Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Melancholic Humour: Is This You?

Considered relevant to the gallbladder, black bile, and considered elemental like earth (cold and dry).  People who are generally melancholic are easy to spot.  They usually have a very visible black cloud following them around.  Sometimes less easy to spot are the people who let their dark mood run rampant in all manner of relationships, preventing consensus and compromise.  No matter how you try to appeal to their brighter side, they just will not come around.

Words descriptive of the melancholic temperment include:



Oh, snap out of it, you big crybaby. 

If anything really terrible ever happened to you I'd want it notarized. 

It's really not that bad -- so get a big bowl of ice cream and take one of these books back to bed with you. 

C'mon, pull yourself together.

RX Melancholic
To correct the melancholic humour, generous doses of sweetness are required.  Children's books are a good source of a naiive happiness and innocent sense of well-being, untainted by the world's coldness and your own inner turmoil.  Extra sprinkles of nonsense and silliness from poetry or cartoons may be needed in extreme cases.  It can also help to hold a pencil sideways in your mouth for an hour or two, as the muscle-nerve connections of your forced "smile" will eventually stimulate a happier mood.

Sweet Books  (To support a SANGUINE, or to correct a MELANCHOLIC temperment)

Alice in Wonderland
Charlotte's Web
Cyrano de Bergerac
James and the Giant Peach
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Little Prince
The Red Balloon
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Well-Tempered Clavier
The Wizard of Oz
Winnie the Pooh

and also books of poetry by A.A. Milne, Edward Lear, Shel Silverstein, or Ogden Nash

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Sanguine Humour: Is this You?

SANGUINE:  Bound to the red blood of the heart, and equated to air (warm and wet).  People who are sanguine are often ruled by the heart.  They can be sensual, warm, and often sweet.  The wife of Bath, that lusty wench, was a sanguine type.  So was Falstaff.   A sanguine personality often seems to lack weight and seriousness; it can be seen as too sprightly and naiive or in extreme cases, inconsiderate of others and the reality of their cares.

Words that describe the sanguine temperment include:



Well, wake up and smell the coffee, Pollyanna.  Not everyone is out there gathering ye rosebuds while ye may.  Some people don't have a bright side to look on, and all your good cheer does is remind them of how miserable they truly are. 

So the next time you feel like shouting "there's a bright golden haze on the meadow," keep it to yourself and read one of the books on the list.

Bitter Books (To support the MELANCHOLIC or to correct a SANGUINE temperment)

Sobering literature, including:

All Quiet on the Western Front
The Man with the Golden Arm
Most Russian novels, including Crime and Punishment
Les Miserables
Madame Bovary
Jane Eyre
Oliver Twist
The Good Earth
The Gulag Archipelago

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Choleric Humour: Is this You?

CHOLERIC: Referring to the yellow bile of the liver, and considered to be fire (hot and dry).   Best exemplified by most teenagers before 11:00 a.m., and, generally, if you have read my other blog, the person I used to be married to (when he was not being phlegmatic).

Words that can be used to describe a choleric temperment include:



Well cut it out! People like you are such a grand pain. You're never happy with anything anybody does for you, and you make everybody walk around on eggshells trying not to accidentally set you off.

The next time you feel that you want to give someone a piece of your mind, take one of the books on the SOUR booklist and hit yourself over the head with it until you actually have something to complain about.  

Sour Books (To support the PHLEGMATIC, or to correct a CHOLERIC temperment)

Transcendent Books, which tend to give one perspective on how difficult it is to live around a sour person and/or the emptiness of that kind of life, including:

Being and Nothingness
Brideshead Revisited
Great Expectations
Green Eggs and Ham
Lazy Tommy Punkinhead
The Great Gatsby
The Man without Qualities
The Old Man and the Sea
The Stranger

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Four Humours: Read Right for Your Blood Type!

At this point in this fascinating series of posts, we address

THE FOUR HUMORS (HumOUrs if you are American but want to be pretentious)


A humor is basically a personality type. According to the theory, each humour is associated with: 1) one of the body's organs, 2) a bodily fluid (not that one dummy, the one normally associated with that organ), 3) a hot/cold setting, 4) a wet/dry setting, 5) a color, 6) a flavor (sweet, sour, salty, or bitter), and one of the elements (earth, air, fire, and water).

That should be enough to get us started.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Read Right for Your Blood Type!

The lists in the next few posts on this blog are offered as general resources for self-education, and are not to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment.

Good literature may be useful in correcting serious problems of temperment due to misbalanced humours.

Therapy consists of liberal and concentrated application of subsequent chapters of an appropriate supportive (to correct a deficiency) or opposite (to mitigate an excess) novel or anthology.

However, when consumed outside of the appropriate critical context, the content or philosophy of some works may be disturbing.

Therefore, for a most effective cure, readings should be advised only by a certified graduate of a small, preferably midwestern, liberal arts college.

Moreover, if access to recognized works of literature is limited, readers should be cautioned that popular fiction should under no circumstances be substituted in equal amounts, as there are no established minimum standards for literate content in such work. 

Similarly, the use of foreign language literature may result in serious side-effects, such as the promotion of socialist economic theory.

Periodical literature or professional journal subscriptions may in some cases make an acceptable alternative treatment, again, check with your B.A. to be sure.

K. Kilbridge, B.A.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sans oeuf d’abeille t’elles

A few months ago, I became obsessed with retrieving (n.b. "retrouver") a book that was read aloud to me in highschool french class.  All I could remember was "un petit, d'un petit."  In years past, the only way to find this book would be to ask librarians, or troll through musty bookstores and brave the personalities of their interesting, but often eccentric musty owners.  When I was in college in the 80's, I tried to find an new copy of my scratched and cracked LP of french children's songs, and tried writing to catalog companies for information.  But alas, without a relational database to query, it was impossible short of extraordinary luck, which I did not have at the time.

Fast forward to earlier this year, when all I had to do was google "y'avait un ane" and "le petit cordonnier" and I found that the album, "Songs in French for Children:  Lucienne Vernay and Les Quatres Barbus"  had been remastered in 2001 and was only about $5.  I bought six of them for myself and my siblings and went merrily on my way.  But my interest was piqued, and in short order (boy does this sound like someone writing for Better Homes and Gardens in 1958, but whatever, this is a naively sweet pro-nostalgia story and since normally I'm fairly cynical I'm just going to go with it), I found the book "Mots D'Heures: Gousses, Rames" and gave it to my daughter Purl for Easter.  I'm a cruel parent.  I gave her the book so that I could laugh at her for about ten minutes straight as she read over and over "Un petit d'un petit" and could not get the joke.  I would not give her the answer to the riddle, and kept laughing through "Chacun Gille" and "Pis-terre, pis-terre" and "Lille beau pipe."

How is this relevant to "H is for Hamlet"?  It is if you like to play with language and have fun with poetry.  After we finished "Mot D'Heures: Gousses, Rames," I bought the companion book "N'Heures Souris Rames" and the distant-cousin companion book "Morder Guss Reims."

And then I got to having way too much time on my hands one weekend and started writing "Sans oeuf d'abeille t'elles" and quite possibly the companion books "Sans oeuf d'aout" and "Sans oeuf des reau lynx-est hones" (not sure about that one yet).  My first pages are going to focus on those classics "Ai! Oane de aoule dior hane-de" and "Elle en aurique b'y."  I'm quite excited.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

As You (Do not) Like It

A couple of rotten tomatoes for "As You Like It," a film version of the play made a few years ago that I just caught on video.  Thumbs up for the gorgeous hair, costumes, and sets -- the play's events are transported to Japan, and the textures are fabulous.  The Rosalind, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, had just buckets of strawberry blond waves and the clothes to set them off.  Romola Garai too - pale blond upswept do's to die for.

So what did I hate?  The play itself?  Not sure, because this was really the first production I've seen of this comedy.  I think I hated the stagnant direction and staging more than anything else.  Isn't the use of the camera supposed to give you all kinds of flexibility, fluidity, dramatic action?  Well there wasn't any.  All the camera showed was people standing still, reading their lines, and then moving across the space.  Stop, stand, talk.  Gesture.  Talk.  React to what the other person just said.  Move.  Stop.  Repeat.  If it was supposed to be kabuki-esque, that didn't come across.

No problems with the cast generally, assuming that they were standing still, delivering their lines at random levels of emotion and projection at the behest of the director.

And suddenly at the end, one character in costume walking through the "set" where you could see the actors' trailers and the crew bustling about?  Suddenly you go all Verfremdungseffekt?  Sorry, but I just didn't think it worked.