Monday, March 23, 2009

Orlando Furioso, the Louvre, Pope Joan, memoirs, literacy and

I discovered through the virtues of Google alerts that the Louvre has a special exhibit running now through May 19th called The Imaginative World of Ariosto.

There are lectures, showing of operas based on the epic poem Orlando Furioso, woodcuts from Gustave Doré, sculptures and paintings.

One of the most famous paintings inspired by Ariosto's masterpiece is Roger délivrant Angélique, 1819 by Montauban's native son Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres housed in the Louvre.

A copy is in the Ingres Museum in Montauban.

It is a beautiful painting reflecting a famous scene from the epic poem, but the Ruggiero/Angelica pairing however brief does not capture my imagination like it has artists over the years.

I much prefer Ruggiero/Bradamante.

Here is a link to a PDF file from the Louvre explaining the exhibition in detail. It would be nice to travel to Paris and see the exhibition before it closes, but alas I do not see that in the cards or in my budget. Not between now and May 18th.

I am pleased to know that there is a resurgence in interest in the Matters of France. Hopefully that will be beneficial to me in the future.

Onto some of the other topics in my title. I received an update on Donna Woolfolk Cross' novel Pope Joan. I knew that the movie based on her novel was due out this fall, but I did not know that a different version of her book was also coming out. From her update:

Hurray! A brand-new edition of the Pope Joan book by Three Rivers Press will be released in June. This is not just a re-print; I've made corrections and additions to the text and also written a new "Author's Note" to explain/expand upon these changes. I've also included a list of "Best-Ever Reading Group Questions", gleaned from my many years of chatting by speakerphone with reading and school groups all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Speaking of which, I'd like to ask book group members a big favor: could you fill out this survey? (If this link doesn't work for you, then go to and click on "survey".) It will take only a couple of minutes. Surveys must be completed by March 27th.

Of course I'm hoping that you'll vote for Pope Joan as one of your favorite book group reads! (doesn't strictly have to be a book you discussed in 2008; what the survey is mostly looking for are good recommendations for other reading groups). If Pope Joan makes the list of top ten book group favorites of 2008, , it would be wonderful and much-needed publicity for the new edition by Three Rivers Press.

The advantage to book group members: the survey enters you in a lottery to win $75 toward your next book group meeting. Also, you get access to the list of Reading Group Choices (RGC) authors who, like me, are willing to chat by speakerphone with book groups.

I was also alerted by my friend Matilda Butler that she and Kendra Bonnett will be holding an online memoir writing class entitled "The Craft of Memoir Writing: Using the Five Senses to Bring Your Story to Life." It runs from April 13th to June 8th and is at a reasonable cost.

Onto the topic of literacy which is my father's raison d’être. He founded the non-profit AVKO Educational Research Foundation which has an updated website, a new blog, a Facebook Page and even a Twitter account.

If you are interested in homeschooling, dyslexia or just plain old literacy, please check it out.

You can even see in online videos how in using "word families" my dad is able to get a young man, who thought he could never learn to read or spell, to correctly read the word malicious.

I am woefully behind in finishing up my travelogue of France, but know that I have not given up on doing it. My next post in that series will be about the city of Montauban, home of Ingres and my heroine Bradamante.


Erika M said...

what a shame that exhibit was not at the Louvre when you were in France! That wasn't all that long ago.

I look forward to the rest of your travelogue when you post it.

L.C.McCabe said...


That would have been fabulous. In fact, I tried to see the original of Ingres' painting of Ruggiero rescuing Angelica when we were at the Louvre, but we went on a Thursday. Little did I realize that on Thursdays they close off the section that houses it for cleaning.

So I saw its copy down in Montauban.

I was fortunate enough to see a wonderful exhibit on Islamic medieval knights at the Institut du Monde Arabe while we were there. That was really cool.

It's funny because when I talked with people in France and mentioned that I was basing my novel on Orlando Furioso not many people were aware of it.
I thought it strange that I saw more examples of Arthurian legend in gift shops, books, etc. than there from the legends of Charlemagne.

I would have thought that the French would prefer the Matters of France over the Matters of England.

Perhaps this exhibit in the Louvre will help to rekindle a yearning by the French people to learn more about the legends of their heroes.