Saturday, April 13, 2024

Quote of the Day (William Cowper, on the Perils of ‘The Castaway’)

“No voice divine the storm allay'd,
         No light propitious shone;
When, snatch'd from all effectual aid,
         We perish'd, each alone:
But I beneath a rougher sea,
And whelm'd in deeper gulfs than he.”—English poet William Cowper (1731–1800), “The Castaway” (1799)
I know what you’re thinking: that picture sure doesn’t look like any William I know. And you are right.
A week ago, after not encountering it since it first played in theaters, I watched the 1990s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, directed by Ang Lee.
It includes this scene with Kate Winslet, in one of her earliest screen roles, as Marianne Dashwood—who, in a display of her sensitive, romantic, at times overwrought, temperament, reads from this Cowper poem—an embodiment of her emotional crisis of the moment. (Austen, it turns out, greatly admired Cowper's work.)

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