“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 22 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part U Ernest Hemingway 10th part Gil Pender said, “I’m actually a huge Mark Twain fan!” Mark Twain and the paradox of writing THE GILDED AGE )

King Solomon’s experiment 3000 years proved that luxuries can’t bring satisfaction to one’s life but we have seen this proven over and over through the ages. Mark Twain lampooned the rich in his book “The Gilded Age” and he discussed the age of corrupt politics and get rich quick fever, but Sam Clemens loved money and the comfort and luxuries it could buy. Likewise Scott Fitzgerald  was very successful in the 1920’s after his publication of THE GREAT GATSBY and lived a lavish lifestyle in Paris, the  French Riviera, and later Hollywood until his death in 1940 as a result of alcoholism and his wife Zelda died in a mental institution later in the 1940’s.

Tom Hiddleston as Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris

midnight in paris – Fitzgeralds and Hemingway

F. Scott Fitzgerald
F Scott Fitzgerald 1921.jpg

Photograph of F. Scott Fitzgerald c. 1921, appearing in “The World’s Work” (June 1921 issue)
Born Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald
September 24, 1896
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Died December 21, 1940 (aged 44)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Resting place Saint Mary’s Cemetery
Occupation Novelist, short story writer
Nationality American
Education Princeton University (no degree)
Period 1920–40
Spouse Zelda Sayre (m. 1920–40)
Children Frances Scott Fitzgerald

Signature

Mark Twain Documentary (1963)

HEMINGWAY:You like Mark Twain?

GIL PENDER:I’m actually a huge Mark Twain fan.I think you can even make the case that all modern American literature comes from Huckleberry Finn.-

Samuel Clemens at home with his family, Hartford, CT.

 

Mark Twain house in Hartford on Pinterest | Mark Twain, Connecticut and House

 

Mark Twain at age 50 had it all. In the documentary by Ken Burns about Mark Twain the narrator notes, “Twenty years earlier he had contemplated suicide but when he turned 50 years old he had a lovely wife, and three children and was the best known writer in America.”

Mark Twain wrote at this time, “I am out of the woods. It seems like everything I touch turns to gold. I’m frightened at the proportions of my prosperity.”

However, even though Twain had reached such financial success he hungered for more. Below is a portion of a review of the Ken Burns film on Twain.

Ken Burns’ Mark Twain: a not quite unflinching portrait

By James Brewer
9 February 2002

Ron Powers, a writer who was raised in Clemens’ hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, is Burns’ most often quoted source. He is the author of Tom and Huck Don’t Live Here Anymore: Childhood and Murder in the Heart of America, as well as a biography of Twain. He makes reference to the enigma of Samuel Clemens and Mark Twain. He makes an interesting comment on the origin of the name, “Mark Twain.” Mississippi Riverboat pilots required constant soundings of the depth of the water in order to navigate. One fathom, or six feet, was “half twain,” and a depth of two fathoms was regarded as safe water, known as “mark twain.” Powers notes that “mark twain” is the point at which the safe and the dangerous meet. According to Powers, this is where Mark Twain’s writing is situated: on the “edge of safety and danger.”

Powers later argues for a split between the personalities of Samuel Clemens and Mark Twain. He calls Twain an “untamable rogue, a barely restrainable id that Sam could let out of the bottle … but sometimes he came out when Sam least expected it.” At best this is a bit overstated. At worst it becomes one in a series of psychologically-oriented schemas which serve to cast doubt on the validity of Twain’s later, more critical writings. This emerges in the second installment of the series.

Of course there is an enormous contradiction in Mark Twain’s life and career. The literary and financial success Twain enjoyed allowed him to live the life of the socially elite. He married into wealth and even though his wife was in many ways enlightened, she was conventional in other ways and religious. At the same time it can’t be denied that Olivia— “Livy”—did everything she could to create the conditions in which Twain could write his masterpiece,Huckleberry Finn.

When Huckleberry Finn was released it was a huge success. Twain’s popularity grew even more. Of his situation, he later said, “I am out of the woods. It seems like everything I touch turns to gold. I’m frightened at the proportions of my prosperity.” This leads into the portentous introduction to the second part of the series, as the narrator ominously declaims that Clemens could not have imagined “in his wildest nightmares” the extent of the personal tragedies he would face.

Maudlin view of Clemens’ personal life

Huckleberry Finn is at the center of Mark Twain’s creative life. Its place in the American literary pantheon was, and still is, beyond dispute. Its publication was the high point both of Clemens’ literary career and his personal life. His family’s wealth and health seemed assured. He was never happier. Burns’ documentary makes the point that this period marked a watershed for Mark Twain. First, he seemed to become infected with the same “get-rich-quick fever” that he lampooned in The Gilded Age. He invested recklessly and injudiciously in schemes that became an ever-increasing drain on his family’s savings. He had to seek bankruptcy protection in 1894.

__________________

In the Book of Ecclesiastes Solomon was searching for meaning in life in what I call the 6 big L words  He looked into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20). King Solomon  found luxury to be “vanity and a striving after the wind.”

Ecclesiastes 2:4-11 English Standard Version (ESV)

I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines,[a]the delight of the sons of man.

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

Biography of Mark Twain (1835 1910)

Francis Schaeffer noted that Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.” 

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

IMAX: Mark Twain’s America

Mark Twain at his "Stormfield" home in Redding.

Mark Twain at his “Stormfield” home in Redding.

 

Mark Twain Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn Biography Documentary Film

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Hemingway and Gil Pender talk about their literary idol Mark Twain and the eighteenth post is summed up nicely by Kris Hemphill‘swords, “Both Twain and [King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes] voice questions our souls long to have answered: Where does one find enduring meaning, life purpose, and sustainable joy, and why do so few seem to find it?

This series deals with the Book of Ecclesiastes and Woody Allen films.  The first post  dealt with MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT and it dealt with the fact that in the Book of Ecclesiastes Solomon does contend like Hobbes  and Stanley that life is “nasty, brutish and short” and as a result has no meaning UNDER THE SUN.

The movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS offers many of the same themes we see in Ecclesiastes. The second post looked at the question: WAS THERE EVER AGOLDEN AGE AND DID THE MOST TALENTED UNIVERSAL MEN OF THAT TIME FIND TRUE SATISFACTION DURING IT?

In the third post in this series we discover in Ecclesiastes that man UNDER THE SUN finds himself caught in the never ending cycle of birth and death. The SURREALISTS make a leap into the area of nonreason in order to get out of this cycle and that is why the scene in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel works so well!!!! These surrealists look to the area of their dreams to find a meaning for their lives and their break with reality is  only because they know that they can’t find a rational meaning in life without God in the picture.

The fourth post looks at the solution of WINE, WOMEN AND SONG and the fifth and sixth posts look at the solution T.S.Eliot found in the Christian Faith and how he left his fragmented message of pessimism behind. In the seventh post the SURREALISTS say that time and chance is all we have but how can that explain love or art and the hunger for God? The eighth  post looks at the subject of DEATH both in Ecclesiastes and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. In the ninth post we look at the nihilistic worldview of Woody Allen and why he keeps putting suicides into his films.

In the tenth post I show how Woody Allen pokes fun at the brilliant thinkers of this world and how King Solomon did the same thing 3000 years ago. In the eleventh post I point out how many of Woody Allen’s liberal political views come a lack of understanding of the sinful nature of man and where it originated. In the twelfth post I look at the mannishness of man and vacuum in his heart that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God.

In the thirteenth post we look at the life of Ernest Hemingway as pictured in MIDNIGHT AND PARIS and relate it to the change of outlook he had on life as the years passed. In the fourteenth post we look at Hemingway’s idea of Paris being a movable  feast. The fifteenth and sixteenth posts both compare Hemingway’s statement, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know…”  with Ecclesiastes 2:18 “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” The seventeenth post looks at these words Woody Allen put into Hemingway’s mouth,  “We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all.”

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Hemingway and Gil Pender talk about their literary idol Mark Twain and the eighteenth post is summed up nicely by Kris Hemphill‘swords, “Both Twain and [King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes] voice questions our souls long to have answered: Where does one find enduring meaning, life purpose, and sustainable joy, and why do so few seem to find it? The nineteenth post looks at the tension felt both in the life of Gil Pender (written by Woody Allen) in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and in Mark Twain’s life and that is when an atheist says he wants to scoff at the idea THAT WE WERE PUT HERE FOR A PURPOSE but he must stay face the reality of  Ecclesiastes 3:11 that says “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” and  THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING! Therefore, the secular view that there is no such thing as love or purpose looks implausible. The twentieth post examines how Mark Twain discovered just like King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes that there is no explanation  for the suffering and injustice that occurs in life UNDER THE SUN. Solomon actually brought God back into the picture in the last chapter and he looked  ABOVE THE SUN for the books to be balanced and for the tears to be wiped away.

The twenty-first post looks at the words of King Solomon, Woody Allen and Mark Twain that without God in the picture our lives UNDER THE SUN will accomplish nothing that lasts. The twenty-second post looks at King Solomon’s experiment 3000 years that proved that luxuries can’t bring satisfaction to one’s life but we have seen this proven over and over through the ages. Mark Twain lampooned the rich in his book “The Gilded Age” and he discussed  get rich quick fever, but Sam Clemens loved money and the comfort and luxuries it could buy. Likewise Scott Fitzgerald  was very successful in the 1920’s after his publication of THE GREAT GATSBY and lived a lavish lifestyle until his death in 1940 as a result of alcoholism.

Conversations at Noon – A Conversation with “Mark Twain”

 

Related posts:

____________

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 15, Luis Bunuel)
The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 9, Georges Braque)
The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 5 Juan Belmonte)
The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 23,Adriana, fictional mistress of Picasso)
The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 11, Rodin)The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 29, Pablo Picasso)The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 13, Amedeo Modigliani)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 14, Henri Matisse)
Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 35, Recap of historical figures, Notre Dame Cathedral and Cult of Reason)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 3 Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald)
The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 10 Salvador Dali)

The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 12, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel)

Related posts:

I love the movie “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen and I have done over 30 posts on the historical characters mentioned in the film. Take a look below:

“Midnight in Paris” one of Woody Allen’s biggest movie hits in recent years, July 18, 2011 – 6:00 am

(Part 32, Jean-Paul Sartre)July 10, 2011 – 5:53 am

 (Part 29, Pablo Picasso) July 7, 2011 – 4:33 am

(Part 28,Van Gogh) July 6, 2011 – 4:03 am

(Part 27, Man Ray) July 5, 2011 – 4:49 am

(Part 26,James Joyce) July 4, 2011 – 5:55 am

(Part 25, T.S.Elliot) July 3, 2011 – 4:46 am

(Part 24, Djuna Barnes) July 2, 2011 – 7:28 am

(Part 23,Adriana, fictional mistress of Picasso) July 1, 2011 – 12:28 am

(Part 22, Silvia Beach and the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore) June 30, 2011 – 12:58 am

(Part 21,Versailles and the French Revolution) June 29, 2011 – 5:34 am

(Part 16, Josephine Baker) June 24, 2011 – 5:18 am

(Part 15, Luis Bunuel) June 23, 2011 – 5:37 am

Related posts:

A list of the most viewed posts on the historical characters mentioned in the movie “Midnight in Paris”

Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 38,Alcoholism and great writers and artists)

The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 36, Alice B. Toklas, Woody Allen on the meaning of life)

Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 35, Recap of historical figures, Notre Dame Cathedral and Cult of Reason)

The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 34, Simone de Beauvoir)

The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 33,Cezanne)

The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 32, Jean-Paul Sartre)

The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 31, Jean Cocteau)

The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 30, Albert Camus)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 29, Pablo Picasso)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 8, Henri Toulouse Lautrec)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 7 Paul Gauguin)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 6 Gertrude Stein)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 5 Juan Belmonte)

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