Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Music from the Lake

A review of Music from the Lake and Other Essays by Catharine Savage Brosman (Chronicles Press, 2017).

Catharine Savage Brosman is a treasure of Southern literature.  Although much of her work shows her solid Colorado Rocky Mountain upbringing, somehow I do not think she will mind being placed in Southern literature.  Most of her career was spent in New Orleans and she now lives in Houston.  More importantly, her depth of perception and her pietas toward Creation show a spirit akin to the greatest Southern writers.

Brosman resembles the Southern greats in another way.  Like Poe, Simms, Warren, Garrett, Chappell, Berry,  she is not only marvelously productive but also marvelously versatile—poetry, essays, and literary criticism and history.  While she is distinguished  as poet and essayist,  her  scholarship in French literature  (as Professor of French at Tulane) is of an amount and quality that  puts 99 per cent of the current American professoriate to shame.  (Although these days such achievement  is  likely  to provoke disguised resentment rather than respect.)

Further for my Southern argument:  Brosman’s books that immediately precede Music from the Lake are Louisiana Creole Literature:  A Historical Study and Southwestern Women Writers and the Vision of Goodness.  I rest my case except to say that it has long been my fancy that Southerners are French and Yankees are German.  If that is so, there is no doubt where she fits.

Music in the Lake and Other Essays is a wonderful exercise in civilized discourse,  reminiscent  of the great quarterlies of earlier times.  It  gracefully bestows on the reader an experience  that is at the same time  serious and   entertaining.   Personal experiences and reflections accompany  great  learning lightly worn and inimitable discussions of the decline of contemporary culture. The multiple aspects of that decline may be said to be the theme of the work.

I have read and do read far too many books. But I am happy indeed that this one did not pass me by.


  1. Off topic so please excuse.
    At the risk of being a fifth generation patriotic American,
    the 50th anniversary of the USS Liberty is being recognized
    by every site I am a member. This is the most recognition
    I have ever seen regarding this act of war. Of course,
    the marxist media will ignore - paying their whore, communist dues.
    Brock, thank you for the space.

  2. Also, did you know that two of the terrorist pilots who
    attacked the USS Liberty served in Vietnam on the American
    side and later joined the Israeli Air Force.
    Amazing or suspect.

  3. Wasn't sure I would be able to relocate but I did:
    British reporter Anthony Pearson in his book Conspiracy of Silence reports that the Jew in command of the three Mirage jets that attacked the Liberty was born in Baltimore and served as a fighter pilot in Vietnam. The pilot of the second Israeli plane was also a Vietnam veteran and had served in the US Navy Air Corps. The third pilot was a native Israeli. It is rather disheartening to think that the American armed services had trained two fighter pilots who thought so little of their country of birth that they joined the air force of another country and carried out a murderous air assault on an American ship.