Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 December 14

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Humanities desk
< December 13 << Nov | December | Jan >> December 15 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Humanities Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.

December 14[edit]

Will to Power[edit]

Is the posthumous "The Will to Power" the crowning achievment of Nietzsche's philosophy? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:35, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Can't reference my statements, but, as far as I'm concerned, Nietzsche's last work was his last attempt to expound his philosophy in a more rigorous and less literary way, feeling that his earlier works hadn't achieved the expected success because they weren't understood at all. Nowadays there is much dispute over what Nietzsche meant by "the will to power" (actually there is dispute over almost everything he said), perhaps that book would have cleared things up. Unfortunately his Nazi sister reportedly adulterated his latest works to make them more adequate to Nazi ideology, The Will to Power being her main victim. Due to this we can only speculate about what Nietzsche wanted to say in his last book. --Taraborn (talk) 10:17, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
More on that in Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche and The Will to Power. Elisabeth's article really does not cover the extent to which she twister her brother's work towards the Nazi cause. --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 12:20, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
"Twister" is a wonderfully appropriate Freudian slip cum Portmanteau there — Gadget850 (Ed) talk ! Saudade7 12:33, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
<headthunk> Well, from what I have read of her, she was a twisted sister. --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 19:13, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I should like to make two things clear: first, that The Will to Power is essentially a series of notes , jottings and speculations, written between 1883 and 1888, subsequently collected and arranged in book form by Elizabeth; second, Elizabeth may eventually have given her support to the Nazi Party, but it is quite wrong to suggest that she 'twisted' her brother's works towards the Nazi cause. Her compilation-and it is her compilation-was, after all, first published in 1901, well before the advent of National Socialism. Elizabeth's 'fault' was to blurr the distinction between her brother's published works and his rough speculations; to present to the world the false impression that The Will to Power was the final and definitive statement of Nietzsche's thought. It was not. That lies in the work published while he was still intellectually active. Having said that it is still a fascinating and worthwhile collection, an insight into the mind of the thinker in the raw. It would encourage me to think that it is read before judgement is passed. Clio the Muse (talk) 02:16, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Just to say that I totally agree with Clio the Muse here, and also that, over the years I have pretty much read everything Nietzsche has ever written, and while not being a Nietzsche scholar, I think that the Nazi Party's / National Socialist's ideologies are anathema to anything Nietzsche ever tried to put forth. Saudade7 14:04, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Philip, King of England[edit]

Two questions. First, why has Philip of Spain barely registered as king of England? Second, what is likely to have happened politically if he and Mary had had children, beyond excluding Elizabeth from the throne? Major Barbara (talk) 10:27, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

For the first, he was king in name only [1] and was never crowned, even as consort. He was apparently so disgusted by the terms of the marriage contract and subsequent parliamentary acts limiting his powers that he left for Spain about a year after the wedding and never returned. SaundersW (talk) 16:42, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

He spent little time in the country, never showed much interest in it, or his wife, and later became its number one enemy; so it's hardly surprising that his 'reign' had little impact on the consciousness of the nation, no more than a footnote in history. What would have happened if he and Mary had children? Well, England would have remained as part of the Catholic commonwealth, and become an outpost of the worldwide Habsburg Empire. Clio the Muse (talk) 01:38, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

More or less like Austria :) AecisBrievenbus 02:02, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
And, I suspect, the Netherlands! Clio the Muse (talk) 02:21, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
That hurts! ;) AecisBrievenbus 12:02, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry! But never mind, Aecis; your country and mine are now united in a new Holy Roman Empire! So much for your stab at liberty! Clio the Muse (talk) 01:56, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
When you write that alternate-history story where Philip and Mary had children, you might also consider giving some to Mary Stuart and, um, whatsisname of France. —Tamfang (talk) 04:13, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

A true story?[edit]

I wonce heard a story that 5 british coins where floating about that were worth alot of moneys. Because they had the kings head back-to-front. The story goes that 4 of them were found but the 5th remained lost until it was found. But, the finders wife spent the coin in a phonebox and now its gone again. Its this story truth? Weasly (talk) 11:55, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

You may be thinking of coins of Edward VIII, which were never issued (due to his abdication) and are extremely rare. These coins have the King's head "back-to-front" in that Edward broke the 300-year-old tradition of alternating the direction that each monarch faces. FiggyBee (talk) 13:33, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
1933 Pennies are also very rare. See History of the British penny (1901-1970) William Avery (talk) 19:49, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

what happen to you that i want to see the rewards for the best shows ever you know that right we cant for get about nothing you know that right i love you so much that i want to stop saying that you was the best thing ever we love each other and you was going to say that we don't need you dude it thought that we got to change the word that we say to you love you for ever dude.

Mohammad Ali JInnah VS Mahatma Gandhi[edit]

hello! this is Ayesha Nabi...i am a student of Pharm-D. The above mentioned topic is an assignment..i am searching other sites aswell but i want peoples idea....i basically want the comparisson of thier the personalities, thier life style, social and political life, personal affairs etc....i'd be waiting...thankyou! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:03, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Hi Ayesha! You can start by looking at their articles here: Muhammad Ali Jinnah and here: Mahatma Gandhi. Good Luck! Saudade7 12:36, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Army of Paraguay[edit]

In the War of the Triple Alliance Paraguay is said to have had the military advantage over its three opponents in terms of numbers. I would like to know, please, how effective the Paraguayan army was as a fighting force compared with the enemy. TheLostPrince (talk) 13:35, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

The truth is that the army of Francisco López, the dictator of Paraguay, suffered from a number of severe structural and organisational weaknesses, partly of his own making. Fearing a potential rival, López had restricted the development of the officer corps, even forbidding the creation of military schools. The army was also badly equipped, relying, for the most part, on the antiquated Brown Bess musket. Indeed, some battalions had no firearms at all. The rapid expansion of López' army only incresed the problem. Conditions in the artillery were even worse, some of the gunners being forced to use iron pieces cast at the Seville arsenal as far back as the 1660s. Clio the Muse (talk) 01:29, 15 December 2007 (UTC)


Pascal says that man's condition is inconstancy, boredom and anxiety. What solution does he offer? Phil S Stein (talk) 15:12, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Gambling. Skarioffszky (talk) 15:40, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Have a look at part VIII of the Pensées, that with the heading 'Diversion'. Here you will find a whole section devoted to the problem of inconstancy, boredom and anxiety that Pascal identifies at (24). Amongst other things, activity, action for the sake of action, takes on the form of an intellectual anesthetic. But the pursuit of happiness through action is illusory; for only imperfection can be found in an imperfect being. To find true happiness, true fulfilment, it is necessary for the individual to look beyond the limits of her or his own existence. It is important to submerge onself, in other words, in a greater meaning, a greater sense of purpose and direction, one that can only be provided by God. Clio the Muse (talk) 01:04, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Find a Book[edit]

I read a book as a young teenager, I think it was aimed at girls, but it was about: I young girl who is taken to live with possibly relatives, who are not around much. She wonders up to the attic, where she finds dolls that are annimated, walk and talk, and most importantly they water the wallpaper flowers everyday. The Butler in the house has the same odd personality traits as the dolls, she eventually kills the dolls because of thier odd habits, and her own lonliness, and when in the end of the book the butler dies, he reimerges as a doll, and the other dolls are alive again. I think it might have been called behind the attic wall any help would be great thanks guys and girls. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:46, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

There is a book called Behind The Attic Wall that sounds like a match, here is one Amazon link. --LarryMac | Talk 16:01, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Super Furry Animals[edit]

when they sing abot Frankie Fontain, who was he? and why do we not have an article. Some one has told me in the past. But I have forgotten. Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:50, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Frank Fontaine? also correct spelling of 'furry' in header --LarryMac | Talk 15:54, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Who wrote this bit of verse?[edit]

Sometimes I think the oyster's what
I most decidedly am not.
How wonderful if I might learn
To be as still and taciturn.
It builds a pearl within its shell
Instead of letting forth a yell
When irritated, while I chatter
And fume at things that do not matter.
If only I were like the oyster
Residing calmly in its cloister.
If only I could be akin
When something gets beneath my skin.

--I am not getting anywhere in my efforts to attribute it. Thanks Wikipedians! Cyrusc (talk) 16:34, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Hilaire Belloc? (talk) 17:05, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Seems like a good guess. Or maybe someone like Willard R. Espy? Does anyone have a citation? Thanks, Cyrusc (talk) 17:26, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Ogden Nash? Wrad (talk) 19:16, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, Nash has this in Many Long Years Ago

The oyster's a
Confusing suitor;
It's masc., and fem.,
And even neuter.
But whether husband,
Pal, or wife,
It leads a soothing
Sort of life.
I'd like to be
An oyster, say
In August, June,
July, or May.

--but that's not the one I'm looking for. Is it possible Nash wrote both? The unsourced one seems to lack the sharpness of a Nash poem... Thank you for your help though...anyone else have a suggestion for me? Cyrusc (talk) 19:23, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Are you sure it's not Dr. Seuss? AecisBrievenbus 01:14, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
No, but I would expect Google to have more to say were this the case... For any given Dr. Seuss quote, theoretically it is not the favorite quote of one or more bloggers? Also, "while I chatter / And fume at things" doesn't sound like Seuss to me. Are there reasons to think Seuss I should know about? Thank you for the suggestion. Any other takers to I.D. this increasingly obscure poem? Cyrusc (talk) 06:39, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Could it possibly be Cole Porter? He wrote his own lyrics, and he rhymed oyster and cloister in at least one of his songs ([2]). (Mind you, he’s by no means the only one to do this; thanks to your question I've now discovered the hitherto unknown (to me) poet George Barker - here's his The True Confession of George Barker.) Failing that, the good folks here might be able to pin it down for you. -- JackofOz (talk) 07:21, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I'll look into the Porter, but Google's silence on this poem argues even more strongly against Porter than against Seuss. It was Porter who really put "beneath my skin" on the map, so to speak. Thanks for the suggestion. Chaucer rhymes cloister/oyster twice in the Canterbury Tales, by the way (and there's even some cloître/huître action in Fr. verse)! Cyrusc (talk) 22:17, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
There is a BB section of the Quote Unquote website that specializes in tracking down quotations. You could try posting it there.--Shantavira|feed me 09:29, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks--I'll check this out. Cyrusc (talk) 22:17, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I have to admit that I doubt it is the product of a major poet or even a very good poet. Most of the lines are exceptionally clunky and have that "e-mailed poem written by a total amateur" uneconomical feel to them. -- (talk) 14:31, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
What I find interesting about it at this point is that nobody can identify it. I don't think e-mail, though--the English sounds like 1920s–1940s American to me. See the Cole Porter reference above. Cyrusc (talk) 22:17, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Can you tell us where you came across the poem? -- JackofOz (talk) 22:05, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes. It circulated on an English department listserv I read. The professors were trying to source it; I think they ran out of steam at Ogden Nash. To be specific: I think the thread ended at some point between the coming-to-mind of Nash's Many Long Years Ago and a more concrete recollection of Nash's "The Oyster" (q.v.). I should take this opportunity to say that I haven't had a copy of Many Long Years Ago to hand; it's theoretically possible "The Oyster" and the poem in question appear in that volume and thence the department discussion came properly to terms. Without really doing the math I feel that, as to whether the thing is attributable, the Reference Desk promises a more expedient finding than does the library. :-)
Who posted it on this listserv and why, you ask? Sadly, other than to clarify for the faceless and wondering internet that I certainly did not post it myself, I have no more information than that the OP, having exhausted what I know to be a large fund of personal resources, made a polite admission of defeat and submitted the quote in what I take to be exasperation, though it could well have been despair. Cyrusc (talk) 23:20, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
It strikes me,, that "e-mailed poem written by a total amateur" was admirable in its concision. Cyrusc (talk) 23:38, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Petain the defeatist[edit]

In studying the military and political career of Phillipe Petain I'm trying to discover if his defeatism and pessimism in 1940 can be traced to an earlier point in his career, or if it was simply the product of immediate circumstances? I would be pleased for any guidance that can be offered here. One supplementary question, if I may: was the indictment against him in 1945 well prepared? P Bagration (talk) 20:48, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I think it is possible to detect traces of what you my be looking for during the latter part of the First World War, specifically Pétain's conduct during the early stages of the German Spring Offensive in 1918. With the British Fifth Army being forced back towards Amiens and the Channel, the French commander looked set to fall back on Paris, thus opening up a gap in the Allied line, the very thing the Germans were aiming for. At this point of crisis Douglas Haig, the British commander, let it be known indirectly that he lost confidence in his French counterpart, suggesting that the time had come to appoint a supreme commander for all of the Allied forces, with the inference that this should not be Pétain. As the situation got steadily worse, Pétain's mood became ever bleaker. Amongst other things he claimed that the 5th Army no longer existed and that Haig was fighting a losing battle with the Third Army and his remaining force. He even went so far as to compare the British 'defeat' to the disastrous Italian reversal the previous year at the Battle of Caporetto. At a meeting on 26 March he said that Haig would soon be forced to capitulate. At this point he was told directly by Ferdinand Foch that he had effectively given up the fight.
On your second point, the 1945 indictment was, indeed, a badly thought-out document. It failed completely to mention the three charges on which the Marshal-and the Vichy regime-was most vulnerable: the racial laws and the deportation of the Jews; the Service de Travail Obligatoire, or STO, the law which condemned thousands of Frenchmen to forced labour in Germany; and the terror initiated against the French Resistance and other elements hostile to the regime by Joseph Darnand and the Milice. Clio the Muse (talk) 00:42, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Not on this subject, but rather on the article Milice referenced above, which I view because the context did not match what I expected for that word. It has more than one meaning, but my skills are not yet up to creating a new article, and setting up a disabiguation page. In the US military, the term Milice is a contraction meaning Military Police, with an undertone that they are everywhere, like cockroaches or lice. Of course I have no references to hand, just life experiences. -SandyJax (talk) 18:56, 17 December 2007 (UTC)