What a Work of Art Communicates: Example from “Moby Dick”

Vik RubenfeldNovelLeave a Comment

Here’s the paragraph that introduces Stubb, in Herman Melville’s MOBY DICK. Stubb was the second mate. He was a native of Cape Cod; and hence, according to local usage, was called a Cape-Cod-man. A happy-go-lucky; neither craven nor valiant; taking perils as they came with an indifferent air; and while engaged in the most imminent crisis of the chase, toiling away, … Read More

Kick-Ass Emotional Insight from Dylan Thomas

Vik RubenfeldPoem1 Comment

(Image via Black Spruce Hound) I’ve posted previously about how a work of art communicates a meaning that only your emotional ability can appreciate. Today’s Dylan Thomas poem, “In My Craft or Sullen Art”, is a great example. In My Craft Or Sullen Art by Dylan Thomas In my craft or sullen art Exercised in the still night When only … Read More

Emotional Insight in Caravaggio’s “The Denial of St. Peter”

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The Denial of St. Peter, by Caravaggio

“The Denial of St. Peter”, by Caravaggio Regular readers of this site know that I try to find big, easy-to-get with examples of emotional insight. Emotional insight is what a work of art communicates: insights into the meaning of things that your heart — your heart alone — sees. Today we’re going to be looking at a painting by Caravaggio.

“Fundamentals” Word Cloud

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Word cloud via wordle.net. This seems like a good occasion to recap the fundamentals – except, you can’t recap them. You have to see them for yourself. The thing that a work of art achieves can’t be expressed in any merely intellectual words.

Emotional Insight from Ernest Hemingway

Vik RubenfeldNovel2 Comments

Here’s a quote from Ernest Hemingway’s THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA: He looked across the sea and knew how alone he was now. But he could see the prisms in the deep dark water and the line stretching ahead and the strange undulation of the calm. The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked … Read More

Emotional Insight from T.S. Eliot’s “Love Song”

Vik RubenfeldPoem1 Comment

As you may have noticed, what I’m trying to do here is provide very punchy, powerful, easy-to-get-with emotional insights.  Lots of great poems, plays and novels have beautiful stretches in them that lead up to, or include, something brief and powerful. I’m looking for these moments to feature in blog posts on this site. Similarly, with paintings, music and sculpture, … Read More

Another Stunner from GATSBY

Vik RubenfeldNovelLeave a Comment

A Sign Like the One Described in “Gatsby” I was talking about Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” in the comment section with reader Geaaronson the other day, so it seems like a good time for another blast of emotional insight from that novel. Have a look: