Author Archives: Leslie

“Opening Night” for San Francisco Symphony!

The San Francisco Symphony may have returned to Davies Symphony Hall many months ago, but for this music lover April 28 was the night that confirmed my wistful belief: It all sounds better live.  The program offered excitement that I did not realize I had craved for more than two years.  Klaus Makela made his SFS debut conducting Peru Negro (written 2012) by Jimmy Lopez Bellido; Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1935) by Alban Berg; and Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Opus 93 (1953) by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Maestro Makela, a Norwegian, has received many honors in a short time. At age 25, he is Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Oslo Philharmonic and Music Director and Artistic Advisor of the Orchestre de Paris. This program demonstrated that he is adept at understanding and leading music from widely different eras and composers. Similarly, the SFS demonstrated along with Maestro Makela that they can make brilliant music that glows and lives no matter the style or era.

Klaus Mäkelä conducts the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall on April 28, 2022

The program opened with composer Jimmy Lopez Bellido onstage to introduce his music. He explained that while in the US, living in Berkeley, he took time in Lima, his home town. He delved into the sounds of street vendors making songs announcing what they offer. In a question- answer form, the songs grow into stories told by the orchestra. He noted that the African and traditional Peruvian modes were more parallel than intertwined, but he sought to bring them together, and he achieved that goal. He also explored his fascination with rhythms with African origins. The piece was simultaneously delightful and challenging. The closing percussion was thrilling.

Composer Jimmy López Bellido takes a bow following the performance of his “Perú Negro” by the San Francisco Symphony

Berg’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra was dedicated to 18 year old Manon Gropius, the daughter of Alma Mahler Werfel and architect Walter Gropius. Berg had known Manon since since was very young. She died from polio, a heartbreaking event for Berg as well as for Manon’s parents and friends. The Concerto is major work, about 22 minutes long. Its four movements of expanding emotions reflect characteristics of Manon from the opening Andante through Allegretto, Allegro and the final Adagio. The violin soloist, Ms Vilde Frang, also a Norwegian, played with expressive power and passion. The end is more tragic for having heard the Allegretto and Allegro before it. Ms Frang was embraced by the deeply moved audience.

Violinist Vilde Frang performs Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony

Shostakovich’s music is always great, and this is the right time to hear him, especially Symphony No. 10. When the content of this program was chosen, it is unlikely that anyone thought that Stalin or his political off-spring could be on so many minds. Russia’s war on Ukraine and the echoes of Stalinesque behaviors in suppression of a whole country can be seen on every channel. Stalin and his helpers followed, criticized, and punished Shostakovich through his life. The death of Stalin, in 1953, could have meant the liberation of his composing creativity if Shostakovitch had not been so worn down and terrified for his family. However, in No. 10 the composer paints an audible picture of experiences in such a dictatorship.

Dmitri Shostakovich

The long first movement is full of fear and uncertainty. It is like an entire population stumbling and crashing into stone walls. The second movement is said to be a portrait of Stalin. It is fast and angry. One would not want this music to chase after oneself. The final movement is something completely different even after the astonishingly “different” beginnings. It has quiet moments that say “let’s meditate about this” and daring, playful times that seem to promise escape. The SFS woodwinds added heart piercing and glorious solos to this expressive movement. Just when a listener might think the direction could take us down to the depths, there is a coded message from Shostakovich. He found a way to spell his initials in musical notes. He does it right here knowing his survival is a triumph.

Photos of Klaus Makela, Jimmy Lopez Bellido, and Vilde Frang by Stefan Cohen, courtesy of SF Symphony

 

EDWARD UPWARD, by Peter Stansky

In honor of Peter Stansky’s 90th birthday, Lively is posting reviews of his books. Professor Stansky, an historian of modern Britain, has been Chair of the Stanford history department and served in many leadership positions. These reviews are by Leslie Friedman and appeared in the publications of The Institute for Historical Study.

Edward Upward: Art and Life. Peter D. L
Stansky (Enitharmon Press, London, 2016)
Long-time member of The Institute for Historical Study member Peter Stansky, Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford University, has written a classic biography of Edward Upward, a man of mystery. A leading light of the English literary world in the 1930s, he is widely unknown, even though he lived to be slightly older than 105 (1903-2009), was author of twelve books, and still has, posthumously, seven books in print. Stansky’s is the first biography of this important figure. Stansky succeeds at highlighting the details of
Upward’s life while also focusing on the refrain that repeats throughout his life and has universal impact: which must one put first—art or life?
The book’s title demonstrates Stansky’s conclusion that Upward achieved in both.
Edward Upward was born in Essex. His father was a doctor. His father’s family had made
money through the first wholesale grocery import business in England. Welcome to
English, hair-splitting class definitions. To have money is good, but trade is middle class. A
doctor is a professional, but, at the opening of the 20th century, medicine did not have the
cachet it would later achieve. Edward Upward was in the middle (or upper) middle class with
enough advantages to have the childhood of a young gentleman.
He attended a prep school, a reputable public school, Repton, and Corpus Christi College,
Cambridge. He hated these schools. He had good times at sports, saw his early poetry
published in school journals, and won the Chancellor’s Medal for English Verse at
Cambridge. However, schools were for him replicas of Hell. Still, he became a
schoolmaster. He felt the need to support himself; being a schoolmaster gave him security.

EDWARD UPWARD

Upward saw beating and bullying in schools as a parallel to England’s class system which he
despised. His sense of injustice led him to Marxism-Leninism and, later, membership in
the Communist Party. Whatever his socio-political analysis of school life, he gained an education and friendship that deepened his creative gifts and refined his literary perceptions. Christopher Isherwood, novelist and short story writer, arrived at Reptona year after Upward. Isherwood describes him in his memoir, Lions and Shadows: “Everything about him appealed to me. He was a natural anarchist, a born romantic revolutionary.” (Stansky, 55) Stansky conveys the friendship between Upward and Isherwood in its many levels of understanding and the help they gave each other throughout their lives. Isherwood revered Upward. They were each
other’s first readers of new writing. Isherwood introduced poet W.H. Auden and Upward, in
1927. Auden was three years younger than Isherwood whom he knew from prep school. Though Auden later abandoned the left, Upward’s politics influenced him. Auden
adopted aspects of Upward’s fantasies into early  poems. In fact, when Auden gave Upward his
book, Poems, in 1930, the poet wrote in it that he wondered how much he had “filched” from
Upward by way of Isherwood. (Stansky, 131)  These literary relationships, as described by
Stansky, put Upward at the center of 1930s English writers, the “Auden Circle.”
Together at Corpus Christi, Upward and Isherwood wrote stories of a fantasy world they
invented. It had a map, characters fulfilling basic village roles, but the stories’ events were
surreal. In the stories of Mortmere, Isherwood and Upward became Starn and Hynd,
professional pornographers. The Mortmere fantasies are obsessed with sex, violence, and
potty jokes. They were the works of brilliant men in their teenage to young adult years.
Upward wrote that Isherwood wrote “about shit-eating and I about necrophilia.” (Stansky, 93)
Upward destroyed his own writing but kept Isherwood’s.

Christopher isherwood

Stansky notes that Upward cites Wilfred Owen, Katherine Mansfield, and Emily Brontë as the
greatest influences on him when an under-graduate. Emily Brontë and her sister Anne,
when ages sixteen and fourteen, created the fantasy island world of Gondal which was then
matched by Charlotte and Branwell with their fantasy island, Angria. These worlds were
preoccupied with war, spies, and romance. One wonders if “Hynd and Starn” knew about
Gondal and Angria and decided to make their own complete world which was on the Atlantic
coast of England rather than in the Pacific like Gondal and Angria. Stansky succeeds in
describing Mortmere’s significance in the English literary tradition of imaginary worlds.
Upward became a master at Alleyn’s School, Dulwich, South London, in 1932 and stayed
until he retired in 1961. The year 1932 was also the year he joined the Communist Party and met his future wife, Hilda Percival, a teacher. Having met Hilda when she gave a talk at a
Party meeting, he recognized she had a different status than previous women he had known. He felt she connected him to the Workers, though Stansky shows she better fit the lower middle
class. Hilda and Edward Upward had a happy family life, including two children. Together
they continued to work for their local Party: going to meetings, selling publications,
spreading the word. His love for Hilda grew throughout their lives. “I am very lucky to have
Hilda,” he wrote to Isherwood. “Marrying her was one of the few really sensible things I’ve done in my life.” (Stansky, 241)

In 1932 Upward also went to the USSR with a group primarily of teachers. The trip helped to put Upward on a watch list for MI5 and the Special Branch of the Police. He had gotten their attention when he contributed to a Daily Worker fund in 1931. Hilda made a trip to Russia in 1933. There were files on both of them. Upward’s life seems quiet, devoted to family, teaching, and faith in Communism while his inner life could be in turmoil. His inner debate did not stop even after he and Hilda left the Party, in 1948. Could he focus on writing and shortchange political action? Would he be just another bourgeois individualist? He led a peaceful life but believed that violent revolution was necessary to change English society. He wrote The Spiral Ascent, his trilogy, in plain, straightforward prose. He abandoned his surrealist style so that workers would have no trouble understanding exactly what he wrote. In 1958, when Upward had a breakdown and might have given up writing, Isherwood wrote to Hilda, sad that his friend might abandon this part of himself. “I feel this not only because I love him but because I’m only a writer myself because of him. At the beginning he taught me everything and I’ve always felt his talent is far greater than mine, even if he hasn’t used it as much.” (Stansky, 287-288)

Edward Upward older.
Stansky presents good and bad reviews of Upward’s writing and shows how it was
received in the literary world. He doesn’t take sides but does create sympathy for his subject.
Upward was dedicated to writing but had to fight himself to do it.
In addition to being a bourgeois amongst Communists, Upward was a heterosexual among
homosexuals. His best friend, Isherwood, and others of the Auden Circle had active homosexual love lives and partnerships. None of this appears to have ruffled Upward. When
young, he wrote about his need for sexual encounters and described, in less than politically
correct language, to Isherwood how it was working out with the women he saw. He and
Isherwood exchanged this kind of information without hesitation.
Upward believed he needed to be politically active to be able to write. Yet, after the Hogarth
Press published his novel Journey to the Border, in 1938, until he broke with the Party 10 years
later, he could not write. This biography offers insights that will especially excite readers
interested in the 1930s, the literature of the time, the particular character of the English
Communist Party. Upward was a man of mystery in the contradictions within his seemingly calm life. However, it is hardly necessary that a communist should be wild eyed and badly
dressed. Some of these contradictions are stereotypes in the mind of the beholder. His
anxiety over the choice between art and life may have been resolved through writing how he
found, as in the name of the last book of his trilogy, there was “No Home But the Struggle.
Having written that book, he brought the two into one.
– Leslie Friedman

Thanks to Maria Sakovich, editor, and The Institute for Historical Study for permission to republish this review.

LARRY LYNCH: A SALUTE TO A GREAT HUMAN

This is the obituary sent to Larry’s friends. Please read it and try to imagine the heart and mind of this man: a true artist, a true friend, one of the few ever who embodied the true spirit of dance.

Larry Lynch  …he “believed in life before death. He loved Shaina beyond measure.”

June 12, 1941 – October 29, 2021

(80 years old)

FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO BRAZIL

Larry Lynch, whose father was from Caherciveen, Co. Kerry and maternal grandparents from Eyeries, Co. Cork was born in San Francisco. He loved the city and literally walked nearly every street, marking each one off on a carefully preserved map. He often drove by his childhood home on 22nd Avenue sharing details of the bygone ice cream shop, the houses where his neighborhood pals lived, the store front where he got his first hair cut, St Monica’s and Saturdays spent at the Bal Theatre.

DANCE CHAMPION

Larry spent his tween and teen years in the East Bay. He began dance lessons at the age of 5 and at age 10 he began to study with the late Annie Tully. In his step dance competition career, Larry won over fifty first prize medals and trophies. He was undefeated in California, winning the state championship five years in a row. He also won the Chicago Mid-West championship five years in a row and in Philadelphia he won the championship of the United Sates for Irish Step Dancing.

The dominant influence in LL’s love of dancing was his grandfather John D. O’Sullivan, “Johnny Uochirre”, a step dancer from Ireland who had migrated to Butte, Montana in the 1890s and then moved to San Francisco in 1935. His grandfather played the fiddle and taught step dancing. His mother played Irish dance music on the piano. LL often spoke of his enjoyment watching and participating in the dances that took place in his home when he was young.

PEACE CORPS

Larry graduated from Bishop O’Dowd High School and went off to South Bend, Indiana to attend The University of Notre Dame. After graduating from Notre Dame, Larry joined the Peace Corps. He often mused at the fact that he asked to be sent to any Spanish speaking country, yet he was assigned to Brazil. He never, ever regretted that oversight. He went first as a volunteer, then came home for two years to pursue a graduate degree in Latin American studies. He returned to Brazil as an Area Director to lead the Peace Corps Program in the State of Mato Grosso where he had been a volunteer. For many years, he managed Peace Corps volunteers assigned to roles in Brazilian agencies in the areas of health care and agricultural extension. His experience of Brazilian people, their music, food and culture, made him a fan for life.

When he left Brazil, Larry returned to San Francisco. For four years he read books, ran in Golden Gate Park and along Ocean Beach and made a life changing decision to make Irish music and dance part of his life.

IRISH DANCE & MUSIC

Larry taught set dancing and ceili dancing for many years at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco and at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts in Berkeley. Over the years, hundreds of students delighted in learning the steps, style and figures of Irish country dances. Each series of dance lessons ended with a pot luck ceili with live music, followed by a night cap at Mulcrevy’s Irish Pub in the Marina, often punctuated with songs from Arhie, a Scottish accordion player who often topped off the night with “Roamin in the Gloamin”. (If you missed LL’s imitation of Archie, you missed something special.)

Larry also taught dance workshops in cities across the US as well as in Canada, England and Ireland. He taught set dancing for many years at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare. In addition, every summer for 20 years, Larry took small groups of dancers on tour to towns, villages and rural communities throughout Ireland, meeting local people, dancing with them and sharing their music and song. Needless to say, everyone who joined in had fun. Fourteen marriages (including his own to Shaina) are attributed to Larry Lynch’s dance classes, workshops, ceilis and tours.

Larry’s extensive research, appreciation of and respect for local tradition and the old style set dances are apparent in his book, Set Dances of Ireland, Tradition and Evolution, along with the companion music recordings that feature some of Ireland’s best traditional musicians. So many people over the years got to know Larry’s humor, joyful spirit and personal love of dance as well as his knowledge, love, and preservation of Irish history, music, song and dance. Every chance he got, LL delighted in telling stories of the old timers he met over the years and the life long friendships he made.

MEDICAL TRANSPORTATION

In addition to what Larry referred to as his “Performing Arts Business”, he was involved in the non-emergency medical transportation industry for many years. He co-owned a company that provided wheel chair van services to people with disabilities. He served as the Executive director of both the California Medical Transportation Association, and the National Medical Transportation Association, whose members were business owners providing similar services.

In his later years, Larry — quite by accident and thanks to his brother-in-law Bill — began an all-encompassing interest in Bourbon. Over time, LL and his bourbon buddy, Mikey, collected over 200 bourbons. In true Larry fashion, Larry generously shared his collection in his very own “local” basement bourbon bar. Quoting Johnny Uochirre, shot glasses clinking, he’d toast, “Drink up, you’ll be a long time dead.” Or just as often, “Many more together!”

LL loved family. He embraced and created family traditions. He nurtured a loving connection to his and Shaina’s family here in America as well as his family in Ireland. Holidays, weekly Friday or Sunday night dinners, monthly get-togethers, Christmas outings, annual picnics, tailgates, Russian River trips, Yosemite weekends, family reunions, birthdays, baptisms, graduations, weddings and funerals — he was there, always there…bourbon in one hand, a bag of Lay’s potato chips in the other.

Larry had a multitude of fine friends, who are probably thinking by the end of this long summary, “What am I, chopped liver?” Not at all! He treasured a long list of friends with whom he shared many and various aspects of his life. Friendships characterized with reciprocated affection, respect, trust and good times. Some were based on books, music, dancing, shared experiences or patronage of a favorite local. Some were his godchildren. Some were members of the coveted FUNClub.

Larry was a lovely dancer. He was a story teller. He was uncommonly interesting. His combination of intellect, curiosity and experience was rare. He loved bright colors, loved to have his elbows up on the bar, loved to dance, teach life lessons, loved to read and share books and believed in life before death. He loved Shaina beyond measure. He lives in our hearts always.

 

To honor Larry’s memory, please consider making a difference in the life of a person in need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: CELEBRATE!

Beginning in 1996, The Lively Foundation presented annual concerts honoring Women’s History Month. Through many years, Lively’s concerts, HEROIC, BELOVED, were the only concerts honoring Women’s History Month. Artistic Director, Leslie Friedman, noticed that she had choreographed dances about women, about specific, historical figures, and dances set to texts written by women and music composed by women. That work became the first repertory of dances and music. Each year new works would be added often featuring guest artists. Subjects of the dances included Harriet Tubman, with a text by her and a song created about her by Higher Ground, a singing group from Oakland,; the Bronte sisters, using texts from Charlotte Bronte and music by Chopin; Clara Schumann, composer and pianist, with music by her life long friend, Johannes Brahms; Willa Cather, American author, using text from her book, My, Antonia, and premiering music by Jon Deak, music by African-American composer, Undine Smith Moore.

Opera singer Pamela Dillard was one of our first guest artists. She performed classical music songs and others One of her songs was Come Down, Angels, music by Undine Smith Moore. Ms Friedman accompanied Come Down, Angels with a premiere dance.

Pictures from two Heroic, Beloved performances: L-R:Leslie Friedman, Opera singer Marnie Breckinridge, SF Supervisor Reverend Amos Brown; on right side: Pamela Herndon (L) and Sarah Moss (R) dance in the SF Civic Center Garden before their premiere performance of Muse News, music by Bach; choreograhpy by Leslie Friedman.

Twenty Years On, by Peter DL Stansky – book review

Twenty Years On, by Peter Stansky (Pinehill Humanities Press), 2020

Peter D.L.Stansky, Professor Emeritus, Modern British History, Stanford University

This is a delightful book. Stansky’s felicitous style allows him to write profound observations which never hit the reader like a blow on the head. Instead, one feels historical memory and imagination light up as connections such as those between architecture in California and the Arts and Crafts movement in 19th century England become clear. The book is a collection of essays and lectures Stansky has presented over the past twenty years. His field is modern British history focusing on the intersection of political, social, cultural, and artistic history and where each defined area influences and modifies the others.

The essays’ subjects were the interests of his books: the Arts and Crafts Movement, especially William Morris; George Orwell; Bloomsbury; writers and artists of the 1930s, especially concepts of boundaries and frontiers; World War II, especially Churchill and the London Blitz; what it means to be English. There is a contemporary subject: history over television. How does history fare when the need for drama is nearly so important as accuracy?

The book is entertaining, informative, and learned. This reader’s favorite is the Preface in which Stansky tells how he decided to be an historian and why of England (I will not divulge details best enjoyed directly). Reading these essays does not replace reading the books, but it reveals the germs of ideas that propel the books. Provocative ideas in one subject suggest relationships with ideas in other chapters of life as well as of history.

Stansky wrote two books on Orwell with the late writer and editor, William Abrahams: The Unknown Orwell (1972) and Orwell: The Transformation (1979). Turn to Orwell’s writing to correct notions of “alternative facts” and “fake news.” One thinks the blight corroding truth is easily recognized; then falls into an enthusiasm created by Big Brother. Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, about his time in the Spanish Civil War, is proof. Which side has the good guys? Hard to tell.

Stansky shows that Orwell himself saw political confusion and aggression amongst socialist and communist parties. Spain led Orwell to the political direction of his life. He became committed to Democratic Socialism, he wrote, “as I understand it,” and opposed totalitarianism.

Stansky and Abrahams give fidelity to Orwell’s texts the greatest importance. They reject the “St. George” approach to Orwell. Others define him by his virtues, but that does not address his powerful writing or its purpose. Saints, suffer though they might, are easily dismissed when not understood.

Bloomsbury writers and visual artists seem light hearted after Orwell, despite premature deaths in the Spanish Civil War and Virginia Woolf’s suicide lying ahead. Stansky presents the vision behind these artists’ works: the world is not what it seems. He points out that major thinkers in the same time period, Einstein, Freud, and, in an earlier time, Marx, demonstrated that through physics, psychology, social-economic theory. They changed the way one could perceive the world. Virginia Woolf’s stream of consciousness writing reveals lives not by appearance but in progress.

According to Stansky, history must tell the story of what happened and also explain the story’s “significance.” He does that in studies of the London Blitz and Churchill, that stout, determined Englishman who saved the world. Was it a time of mythic heroism or of “panic and fear?” These contradictory views show Stansky a truth about the English. During the Blitz, they were encouraged to stay calm. Keeping on was the victory. There was bad behavior and terror, but they won by waiting. Then, Hitler took his planes and went East.

review by Leslie Friedman

This review first appeared in the Institute for Historical Studies, Winter, 2021. Thank you to Maria Sakovich, editor, for permission to publish it in the livelyblog.

FESTIVAL ARTISTS CONCERT: HUGE SUCCESS

HOORAY! The January 30 performance by the artists-teachers of the International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley was a tremendous success.

Annie Wilson                                         Etta Walton

Megan Ivey Rohrbacher                                     Audreyanne Covarrubias

Thank you to each of the performers: Annie Wilson performed Broadway jazz and Rumba, inviting the audience to join in the Rumba in their own spaces; Etta Walton performed and led Line Dances; Audreyanne Delgado Covarrubia performed classical Korean dance and played Korean drum music; Megan Ivey Rohrbacher performed classical mimes and tap danced; Audreyanne Delgado Covarrubias performed tap dance and performed a tap duet with Megan. Audreyanne was in North Carolina and Megan was in Hawaii. They split the Zoom screen and muted one sound source so they would dance to the same sound. They danced a shim sham that ended the astonishing concert  Each of these artists just “knocked our socks off,” “blew us away,” moved our hearts and excited us. Here are comments from the audience:

“OH, WOW!”  “Amazing!” ” I LOVE Etta!” “Thanks, Annie. You’re Fabulous!” “Thanks for presenting this. It is so very cool.” “Wonderful. Lovely mix of styles guaranteed to hold attention. The line up of personalities and demeanors was perfect. Thank you, Leslie!” “This is delightful.” “I really could see the relationship between mime and tap.” “I so enjoyed the dancing. Thank you for hosting and organizing a wonderful event.” “Great show!!!Thanks so much!!!” Audreyanne’s Korean dance was elegant and emotionally touching.” “”Whimsical!” Megan’s mime was delicate and funny at the same time.” when Megan started to tap, I could feel a smile across my face.” “I’m sitting in a chair and suddenly, I’m dancing! Rumba, Line Dances – I’m having so much fun!” “Audreyanne’s tapping is sensational.” “THAT WAS FANTASTIC! Thank you so much for hosting such a lovely afternoon. It was so much fun! The variety of dance styles made it an incredible and enlightening experience. You are always so inclusive in everything you do. You are just amazing. I thank heaven that I was put on this earth at the same time as you.”

FESTIVAL ARTISTS PERFORM! January 30, 2 p.m.

The International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley typically includes a Festival Concert. The artists who teach perform. There was nothing typical about 2020 or 2021! However, IDF@SV carried on producing two successful seasons of classes & workshops online. Fantastic! Now, the dancers, students, and those trying out dance for the first time will have a chance to see what the artist/teachers do. The performances will be over Zoom. The artists will perform in separate places as their homes are separated by thousands of miles. Farthest East: Audreyanne Delgado Covarrubias in Durham, North Carolina. Farthest West: Megan Ivey Rohrbacher in Hawaii! Even the two artists in California are as far apart as they could be and still be in the Bay Area: Annie Wilson in Novato (Marin County) and Etta Walton in San Jose.

No matter where they are, they are terrific! Join us for an amazing, fun hour on Sunday, Jan. 30, at 2 p.m. We are limited by space – no one is in a theater – but the talent is UNLIMITED!!! The performance is FREE. Of course, we will appreciate a donation of any amount to support the program. To do that, mail a check to The Lively Foundation at The Lively Foundation, 550 Mountain View Ave., Mountain View, CA 94041-1941 OR go to the landing page of this blog, scroll down until you see the PayPal button (PayPal keeps 2.2% plus 30 cents for every donation.)

Here is the Zoom invitation. The show starts at 2 p.m. You can enter earlier, but there is no need to be there much before 2 p.m. Thanks!

Leslie Friedman is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Leslie Friedman’s Zoom Meeting
Time: Jan 30, 2022 01:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
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pictures from top: Audreyanne Delgado Covarrubias, Etta Walton, Megan Ivey Rohrbacher

 

LEONARD WOOLF: Bloomsbury Socialist

Leonard Woolf: Bloomsbury Socialist

By Fred Leventhal and Peter Stansky

Oxford University Press, 2019

Leonard Woolf was the secular saint who helped his famous wife, Virginia, through mental crises. Historians Leventhal and Stansky show he was much more. Leonard Woolf was also a leader, scholar, activist, successful author of fiction and deeply researched papers on international government and economy, creative co-founder and business director of the Hogarth Press, anti-imperialist statesman, Foreign Service diplomat, spokesperson for mutual security agreements of the League of Nations, devoted gardener, dog lover.

This is a breakthrough book. It restores Woolf to a place of his own and demonstrates why his contemporaries revered him as a moral intellectual, a paragon.

The first part, The Personal Journey, covers Woolf’s family, education, marriage, friendships all in historical context. It gives an intimate look at his years in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the Foreign Service. This section examines the influence Woolf’s friends had on his intellectual and spiritual development. Virginia, through their love and shared work, is a major presence. In Ceylon, he had authority over a large district. He collected revenue, dispensed justice, interacted personally with individuals. While he worked twelve hour days, expanding agriculture and building schools, he received letters from his friend Lytton Strachey urging him to propose to Virginia, maybe by telegraph. This part of the book is distinguished by psychological insights, sympathy with the subject, and examination of social and intellectual classes.

The second part, The Political Journey, analyzes Woolf’s studies of economics, trade, and labor in nations and colonies around the world. He wrote for the Fabian Society and the Labour party. Woolf was aligned with the Fabian Society, the British Socialist organization that sought reforms leading to democratic socialism. However, Woolf favored individual rights over state authority and nationalism. In early days in Ceylon, he believed that Britain helped colonials solve problems. Later, he favored self government. He adopted that attitude toward other British colonies, though not all simultaneously. His many, gigantic research projects include the books Empire and Commerce in Africa, written for the Labour Research Department (1920), International Co-operative Trade, the Fabian Society, 1922; both published by George Allen & Unwin. Foreign Policy: The Labour Party’s Dilemma, Fabian Research Series/Victor Gollancz (1947)

The presentation of the studies’ details and purposes is admirably clear and shows how the work shaped Woolf and how his intellect shaped the work.

Labour’s dilemma was how to react to human rights abuses in the Soviet Union. Woolf’s opposition to the Soviets’ cruelty was steadfast as it would be to China’s. His lifelong belief that an international system was the only hope to avoid another cataclysmic war led him to advocate for the League of Nations. His findings supported collective security agreements. He was among the first British writers to recognize the truth about the Nazi regime.

For the United Nations, he urged collective security against militarized nationalism. His work is timely now: international cooperation is threatened by attacks on the European Union, the US refusal to support the World Health Organization, and scorn from Brazil and the US for steps against climate change.

At St. Paul’s, his public school, though an outstanding scholar and athlete he was taunted for being Jewish. At Cambridge he was part of the most elite, intellectual cliques yet defined by friends as a Jew. Judaism and Hellenism combined to form his philosophy. He credited the Hebrews with establishing the value of individual lives through the non-negotiable Ten Commandments and the Greeks with secularizing government by being skeptical about religion while keeping spiritual values. His integrity was as powerful as his intelligence. This book brings us Leonard Woolf, and we need him.

The Authors:  Professsor Fred Leventhal taught British history for 35 years at Boston University. He also taught at Harvard, Boston College, and the University of Kent (UK). He was co-editor of the journal Twentieth Century British History and is former president of the North American Conference on British Studies. Professor Peter Stansky taught at Harvard and then at Stanford University and is the Frances and Charles Field Professor Emeritus of British History. He also served as president of the North American Conference on British Studies.

review by Leslie Friedman, published Fall, 2020

Peter D.L. Stansky: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Peter Stansky! Frances and Charles Field Professor Emeritus of modern British History, he joined the Stanford University History Department in1968. He served as Chair of the History Department for 7 years. He is the author of many, many books* and internationally honored as the shining light of his field, On Jan. 15, 2022, Stanford honored him with a Symposium on topics of his special interests: William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement in England; Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group; George Orwell. On Jan. 17 a gathering of students, many now distinguished professors and authors themselves, and friends from across the US and the world thanked him for his friendship, encouragement, enlightenment, and lively verve. Beginning today, Hedgehog Highlights on the livelyblog will feature reviews of his recent books. Thanks to The Institute for Historical Studies and its editor, Maria Sakovich, for permission to re-publish the reviews that appeared in TIHS publication which were written by Leslie Friedman, one of Professor Stansky’s Stanford Ph.D.s.

*Books by Peter Stansky include: Ambitions and Strategies, England since 1867, William Morris, Redesigning  the World, On or About December 1910, Another Book That Never Was, From William Morris to Sergeant Pepper, Sassoon, The First Day of the Blitz, Edward Upward, Twenty Years On. Books by Peter Stansky and William Abrahams: Journey to the Frontier, The Unknown Orwell, Orwell: The Transformation, London’s Burning. Book by Peter Stansky and Fred Leventhal: Leonard Woolf: Bloomsbury Socialist.

Lively Books for Holiday Joy: Special Offers

It is Halloween Weekend, and The Lively Foundation offers a very special treat: the first ever sale on two beautiful, readable, and even re-readable books! Both The Dancer’s Garden and The Story of Our Butterflies: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View have won enthusiastic reviews and glowing responses from readers, lovers of good writing, fine photography, nature.

Buy either book and receive a 10% discount off the normal, retail price. Buy two or more books -same books or a mixture of the books – and Lively will cover the shipping costs. This is a deal.

The Story of Our Butterflies: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View, by Leslie Friedman, with full color photos by Jonathan Clark and Leslie Friedman sale price: $26.95

The Dancer’s Garden, by Leslie Friedman, with full color photos by Leslie Friedman and Jonathan Clark, sale price: $37.80

A Few Reviews:

The Story of Our Butterflies: “Leslie Friedman is an historian, dancer and choreographer, and now a perceptive writer about nature. …in a second splendid work she takes flight into the world of butterflies. … One is grateful for this delightful book, so well written and illustrated.” Peter Stansky, Author, Historian, Professor Stanford University

The Story of Our Butterflies: “This is a wonderful book and I look forward to sharing it with the rest of the staff here.” Joe Melisi, Center for Biological Diversity, National Conservation Organization based in Tucson, AZ

The Dancer’s Garden: ” I love it. It is a perfect book, in conception and execution….a marvelous writer, as I expected, and I am particularly fond of short essays. The scale and layout are just right.” Diana Ketcham, HOUSE & GARDEN, EDITOR (ret), Books Editor, THE OAKLAND TRIBUNE

The Dancer’s Garden: “a wonderful quirky, perky, series of ruminations on gardens, flowers, plants, trees, cats, people, indeed life. It has magnificent photographs…it is an exhilarating read!” Peter Stansky, Author, Historian, Professor Stanford University

You may purchase by check or credit card.

By check: please make your check to The Lively Foundation and mail it to The Lively Foundation, 550 Mountain View Avenue, Mountain View, CA, 94041-1941.

To purchase by credit card: please go to http://www.livelyfoundation.org/wordpress   Scroll down the landing page to find the PayPal logo and click on that.

Most important is that you buy the books. “There is so much delight and poetry and wisdom to be found in the garden and in your book!” S. Abe, California Academy of Sciences (ret)