The Flâneur's Archives

Archives from The Flâneur's Arcade (2007-2017)

Tag: paris


Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, detail
(Hans Burgkmair, circa 1500)
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

from H. A. L. Fisher, A History of Europe, pp. 351-352
(Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1935)

Frederick III (1440-93), the first Emperor to show the famous Habsburg lip, and the last Emperor to be crowned in Rome, was as great a nullity as ever played an important part in history. Without any of the engaging gifts of Edward II of England, Frederick was just as little fitted as that unfortunate monarch for the dispatch of business… [This] dull obstinate bigot ruled in Vienna for more than fifty years, leaving no print of mind or will upon the conduct of affairs. The Turks conquered Constantinople and overran Hungary. The rôle of Austria as the chief remaining bulwark of Christianity against the Ottoman Turk became charged with a new significance, which could hardly escape the meanest intelligence. But no event, however, startling, could ruffle the placidity of Frederick, no problem however grave could excite his sluggish mind, or the most alarming prospect inflame his torpid imagination. Inertia was the principle of his life. The most important station in Europe at one of the most critical moments in her history was occupied by a blockhead.

Looking Back at Obama

Ex-President Obama’s last look at the White House
(Source: Pete Souza’s Instagram)

As Obama’s term ends, one cannot help reflect on the legacy of his presidency. While his approval ratings remain highest among exiting chief executives of the recent past, I’m afraid that the sober eye of history will cast a harsh judgment on what he did–or rather, did not do–during his watch. As the glitter of his celebrity tarnishes with time, the deficiencies of his feckless leadership will come to full relief, like that of “dull” and “sluggish” Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, who oversaw the final fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks (1453). When Europe is finally completely Islamized, and its democracies subjected to Sharia Law, its people will look back on Obama’s failures in Libya, Syria, and Iraq, the rise of the barbaric Islamic State and the mass migration of muslim refugees to Europe, and discover in his inscrutable inertia the root of its decline.










“No problem however grave could excite his sluggish mind”

Paris, Rodin, and Rilke

Hôtel Biron
(Source: Musée Rodin)

November 2004. Maddie writes about Paris from Beauvais: “it is a drag at times, utterly bewitching at others.” I have never had mixed feelings about Paris. I utterly loved it! The Tuilleries, the Musée d’Orsay, the bridges of the Seine, the Eiffel Tower viewed from Trocadero, where, near dusk, it is reduced to mere geometric lines. The gallery l’Orangerie near the Tuilleries hosts the Nymphèas of Monet; overwhelming in their hugeness, you could almost tilt and dip into the water.

Around the Hôtel Biron, the well-mannered gardens are littered with Rodin’s pulsating bronzes. This is where Rilke discoverd his new voice. In response to Rodin’s aesthetic of “living surfaces”, he began writing what became his “thing-poems” and, like the persona in one of them, gazing at the archaic torso of Apollo, reflected on the transforming power of art: “Du mußt dein leben ändern” (You must change your life).