French naturalism was a direct outgrowth of the realist movement in art. The distinction between the two is rather subtle; ergo, I’ll direct you to the relevant entry in the Visual Arts Encyclopedia.
Ms Billman cited Jules Bastien-Lepage as one of the main exponents of naturalism. I was thrilled to hear that name, as I knew what was about to appear on the screen. And sure enough:
I first saw this painting on my initial visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was eight years old. I already knew the extraordinary story of the Maid of Orleans. Seeing her brought to life in this way before my eyes – I was stunned.
It turns out that this work is somewhat of an anomaly in Bastien-Lepage’s oeuvre. As an artist in the realist/naturalist mode, he produced relatively little in the way of “history painting” or religious subjects. Here are several of his other paintings:
I’ve always wondered why Bastien-Lepage’s works were so rarely encountered elsewhere. I now know that this was due to the sad fact of his early death. According to the French language site “LES SECONDES AU TEMPS DES PEINTRES XIXEME” he died of stomach cancer at the age of 36.
Ms Billman provided a fascinating detail concerning the Joan of Arc painting. It seems that Joan never claimed to have actually seen the saints who spoke to her – only to have heard them. Hence their appearance behind her as she gazes, transfixed, into the middle distance.
In which your intrepid faithful blogger and Jean, her equally intrepid friend and fellow art lover, commence their journey toward a Certification in World Art History, to be bestowed by the Smithsonian Associates, the educational arm of Washington’s illustrious Smithsonian Institution.
Alas, the day did not start out well. Our train, scheduled to leave at 7:59 AM, did not arrive until almost 9:30. Coincidentally, this was the exact time that our class – our very first one in the program – was scheduled to begin. As the train finally appeared in the distance, I could not help exclaiming, “Oh look! There comes a chugging giant, traveling on these tracks at which we’ve been staring in frustration for an hour and a half! I believe it is a…Can it be..Yes!”
And so it went…
We arrived, panting but barely an hour late, at the Ripley Center, an odd little edifice on the Smithsonian campus where the class was being held. At least, it seemed little, until we journeyed down two floors and found ourselves in an unexpectedly vast underground space.
But this was no time to stand gaping! We made for the Lecture Hall and were directed to the balcony, where we settled ourselves, whipped out our notebooks, and as the lecturer held forth about Realism in art history, started scribbling madly. (Everyone around us was doing the same.)
My immediate first thought: I love this!
The program was called Seductive Paris. Our lecturer was Bonita Billman, who teaches art history at Georgetown University’s School of Summer and Continuing Studies. Ms Billman was knowledgeable, discursive, and witty. She possessed a large fund of anecdotes which greatly enhanced her presentation, which consisted of four lectures. They were as follows: French Teachers and American Students; Summers in the Country: American Painters in Brittany and Normandy; Domestic Bliss: Painters of Genre Scenes; and Impressionism in America. All the while Ms Billman was sharing her expertise with us, one gorgeous slide after another appeared on the screen beside and above the podium where she stood. Some of the art work was known to me; most was not. I wrote at frantic speed (and in very low light), trying to get down the names of paintings and artists that I particularly wanted to remember.
There is simply no way I can reproduce here the vast content that constituted these talks. It was akin to condensing an entire semester of art history into one day’s proceedings. So what follows is a partial recapitulation of what was covered in the morning.
When Jean and I got to the lecture, Ms Billman was discussing Gustav Courbet, an artist of out sized genius with an ego to match. This pleased me, as I recalled the stunning exhibit of his works that I’d seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art eight years ago.
Ms Billman highlighted The Stone Breakers (1850), which was destroyed during World War Two:
Courbet was in the vanguard of realist painters. These artists turned away from portraits of the aristocracy and royalty, and of historical and mythological subjects. Instead, they sought to depict people one might encounter in the ordinary course of life, laborers and peasants being chief among these. Jean-Francois Millet was also in this group:
Our lecturer spoke about the Barbizon School and the artists associated with it. These artists were drawn to natural surroundings, and to their depiction on canvas.The Forest of Fontainebleau was their chief inspiration:
Despite differing in age, technique, training, and lifestyle, the artists of the Barbizon School collectively embraced their native landscape, particularly the rich terrain of the Forest of Fontainebleau. They shared a recognition of landscape as an independent subject, a determination to exhibit such paintings at the conservative Salon, and a mutually reinforcing pleasure in nature.
This group of artists had its counterpart in what is sometimes referred to as the American Barbizon School. Ms Billman emphasized three painters associated with this movement: William Morris Hunt, Winslow Homer, and Theodore Robinson.
For a time, William Morris Hunt and his brother Richard Morris Hunt shared an apartment in Paris, hard by the Ecole Des Beaux Arts. Writes David McCullough: “From the training and inspiration each of the brothers was to experience in the next several years in France would come great strides for each in his work.” (This quote comes from The Greater Journey: American in Paris, a book I highly recommend.)
Late in 1866, motivated probably by the chance to see two of his Civil War paintings at the Exposition Universelle, [Winslow] Homer had begun a ten-month sojourn in Paris and the French countryside. While there is little likelihood of influence from members of the French avant-garde, Homer shared their subject interests, their fascination with serial imagery, and their desire to incorporate into their works outdoor light, flat and simple forms (reinforced by their appreciation of Japanese design principles), and free brushwork.
From an essay on Winslow Homer by H. Barbara Weinberg, Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Weinberg opens this essay with the following statement: “Winslow Homer (1836–1910) is regarded by many as the greatest American painter of the nineteenth century.” It’s not hard to see why.
Like William Morris Hunt, Theodore Robinson was born in Vermont. He traveled to Paris, Venice, and Bologna, returning to America in 1879. Five years later, he returned to France, where he became part of the artists’ colony that had formed around Monet at his house and garden in Giverny.
Robinson returned to America in 1892. He had intended to go back to France once again. Instead, in 1896, while in New York City, he succumbed to an acute asthma attack. He was 43 years old.
There’s more to come on ‘Seductive Paris.’
Searching for truth, uncovering deception, both deliberate and inadvertent – these are Lu Brant’s core motivators, in both the personal and professional spheres. She’s the recently elected state’s attorney for Howard County, Maryland, and like her father who served in the position before her, she intends to be an unflinching seeker of justice. But as she starts out making her mark in the legal community, she has no idea how close to home this relentless ambition will soon take her.
A widow with two young children, Lu – short for Luisa – has chosen to move back into her childhood home so that her father, now retired, and his long time housekeeper can help her balance her overloaded life. It’s a bit like living in the past and the present simultaneously. The home in question is in the village of Wilde Lake, situated on the lake itself. Along with her parents, Lu and her much older brother AJ had been among the pioneers of the “new town” of Columbia, Maryland. (As she grew older, Lu had been told the sad facts concerning her mother’s passing.)
The above is but a brief recounting of a complex narrative which alternates back and forth between the past tense narration of the family’s early years in Columbia and the exposition of events occurring in the present. (Also, the past is related by Lu in the first person; the present, in the third person.) The family’s past is interwoven with Columbia’s early years. In these chapters, Lippman uses the actual names of various streets and neighborhoods.
The problem with parallel narratives is that one of them often asserts a larger claim on the reader’s interest than the other. When that happens,you can become impatient with the narrative that you’re finding less compelling. Again, this was my own experience with the novel.
There is also a problem with reading something that takes place so close to home. The impulse to fact check sometimes overrides one’s attentiveness to the story. At least, that was the case with this reader. I admit it was hard not to jump up and down when ‘Rain Dream Hill’ was mentioned, as I lived there for two years in the mid-1970s, which is pretty much the time period the author is describing in those sections.
Lippman’s writing is as breezily accessible as usual, and her sense of humor is very much intact. At one point, she describes a salad set cherished by her father and referred to by him as his “‘lares and penates’.” She confesses that “For years I thought that was Latin for oil and vinegar.” (Dictionary.com defines them as “
My overall assessment of Wilde Lake? First off, the local references were fun but at the same time distracting. I found the plot rather convoluted. In addition, I don’t especially care for the technique of jumping back and forth in time, or of switching verb tenses and point of view. I like a straight ahead narration. (This may be one of the reasons I’m currently preferring to read nonfiction, the other being that there’s so much terrific nonfiction being written right now.)
But well, it is Laura Lippman, she is a home town girl and a very talented one, and Lu Brant is an exceptionally likeable and sympathetic character: a thoroughly modern woman in some ways, but still beset with the same doubts and uncertainties that, in the twenty-first century, still bedevil women in this country and elsewhere as well.
So I would say in general that despite the reservations voiced above, I liked the book. I’d recommend it especially to those who are recent residents of this area or who, like me, resided here during the same period as Lu Brant did as a child (and as Laura Lippman herself did as a teenager, graduating from Wilde Lake High School in 1977).
My favorite work by Laura Lippman is still What the Dead Know. This powerful novel from 2008 was inspired by the disappearance of the Lyon sisters in adjacent Montgomery County in 1975. (Strangely, almost fatefully, after forty years without any substantial leads the case is once again in the news. This stunning development put me in mind of the penultimate line of the story “Dr. Henry Selwyn” by W.G. Sebald: “And so they are ever returning to us, the dead.”
I’d like to give Lu Brant herself the final word:
The truth is not a finite commodity that can be contained within identifiable borders. The truth is messy, riotous, overrunning everything. You can never know the whole truth of anything.
And if you could, you would wish you didn’t.
I’ve been missing our sojourns to the Folger Theatre, so yea, verrily, I was yearning for the wit, wisdom, and poetry of the Bard…
I got all three on Saturday in the Globe On Tour’s production of The Merchant of Venice at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.
That’s Jonathan Pryce, above, as Shylock, the play’s most famous and controversial character. This was his first appearance in that role and his first time acting with the Globe. When he was first invited to take the part, he said no. He had never had any desire to act Shylock; in fact, he had a positive aversion to the role. But a seed had been planted. He reread the play, changed his mind, and signed on to do it.
It was brilliant. The entire production was brilliant.
This is not a play with which I’m particularly well acquainted. I came to it relatively cold, deliberately. Of course, I knew about Shylock, the Jewish moneylender. To a degree, I braced myself for the ugliness to come. And ugliness there is, but there is beauty also, mainly in the person of three sets of lovers who, this being a comedy, all ultimately attain their hearts’ desires.
Yet Shylock remains the burning center of the action. And, for me at least, his forced conversion at the play’s end was cringe-inducing in its cruelty. (To me, it seemed not only a mockery of Judaism, but of Christianity as well.)
Shakespeare’s comedy is Portia’s play, though some audiences now find it difficult to reach that conclusion.
Harold Bloom in Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human
It begins with boisterous music and dance. There’s also a fair amount of lighthearted horseplay, supplied mainly by Stefan Adegbola as Shylock’s servant Launcelot Gobbo. Adegbola shouts gleefully, and dashes all over the stage and into the audience, where he grabs people and pulls them onto the stage and into the action. Adegbola is a gifted comedian; he had the audience in stitches.
The single intermission did not occur until shortly before the famous courtroom scene. By then, the mood had turned decidedly somber.
One of the joys of seeing a Shakespeare play with which you are not all that familiar is the way in which familiar lines of dialog pop up now and then, providing richly rewarding “aha!” moments. A good example of this is Portia’s devastating putdown of one of her more irritating suitors: “God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man” (Act 1, Scene 2).
Then there’s this:
How far that little candle throws its beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
(Act 5, Scene 1)
Portia speaks these words almost in a state of wonderment. That second line appears in Judgement in Stone, Ruth Rendell’s masterpiece. In the context in which the late Baroness Rendell places it, the tone is quite different.
In Act Five, the playwright, as if released from some mysterious constraint, bursts forth with some of the most gorgeous poetry anywhere in the canon. Witness the dreamy, lyrical exchange between Jessica and Lorenzo that opens Scene One:
Lor. The moon shines bright: in such a night as this, When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees And they did make no noise, in such a night 5 Troilus methinks mounted the Troyan walls, And sigh’d his soul toward the Grecian tents, Where Cressid lay that night. Jes. In such a night Did Thisbe fearfully o’ertrip the dew, 10 And saw the lion’s shadow ere himself, And ran dismay’d away. Lor. In such a night Stood Dido with a willow in her hand Upon the wild sea-banks, and waft her love 15 To come again to Carthage. Jes. In such a night Medea gather’d the enchanted herbs That did renew old Æson.
I confess the line I was waiting for was “How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank.” It’s spoken just a bit later, in the same scene, by Lorenzo:
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patenes of bright gold:
There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-ey’d cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
When finally I heard it, I sighed inwardly: how lovely… And I’m delighted by “Sit, Jessica.” It is a line that’s startling in its contemporary resonance – as when Juliet says to Romeo: “The orchard walls are high and hard to climb.”
As for being Jewish while watching this play – well, I felt strangely ambivalent. My dear cousin, with whom I attended the performance and who is more committed in her Jewish observance than I am, had, I believe, a similar reaction; namely, it is anti-Semitic and it is brilliant. (There’s that word again; no denying it.) You can tell yourself that it is an entertainment of and for the time in which Shakespeare and his fellow players and collaborators lived and worked.
And yet – to quote Shylock:
If you prick us, do we nor bleed?
We are saddened and shocked by the devastating flood in downtown Ellicott City. A torrential downpour is responsible for two deaths and tremendous destruction of property.
This is a community of quiet charm, lovely – and in some cases, quirky – shops, and fine restaurants.
(Pictures are from The Washington Post.)
This happened some four or five miles from our house. We are on high ground and so were unaffected by this storm. Unaffected – but plenty scared. It seemed as though the pounding rain would never stop.
So far I have found these two organizations who are accepting donations for flood victims:
A beautiful sight greeted me Wednesday morning: two rolled-up packages of newspaper lay in the (barely navigable) driveway. When I brought them in, I discovered that I had received not only that day’s paper, but all those that I’d missed due to the snow storm. Five issues awaited my joyful perusal!
Thank you so much, Washington Post.
Meanwhile, I’ve made progress on my upcoming presentations. This has consisted mainly of coming up with a script for Book Bash and gathering books for the presentation (entitled “Time for Crime: True and Imagined”), and selecting the stories I want to emphasize for my July discussion of Capital Crimes: London Stories.
I’ve already mentioned the crowd that surged through the Central Branch right before the blizzard. I was gratified that so many people were searching for books as well as DVDs. How nice, thought I, they’ll be taking home some gentle and soothing tomes, like Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies Detective series or Jan Karon’s Mitford novels – and cookbooks, too, judging by the stripped shelves of local supermarkets – to help them get through the coming storm. This assumption is probably accurate, generally speaking. But on Wednesday, when I began searching in earnest for books I need for Book Bash, there were no available copies at any of the six library branches of the following:
All needed to be reserved and are only now coming in. Clearly, escapism means different things to different people.
And finally, something from the Department of Transitory Phenomena:
I am sitting at my computer desk yesterday morning at about a quarter to nine, when I become aware of the sunlight entering through the window on my left and falling across the desk’s cluttered surface and the adjoining bookcase.
Problem: the room is on the west side of the house. Remember: it is 8:45 AM.
I get up and go to the window, where I observe the sun glinting madly of the window of the house opposite. It is acting as a powerful reflector – but only for a short time.
The strange thing is, this room – formerly my son’s bedroom, as you might have guessed from the wall art – has been my de facto “office” for some ten years now, and I don’t recall ever noting this phenomenon.
Plow arrived at 7:30 this AM. Finished plowing the cul-de-sac at around nine, leaving the inevitable wall of snow in front of each driveway. A contingent of neighbors cleared their own, and then did ours, for which God bless them! They completed their labors around 11:30, sealing the deal with a snowball melee.
We then walked to our mailbox – a cluster box about half a block away and across the street – only to find it empty. Well, they’ve got their work cut out for them, to be sure. We’ll’ try again round four.
Meanwhile, here’s how it looks now:
Initially, I was going to have this post consist of a single picture:
This was the sight that greeted us this morning, just outside our kitchen window, at the back of the house.
But this is what it still looked like out front:
Here in Maryland, they’ve been begging us to stay off the roads. At the moment, I can’t see any roads, no problem with that.
I couldn’t help recalling with a sort of bitter nostalgia the days of newspaper delivery, mail delivery, trips to the library to get yet another of my gazillion reserves…
I won’t deny it: I was getting cranky.
But in the afternoon, a crew making the rounds gained access to our front door and asked if we wanted to be dug out. Well, I guess so! And so they did the job.
Now, it looks like this:
It’s better, but until they plow out the cul-de-sac, we’re still stuck.
I have been trying to employ my time in useful pursuits. I have two presentations to prepare for, one a week from this Saturday and the other, in July.
The first is a presentation for the many book lovers in my AAUW chapter. It is called Book Bash. I’ve been involved in this event for several years now. Sometimes others collaborate with me, but this year I’m going solo. I’m basing my presentation on last year’s True Crime class and calling it “Time for Crime: True and Imagined.” Here’s the handout I prepared and sent out in advance:
Time for Crime: True and Imagined
Last year, I was offered the opportunity to teach a class on the literature of true crime at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Johns Hopkins. I chose as my principal source/textbook True Crime: An American Anthology, edited by Harold Schechter and published by Library of America in 2008. Several copies are available at the library, call no. 364.1523T
Here are some especially interesting excerpts from this anthology. Where these excerpts are available online, I’ve provided the URL; additional URL’s contain related material of interest:
- “The Recent Tragedy” by James Gordon Bennett p. 63
- “Crime News from California: The Criminal Market Is Active” by Ambrose Bierce pp. 80-81
- “A Memorable Murder” by Celia Thaxter p. 131
- Murder Ballads: “The Murder at Fall River” p. 205; “The Murder of Grace Brown” p. 203
- The Eternal Blonde” by Damon Runyon pp. 236-246
- Excerpt from The Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury p.303
(Lots of additional material concerning true crime is included in the above blog post.)
7. “The Trial of Ruby McCollum” by Zora Neale Hurston p. 512
8. “The Black Dahlia” by Jack Webb p. 524
9. My Mother’s Killer” by James Ellroy p. 707
10. “Nightmare on Elm Drive” by Dominick Dunne p. 737
The Beautiful Cigar Girl by Daniel Stashower
“The Murder of Marie Roget” by Edgar Allan Poe
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
A Place in the Sun: film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift
An American Tragedy: opera composed by Tobias Picker
Double Indemnity by James M. Cain
Double Indemnity: film starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, and Edward G. Robinson
My Dark Places by James Ellroy
Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments by Dominick Dunne
British Library Crime Classics
Resorting To Murder: Holiday Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards
Capital Crimes: London Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards
Antidote to Venom by Freeman Wills Crofts
The Sussex Downs Murders by John Bude
Mystery in White: A Christmas Crime Story by J. Jefferson Farjeon
The irreplaceable excellence of Ruth Rendell
A Judgement in Stone
A Fatal Inversion (as Barbara Vine)
The Wexford novels: http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/R_Authors/Rendell_Ruth.html
The absolute wonderfulness of Sue Grafton, as embodied in
I’ve included many mysteries and quite a few works of true crime in my yearly round-up of favorites:
The second presentation is actually a book discussion I’m planning to hold with the Usual Suspects. I’ve chosen to discuss Capital Crimes: London Stories, edited by Martin Edwards. (It’s one of the British Library Crime Classics mentioned above.) I’m trying to decide which stories to single out, but they’re all so good, it’s proving to be a real challenge. (My friend and fellow Suspect Pauline is assisting me with this task. Thanks, Pauline.)
Oh – and one other useful pursuit for today: I made a batch of famously mysterious Lacy Parmesan Wafers.
I often bring these little guys to meetings and get-togethers, and whenever I do, folks tend to wax rhapsodic. What’s in them? they demand to know. Well, let’s see, there’s shredded Parmesan cheese… That’s it – just that one ingredient. Make little mounds of it – about a tablespoon in volume – and space them out regularly on a cookie sheet. (I put nonstick aluminum foil on the sheet.) They go into a 400 degree oven for about eight minutes. Take them out, give them several seconds to cool, then transfer them to a paper towel to await the arrival more Lacy Wafers. Keep doing batches until you run out of Parmesan cheese.
That’s all there is to it. And it makes a great snack for diabetics like Yours Truly. Cheese is blessedly low in carbohydrates, often containing only trace amounts or none at all.
So, this single-ingredient thing is my idea of hassle free cooking. It’s the only kind of cooking that I have the patience for, at present.
It was certainly comforting to see the sun.
I went outside, took a few tentative whacks at the situation and, utterly overwhelmed, withdrew. Here’s how it looked in the driveway, after my (feeble) efforts:
That snow bank is about thirty inches high. I could barely shift it.
Someone is supposed to come tomorrow and clear the driveway for us. (I’ll pay you anything!!) Meanwhile, it’s back inside, where after all, things are pretty good: an easygoing, affectionate husband, an occasionally affectionate if mostly somnolent cat, my beloved desktop Sony Vaio, music flowing endlessly from various sources – most recently the Echo, a delightful Christmas gift from my son and daughter-in-law – and my books, always my books, about which more, shortly.
While confined indoors, I’ve gotten some things done. I’ve discovered some wonderful new art:
The above three and more can be found at The Croatian Museum of Naive Art.
From the Johnson collection website: “The two colorfully clad figures—leaning backwards and physically open to possibility—appear to have abandoned themselves to a joyful moment.”
The above three and more can be found at the Johnson Collection site.
Listened to some gorgeous music:
Visited the animal kingdom online, with gratifying (and occasionally entertaining) results:
And last, but of course not least, I read:
Wednesday and Thursday
First, came the run on staples. Milk and toilet paper racing out the door – not unexpected. Then we found out that our ‘local’ had run out of ground beef. Later we heard that another area supermarket had run out of onions. Onions? Really?? Urban legend or fact, it provided some much needed amusement. Perhaps someone in the area is making a gigantic batch of French onion soup. So, may we come over and partake thereof, whoever and wherever you are? That’s assuming we ever get dug out of here….
It so happened that I was scheduled to work at the Central Branch Library from ten until two. Ordinary open hours on Friday are ten to six, but the decision was made to close at two because of the fast approaching storm.
From the time the doors opened, the facility was filled with people. Children were present in happy abundance. DVD’s were grabbed by the fistful; by noon, the shelves were looking all but decimated.
But the happiest development concerned the large number of adults who had come in for books. Yes, those old fashioned but durable hard copies, bringers of joy, comfort, and solace. I got a reader’s advisory question right off the bat – and I must admit, it threw me initially.
The customer was quite definite: happy books, no bad stuff – and no loves stories either! That does knock out rather a lot of fiction, I thought to myself. I wonder if she’d like a book about tomatoes? (What can I say – I was in vegetable mode, with onions still on my mind.)
Said customer then mentioned that she had enjoyed The Paying Guest by Sarah Waters. Did you really? I rejoined. I actually liked the book before that one better: The Little Stranger. Oh, really? said she. Maybe I’ll read that next. As luck would have it, we found a copy. I also gave her a mystery by Peter Lovesey and Alexander McCall Smith’s Corduroy Mansions Trilogy, apologizing for the presence of love stories therein but assuring her that they did not monopolize the narrative. And anyway, Freddie de la Hay is a fabulous character and has a rather harrowing adventure in the second volume, The Dog Who Came In from the Cold.
At any rate, the customer seemed satisfied, and that’s what we aim for. Lots more folks came by the Fiction/Audiovisual desk, looking for books – novels mostly – and films. At one point, a man marched up to me and without any preliminary, asked who wrote the Dortmunder books. Donald Westlake, answered I, without hesitation and without recourse to Stop!YoureKillingMe. Truly, I do love it when I can do that.
It was great to see lines at checkout – just like the old days. It transpired later that the “door count” for yesterday was slightly over one thousand. No wonder it felt as though the place were full to bursting!
Ah,well, but all good things must come to end. I went home, to husband and cat, to await the inevitable. It started snowing in earnest at around four o’clock. And this morning, we woke to world that was aggressively, ferociously white – and getting whiter by the minute: