What is a genre? (film, theatre, music)

Aristotle spoke of a certain number of arts, but it’s not like he invented the “muses.”  To him, theatre had two main “genres”, comedy and tragedy.  There were similar arts, such as “epics”, which also told stories.

To summarize, a tragedy had a great man falling from a great height, and a sad ending, and a comedy had someone come from nowhere and achieve a happy ending.  The other “rules” of genres were merely conventions or expectations.  (When I’ve used the words “rules” in the past, I usually meant conventions.)

The DK book of Shakespeare also includes histories, romances, and “problem comedies”.  Shakespeare himself spoke of Tragicomedies and other hybrids, but they were basically three genres of history, tragedy, and comedy. Continue reading What is a genre? (film, theatre, music)

What is the secret of success?

painting of Admiral Nelson contemplating what to do next.
Lord Nelson in the cabin of the Victory, by Charles Lucy

Eisenhower once said that if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Yet, biographers of Napoleon seem to quote Cromwell in saying that those men who go farthest, don’t have a plan.

There are so many other secrets put forward. But one seems consistent. Continue reading What is the secret of success?

Dusseldorf’s Breidenbacher Hof is 200 years old, or is it?

In 1812, a luxurious hotel was opened in Dusseldorf by the name of Breidenbacher Hof.  Once the most expensive hotel in Germany, it is still among the best known hotels in the world. Continue reading Dusseldorf’s Breidenbacher Hof is 200 years old, or is it?