NINIANE, LADY OF THE LAKE – Reblog – Flint Johnson

TALLHWCH – The pursuit of history

The first mention of either the Lady of the Lake or Ninian (Niniane, Vivian, etc.) is to be found in the late work Prose Merlin.  Her character remains much the same through to Sir Thomas Malory, who simply makes the story more complex.  In all the stories that name her Ninian is a fully developed character.  She is the original owner of Arthur’s second sword and later becomes Merlin’s pupil.

However, as with many aspects of the Arthurian literary world, there are serious gaps in reasoning with her story, and these gaps suggest a very different origin for her.  For instance, Merlin somehow knows she will betray him, but teaches her anyway.  The romances explain that he does so because he loves her, but that sounds like more of a rationalization of something not understood than a historical fact that is.

The end of her story is that Niniane does trap Merlin in a cave the moment her studies are over.  He is left there, alive (again, no serious explanation).  It certainly is not out of malice for Arthur.  Niniane takes over as his counselor for the remainder of his reign and does her best to help him.  She is also one of the four women who take him to Avalon.  That is the extent of Ninian’s literary career.  Clearly, her original character and the transformation have been hidden by chance and misunderstandings.

Uinniau was a prominent ecclesiastic of sixth-century Britain who may have been Columba’s teacher.  He was known as Niniane in Welsh saints’ lives or Nynia by Bede.  However, much of Scotland has place-names derived from his proper name of Uinniau.  This Uinniau was known for three things mainly.  First, he was one of the most knowledgeable persons of his age.  Second, he was a great teacher who made his monastery of Whithorn was a primary center of learning in Britain.  Finally, it is known that he would occasionally go on a retreat to a nearby cave, known as St. Ninian’s Cave, which was several miles away from his monastery.

Niniane would eventually became the form by which Uinniau was exclusively known.  In fact, the process must have been an early one.  Bede, writing in 725, knew him only by that name.  It was an unfortunate circumstance that Niniane was a Celtic name, and the romance writers who would treat Arthur on the continent spoke Germanic and Latin languages.  The unfamiliarity with Celtic would lead to confusion over his gender, and he became a she there.

Arthur was an attractive figure in the literature of the Middle Ages, gravitating all manner of figures, motifs, and stories to him.  In previous blogs, I have mentioned the attraction of the Myrddin (Merlin) legend and the figure of Urien.  The same sort of fate awaited Uinniau.  Long before Arthur had become a figure of romance, Uinniau’s dominant name-form had become to Niniane.  For the Celtic speaker that was still a male name, but for continentals, it was female.

That change from male to female, from independent ecclesiastic to intelligent layperson was where Uinniau became a different literary figure.  Once Uinniau was a part of the Arthurian universe, his reputation for intelligence would have drawn him to the already established Merlin; in an irony of history, a lunatic (Myrddin) became the teacher of one of the best-read people of the age (Uinniau).  Once that transformation was accomplished, the latent aspects of Uinniau’s memory easily made their way into Arthurian the tales, and Merlin was trapped in the cave Uinnau had used as a refuge.

I won’t pretend to know how Ninian became the Lady of the Lake.  However, she would not have begun her Arthurian career that way.  She would have started off as Merlin’s pupil and successor with the qualities of her historical precursor intact.  She was associated with a lake only by Robert de Boron, an author that I have discovered in my research was not one to stick with his traditional sources.  It is possible he knew of some Celtic tale which he used to enhance Uinniau’s mythology.  It is equally possible he used something more contemporary.  That part of the history of the Lady of the Lake we may never know.

Marilyn Armstrong‘s insight:

One of my favorite mysteries, leaving enough unanswered questions to hold my interest. If you have never visited TALLWCH, check it out: http://tallhwch.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/niniane-the-lady-of-the-lake/

See on: tallhwch.wordpress.com

Christmas Favorites 6 : Sleigh Ride

Some truly fun festival songs. Gotta love Roy yodeling. I tried to yodel. OH, how I tried. It came out more like squawking, but I gave it my best shot 😀 Merry whatever you celebrate. At the very least, enjoy the music!


 

My Favorite Westerns

Giddy up, Giddy up, Let’s go !
Just look at that snow!

Dedicated to Marilyn and Garry over at Serendipity blog.
https://teepee12.com/
Marilyn
is a big Roy and Dale fan and this version
of Sleigh Ride is special. It has a bonus song: Jingle Bells
plus Roy does some yodelling! Alright!

Ella! Very nice!

Bing

Jack knows how to do it 

This is sweet : 

Okay, I’m getting the spirit now !

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FROM THE SMALL DOG – Reblog – Sue Vincent

“The time has come,” the doglet said,
“to talk of many things;
Of tennis balls and squeaky ducks,
and sneaky bees with stings;
of why the sparrows fly so fast
and if that cat has wings.”
“Just wait a bit,” the writer said,
“I’m busy with these things.”

“But writer,“ said the small dog then,
“The sun will shortly set,
the pheasants will be playing out,
and rabbits too, I bet.
I really should be practising,
I haven’t caught one yet.”
“Hmm. Never mind, it’s raining
and you don’t like getting wet.”

“Ok then,” sighed the little dog,
“We could consider, please,
the therapeutic benefits
of sharing Cheddar cheese.
Or why that spider’s sitting there,
Or why do you have knees…”
“You scratch a lot,” the writer said,
“You sure it isn’t fleas?”

The clouds were turning dusky pink,
Upon the fading blue.
The writer sighed, put down the pen
another task was through.
“Come on, small dog, go get the leash,
your walk is overdue.”
The small dog answered sheepishly,
“Tough luck, I ate your shoe.”

With apologies to Lewis Carroll…. 
But none at all to her.
She should come out more.

Sue Vincent – The Daily Echo

WHEN ADONIS CALLS – Rich Paschall (A Reblog)

A Modern Opera, a review

It is likely I would not have gone to see a local opera company had I not already been familiar with the work of the poet, Gavin Geoffrey Dillard.  After all, I have seen plenty of opera at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and plenty of local theater.  But this has an intriguing premise that was too good to pass up.

I first encountered Mr. Dillard in the late 1980s.  I was looking for a book of poetry that was well reviewed and actually contacted him at the publisher.  I found earlier works as well as later and even exchanged correspondence with the author.  His poetic style is unique, varied and always interesting.

Originally the librettist, John De Los Santos, had proposed an opera based on Dillard’s autobiography, In The Flesh.  Dillard countered with the idea of an older poet with a bit of writer’s block, and a younger one who becomes his muse.  The idea came to him as he had been in correspondence with a younger fan/poet over a certain length of time.  They exchanged poems just as the characters of the opera do.  The opera, however, is not a telling of that, but rather uniquely original.

De Los Santos constructed the work in 5 sections.  A couple of collections of older works of Dillard provided the voice of the muse/younger poet, while more recent works provided the basis of the older poets words.  De Los Santos advised that he was able to put the pieces together in just five months.  You will find that remarkable if you are lucky enough to catch the show.

Director /choreographer/librettist John De Los Santos approached composer Clint Borzoni for the music.  At first, he was unsure of the project but got rolling as the words suggested to him the music.  He has crafted a work that would be challenging to the seasoned professional.

Dillard with Kistler (left) and Wilson (right)

The two young men who provide an entire full-length opera in the Chicago production are up to the challenge.  Jonathan Wilson plays the poet while Nathan James Kistler is his muse.  They are always engaged and engaging.  The time moves quickly when performers keep your attention on the storyline.  Like any good opera, the company projects the words above the performance area.  This is particularly helpful with the unique work of Dillard.

The story is aided with the interpretive dance of Jay Espano and Christopher Young at various moments throughout.  For their purposes, a larger stage would have been helpful, but they manage well nonetheless.

Thompson Street Opera Company’s production at the Broadway Theater at the Pride Arts Center is the second production of the opera.  It premiered at the Ashville Lyric Opera in May 2018.

Finally, don’t be put off (or turned on) by the Opera Company notice that there is full male nudity in the show. It lasts about 3 seconds on a darkened performance area and the lights go out quickly.  If you see anything at all (I didn’t), then I suggest you have probably seen such things before.

It’s about time! – REBLOG – Gordon Stewart

Strange how this “old” movie is probably today’s most relevant movie. We don’t seem to learn from past errors. Maybe we can’t. There’s something wrong with humanity.

 

Views from the Edge

Timely reflections of an anachronist

Robert Mueller III’s and the Southern District of New York’s court filings, and the President’s response, confirm that “Individual-1” never should have been administered the oath of office “to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.” The people around the Oval Office are the only brakes on the man who, like Chauncey (“Chance”) Gardner played by Peter Sellers in the humorous film Being There, spends his days watching his favorite television shows, doesn’t read, and reduces complexity to the simplest of terms. 

Ron Steigler: Mr. Gardner, uh, my editors and I have been wondering if you would consider writing a book for us, something about your um, political philosophy, what do you say?

Chance: I can’t write.

Ron Steigler: Heh, heh, of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my…

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Order now! Trump’s Greatest Hits! REBLOG from The Shinbone Star!

I didn’t know what to get for those special people on my list …. but this is perfect! The ultimate (final?) gift.


 

THE SHINBONE STAR

— Skye Hunter/The Shinbone Star

For the first time anywhere, Fox News and K-Tel present the Donald-you-all-know-and-love in a new compilation of Trump’s Greatest Hits.

Yes, such crowd pleasers as “Crooked Hillary,” “MAGA” and “Build the Wall” are available for the first time on CD, vinyl and 8-track for those of you who insist on living in the past.

And of course, there are other unforgettable refrains, like the ever-popular “End the Witch Hunt,” “The Press Is the Enemy” and “A Caravan of Killer Babies Is Coming to Rape You.”

In addition to these fan favorites, you’ll find new material, including “Baby It’s Cold Outside (So there’s obviously no global warming)” and “This Thanksgiving I’m Thankful for Me.”

Order now, and you’ll receive a bonus disc of cover versions, performed as only Donnie can do them.

You’ve never heard “Stormy,” “Liar Liar,” “I’m Dreaming of An All White Christmas” or…

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THE GIANT WOMBAT IN THE BASEMENT: Reblog by Rob Hedge – THE INCURABLE ARCHAEOLOGIST

I’m a fool for archaeology and paleontology and this is so up my alley. It’s long, but it’s definitely worth the read! Great piece of well-researched work! Who knew about giant marsupials?


 

the incurable archaeologist

There’s a giant wombat in the basement of Worcester Museum. It’s there because Henry Hughes was bored of banking. It was the starting point of a story that has led me, via mid-19th century Brisbane and the learned societies of Victorian England, into some of the darker corners of the British Empire.

In 1838, the young and ambitious Henry Hughes left his job in Worcester for a new life in Australia. He was accompanied by the Isaacs family, including two brothers whom Hughes had known well in Worcester, Henry Edward and Frederic Neville. Hughes and the two Isaacs brothers — just 22 and 18 at the time of their arrival in Australia — bought a farm in Hunter Valley, and settled awhile. But it seems that this agricultural idyll failed to satisfy their thirst for adventure. Spurred by tales of fortunes to be made on the frontier, they sold up…

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