In our burgeoning and mushrooming world with so many things going viral, with an intensification, an optimization, a multiplication, an easy availability of stuff from all over the humanities, from every inch of the creative and performing arts, the expanding and expansive physical, biological and applied sciences, information by the truckload, no one can keep-up with it all. One dips into the pot, the pot-pourri, and takes out what one knows about, what interests one, what comes one’s way by planning or serendipity. There are millions, indeed, billions, of downloads taking place in cyberspace across a digital divide that covers everything imaginable.
I was a teacher in the humanities and social sciences for 32 years and a student for 18. In that half century I read more books and essays, journal articles and poems than I could count. But there was, inevitably, much that escaped my notice or, if not my notice, then my capacity and circumstances to read: the novel and the writer, the essayist and the essay, the poet and the poem.
Emile Zola(1840-1902) was one such writer and novelist. So it was in these years of the evening of my life, retired as I am from FT, PT and most casual-volunteer work, a retired teacher who has reinvented himself as a writer and poet, a person who now watches more TV than he has done since that wondrous piece of technology first came into my life 60 years ago, so it was that I took more than a little interest in the latest British costume drama series, The Paradise, one of the 34 film and TV adaptations of Emile Zola’s 20 novels with their 300+ characters.1
I won’t tell you about the television drama itself or Emile Zola’s novel. You can find that out for yourself, if the subject is of interest to you. My mother and father may have seen the first film adaptations of this novel back in the 1930s or 1940s, but my parents died some 40 years ago and so they not available to be asked. There was a biopic of Zola that was released in 1937, in the years just before my parents met in Hamilton Ontario at the Otis Elevator Co. The year 1937 was also the start of the first Baha’i teaching Plan, the extensions of which I’ve been associated with for 60 years.
Zola once wrote that: “The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work." For me, both the gift and the work sensibly and insensibly came into my life as the decades of my lifespan went from young, middle to late adulthood, and old age.-Ron Price with thanks to 1The Paradise, ABC1 TV, 8:30-9:30 p.m., 30/1/’13.
Your imagination was aroused
by the city-life of Paris, jobs, &
all the details of your own life.
I, too, have an autobiographical
focus in my writing &, like you
meticulously describe my world.
I, too, believe in the scientific &
moral progress of humanity, and
this, inspite of appearances to the
contrary…It took more than four
months for Bill Gallagher & this
BBC production to come here to
Australia. Bill does a good job of
putting Zola’s words & ideas into
a visual-pleasure-piece for me in
these years of the evening of life.1
1 Bill Gallagher was the writer and creator of this in-house BBC drama production. This period drama is set in the impossibly glamorous world of the first ever department store in mid-to-late 19th century France. The series attracted a strong loyal audience in the UK with an average audience of 5.9 million, a 22.5% share.
“I'm very grateful,” said Gallagher, “that there's such a strong audience for The Paradise, and for the terrific support the BBC has given to the show to make that possible. It's such a great ensemble of actors and such a rich group of characters that it's an exciting prospect to have eight more episodes to make.”
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- This post is written in memory of Ray Bradbury
- This post was written in connection with the transit of Venus