Showing posts with label 20th century. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 20th century. Show all posts

Saturday, 14 July 2012

A Night On the Galactic Railroad

Kenji Miyazawa by Hiroshi Oshima (Source: K.M. Gallery).
Kenji spent most of his life in Northern Japan.
Years ago, when I was briefly into Japanese animation I picked up the 1985 animated feature Night on the Galactic Railroad.  I remember it as being a movie apart from the other anime I watched - a real audio-visual gem that provoked a lot of religious contemplation during this period.

The theatrical trailer for the film is available here.
The movie was based on a short story by famed Japanese children's author Kenji Miyazawa who also happened to be a teacher and a scientist - geology, chemistry, agriculture.
Kenji Miyazawa (宮沢 賢治 Miyazawa Kenji, 27 August 1896 - 21 September 1933) was a Japanese poet and author of children's literature in the early Shōwa period of Japan. He was also known as a devout Buddhist, vegetarian and social activist.
His writings from this period show sensitivity for the land and for the people who work in it. A prolific writer of children's stories, many that appear superficially to be light or humorous, all contain stories intended for moral education of the reader. He wrote some works in prose and some stage plays for his students and left behind a large amount of tanka and free verse, most of which was discovered and published posthumously. His poetry, which has been translated into numerous languages, has a considerable following to this day. A number of his children’s works have been made into animated movies (anime) in Japan.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Fellow Fallen Angels for Freethought and Science, Revolt!

Satan rouses the fallen angels. (Gustave Dore)
"We have never heard the devil's side of the story, God wrote all the book." - Anatole France on the Bible.

Let's get this into open: I'm not a Satanist.  No, really.

With that said, the longer I am outside of Catholicism, the more I wonder whether the Devil would actually really be on our side, like some kind of alternate Prometheus. It would appear that some prominent literary writers of the last century also had questions like this.

Ever since I read his profound novel Thaïs, I've had a huge fondness for 1921 Nobel Literature Prize Laureate Anatole France.  I shall likely cover Thaïs, Penguin Island and The Gods Are Athirst in later posts.

In this entry I'll focus on his novel La révolte des anges (The Revolt of the Angels).  This is a delightful book with a profound and disturbing message - well unsettling to believers, atheists will likely not be surprised.  I am lazy so, let's get Wikipedia to do some of the introductions with spoilers stripped out.

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