around in ponds at sunset 'absorbing moisture.' Still makes me smile."

Cows Watering
Seems that Woolf may have had artist William M. Hart in mind
when she created the character of Sir Harry.

I told Peg at the time that her observation about the cow painting was perfect for my Quotidian blog because she expresses so well the thought that the cows are quotidian! Sir Harry keeps us grounded -- maybe in a boring way, but also in a good way!

A week or so after my Fortnightly post about Mrs. Dalloway, Sir Harry, and the cow paintings, Peg had one of those "connection and coincidence" moments that my blogs are all about! Synchronicity!

She wrote to say: "I opened The Frederick [MD] News-Post this morning [Friday, 22 June] and on the front page they had Sir Harry's cows (see below). I couldn't believe the pictures when I first saw it after the discussions I've had this week with you about Mrs. Dalloway. Don't the cows in this picture perfectly exemplify cattle standing in sunset pools absorbing moisture?"


For more on William M. Hart and Virginia Woolf
see my essay "To Live Even One Day"
on The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker

1 comment:

  1. Brenda wrote: Neat timing. The "News-Post" just rose in my esteem for seeing the “coolness” of cows. Three cheers for Sir Harry – and for Peggy who spotted the shot!