Wednesday, January 17, 2007

T.S. Eliot - The Waste Land

I've found some audio files of T.S. Eliot reading his classic poem "The Waste Land."

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, and educated at Harvard, Eliot lived most of his life in England. In 1948 he was awarded the Nobel Prize. The poem has five sections and has been split into four sound files:

The Waste Land is considered to be Eliot's masterpiece, rich in symbolic, literary, and historical references as the poem explores the struggles of a soul in despair.

Funny, this isn't how it sounds when I read it to myself...

For additional information and references, see Wikipedia::The Waste Land
N.B. These audio files were originally hosted at The site contains a large collection of media from the early days of the Internet rescued from digital oblivion. The HarperAudio section contains several dozen audio files of poems and excerpts from novels being read by their authors. Faulkner, Burgess, Hemingway, Thomas are just a few.
Even Shakespeare reading some of his sonnets!

Friday, January 12, 2007

RIP: Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007)

Today, I was saddened to learn that one of my favorite guerrilla ontologists, Robert Anton Wilson, had passed away, this week, on January 11th.

My first exposure to Mr. Wilson's ideas came through reading the Illuminatus! Trilogy which he co-authored with Robert Shea. I managed to stumble upon his work while in college, and found it to be a great balance against all of the "serious" and "deep" philosophical and ontological works I was digesting at the time. I found it to be an astounding compendium of ideas, both revelatory and fanciful, simultaneously conspiratorial, paranoid, and yet somehow playful and optimistic. His works were a welcome relief from the heaviness of German phenomenologists, and occult cranks.

However, it was his other books that helped change the way I think, philosophically, about a lot of things, particularly his 'non-fiction' writings like Cosmic Trigger and Prometheus Rising. Specifically, I credit Mr. Wilson with helping me to allow humor into my particular Weltangshauung, as well as providing some cognitive tools that allowed me to understand socially constructed belief systems, or reality tunnels, as he called them.

Here is one little factoid about Mr. Wilson, that I only learned about upon his recent passing:

"As a member of the Board of Advisors of the Fully Informed Jury Association, he worked to inform the public about jury nullification, the right of jurors to nullify a law they deem unjust."

R. A. Wilson's Home Page

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