We meet again!
This week I will be covering all the references that are made in the book for Part 6. Since there are so many, I have divided the references in three parts: places, things and people. There are about 80 references in total in this part, so I will not describe them all since some of them have already been covered in past parts. I will be explaining the most important ones, so anything that has to do with India, spirituality, Germany and artists will be covered. Sit tight because there is a long and fun list coming at you and you’re not ready!
The Himalayas are home to some of the highest peaks on Earth such as mount Everest and K2. The Himalayas draw the line between Nepal and India. The Himalayan mountains are home to more than 50 peaks exceeding a height of 7200 meters. Wow!
Bonn is a city in the West of Germany, lodging along the Rhine River.
Heidelberg is a town in the Southwest of Germany.
The Rhine River is a river that goes through Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein and that ends in Netherlands. It is a famous river because it is used to carry many exported goods into the deep inland. The Rhine also drew the inland frontier in the Roman Empire.
Alsace is a region along the Rhine that is close to the border of France, Germany and Switzerland.
Seville is the capital of the Andalusian region in Spain. It is famous for its flamenco dancing.
Càdiz is a city in the Andalusian region of Spain, just like Seville. It used to be a port city, built on land surrounded by water.
Bombay, also known as Mumbai, is India’s Economic capital and largest city.
The Elephanta Caves are a major touristic attraction in India. Located on Elephanta Island, these caves are home to great sculptures of the Hindu gods, such as Shiva and Shaiva.
Alexandria is an egyptian port city, linking the Mediterranean to Africa.
The Ganges River is the most sacred river for the Hindu people, in India. It is the equivalent of the Mecca for the Muslims. There are more than one thousand temples situated on this river. People bathe themselves in it in the morning, while others are incinerated and have their ashes thrown in this same river.
Oxford is a city in the Southeast of England. It is home to the world renown University of Oxford, ranked higher or runner-up to Harvard University depending on the year and study fields.
Bristol is an English city located to the west of London. Like many cities mentioned above, Bristol is a port city with a lot of maritime history. My feeling is that, in the time the books was written, a major way of transportation for people and merchandise was by boat. This is why so many port cities are mentioned.
Westminster is an area of London, famous for its parliament and church: the Westminster Palace and Abbey, respectively. Its is also where Buckingham Palace is located. This city has a large political influence and importance since the residence of the Queen is there. This is also where coronation takes place, in the Westminster Abbey. In the Palace of Westminster are found the House of Commons as well as the House of Lords, both houses of the UK parliament.
New England is a former British colony that has now become a region in the United States, hence the name of New England. Located in the northeast of the country, New England is a territory covering states such as New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Its largest city is Boston, MA.
The Mississippi River is the second largest drainage outlet in North America, with an average flow of about 16 700 m3/s. In the book, Maugham refers to it when he tries to explain to Larry the amplitude of the task Larry has put in front of himself: to give up all of his money and live the rest of his life without it. He compares this as trying to stop the Mississippi river flowing with his own hands.
Fragonard’s Drawing (Nymph Aside a Satyr)
Bérénice, by Jean Racine, is a play about the dilemma of Titus, who has to choose between his love for Bérénice and his duty to be the head of Rome.
Houdon’s Voltaire is a sculpture of the famous philosopher Voltaire made by Jean Antoine Houdon. It is currently exposed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City.
Flamenco is a dance native from Andalusia in Spain. The dance includes singing, guitar playing, dancing, finger snapping, hand clapping and vocalization. It is best known for its extravagant costumes and the emotions that are strongly lived through the dance.
The Ultimate reality is the way the Gods of certain religions are perceived to be. It is a very hard concept to define, since all religions are different and this subject is being debated in many philosophical texts.
Brahminism is derived from Brahmins, which are a class of priests and teachers in Hindu religion. Brahminism is the domination the Indian society has towards the Brahmins.
The Oxford Book of English Verse is a compilation of English poetry written from 1250 to 1900, edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch. This book had a massive influence on taste and on the perception of poetry for a long time. You can find it on Amazon.com if you are interested in reading it!
Hindustani is the classical musical style of North India. It is also a language spoken in this same region, covering the North of India and Pakistan.
Neoplatonism is a modern term for a tradition in philosophy that appeared in the third century (200-300 CE). It was greatly influenced by Plato, hence the name. This era ended after the Platonic Academy closed in 529 CE.
Russian Tea is the national beverage in Russia. Over there, tea has a great importance since the tea culture is very rich and developed. It is also famous for the introduction of the Samovar, traditional container in which the tea is served.
Le cimetière Marin is a poem published by Paul Valéry in 1920. It is Valéry’s most famous work.
Ashrama is the name given to one of four age-based life stages of ancient and medieval Indian texts. The stages are
- Brahmacharya: Student life, 0-24
- Grihastha, household life, 24-48
- Vanaprastha, retired life, 48-72
- Sannyasa, renounced life, 72+
Jean Racine, often referred to as Racine in the book, was a highly influential writer in the 17th century. His work mostly revolved around writing plays, such as Alexandre le Grand and Bérénice.
A Benedictine Monk is a monk abiding to the Saint-Benedict order. It is a religious order of independent monasteries.
Baruch Spinoza, Plato and René Descartes are all philosophers.
Aeschylus is a Greek tragedian, known to be the father of tragedy.
Jonathan Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller and Heinrich Heine are all German poets and writers.
Brahma, Vishnu, Siva are all three Hindu gods, that form the Trimurti, which is the supreme divinity for the Hindus. They represent creation, maintenance and destruction.
Sebastian Cabot is an English TV and movie actor. He is best known for his role as Uncle Bill in the sitcom Family Affair.
Shri Ganesha is one of the best known and worshipped deities of Hinduism. He is easy to recognize, thanks to his elephant head.
Marco Polo is an Italian merchant explorer who wrote a book about the wealth of China and Asia.
The Tamil people is an ethnic group that speaks Tamil and that are located in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.
The Sufis are people who believe in sufism which is Islamic mysticism.
The Mayas are people from an ancient civilization from Peru. They are the first ones to have introduced writing in South America.That’s enough for today!