PATHS TO FAME
Turner Watercolours from the Courtauld The Courtauld Gallery
Until 25 January; £5
SISLEY IN ENGLAND AND WALES
Until 15 February; free
Turner is one of the great watercolourists. Dorothy Scharf was one of the great collectors of watercolours, and the nine Turners which she bequeathed to the Courtauld are currently on display there for the first time. They are supplemented by other Turner sketches and watercolours from the Gallery’s collection plus loans from the Tate and private collections.
Aside from being a fine artist, Turner wanted to succeed. So he travelled extensively in Britain and Europe to find views which were saleable. The late set of Swiss views which include Tate Britain’s recently acquired Blue Rigi was one of the high points of these travels, but, as this exhibition sets out to show, the pattern of touring, sketching views, then colouring and engraving them was the path to fame even in Turner’s teens.
We begin with examples of how Turner might accurately sketch a view or architectural feature and then rework the sketch to make a better picture. This is especially clear in a series of Tom Tower at Christ Church, Oxford, which incidentally reveals how long St Aldate’s has been a spatial mess.
Among these early works it is also fun to look at a view of the Chelsea Hospital to see how little has changed. And a sketch of St Mary’s, Nottingham, a fine medieval building with a ramshackle pub next door, flanked by a Georgian town house, might easily be an estate agent’s advert in this months Country Life, wooing us with a sought-after property in the provinces.
The exhibition, and Turners career, takes off with some great views of the Alps and of Margate. Among the Alpine views, The Upper Fall of the Reichenbach, scene of months Country Life, wooing us with a sought-after property in the provinces.
The exhibition, and Turners career, takes off with some great views of the Alps and of Margate. Among the Alpine views, The Upper Fall of the Reichenbach, scene of Sherlock Holmes’ fatal struggle with Professor Moriarty, is compelling in the way the atmosphere is created from muted greys and browns. By contrast the powerful View of Bergenz is a townscape in the mountains with strong lighting and an almost abstract foreground. It compares favourably with an over-worked, over-detailed view of Rome inspired by Claude and the highly finished works which became book illustrations.
Of course, for all his commercial acumen and walking the paths of fame, Turner was first and foremost driven by the need to express himself and develop his work.
As he grew older and more successful, he painted more and more for himself and for a select circle of connoisseurs. Foremost among those connoisseurs, at least with the pen, was John Ruskin, who acquired from Turner’s landlady and companion one of his Kent coast sketchbooks. Three of these sketches are on display to illustrate Ruskin’s possibly apocryphal story, that having seen the finest skyscapes Europe could offer, when asked, Turner said the best were to be found at the Isle of Thanet. The most famous of the Margate sketches is in the exhibition. Called Dawn after the Wreck, it shows a dog sitting on the shore after a great storm at sea. The dog and a bravura piece of sentimental description by Ruskin did wonders for Turner’s reputation as a watercolourist.
Just down the road from the Courtauld, the National Gallery answers the old question: which French Impressionist was married in Cardiff? Sisley, in case you hadn’t guessed. This is another small but interesting exhibition which parallels one of a couple years back which answered the question: which French Impressionist painted cricket scenes? (Camille Pissarro)
Alfred Sisley (1839-1899): Under the Bridge at Hampton Court, 1874 Kunstmuseum Winterthur. Presented by Dr Herbert and Charlotte Wolfer-de Armas, 1973 (1549)
Sisley made a number of tours of England and Wales and his late Welsh paintings are now thought of as amongst his best. The Cardiff shipping lanes are not everyone’s choice for a seascape, and though Sisley was more than capable of painting industrial scenes, the coal trade is generally far enough out to sea to be picturesque but not dirty. These paintings are often quite acidic in their colours and, with the same scene painted at different times of day and in different light, some work better than others.
The exhibition begins, though, with earlier, less acidic pictures of the Thames down at Molesey and Hampton Court. The most original of these are of the then recently constructed bridge over the Thames, and Sisley’s underneath view of the bridge has the freshness of the new as he explores angles and pictorial composition in a way which has become hackneyed in today’s architectural photography.
Sisley had seen the success of his fellow Impressionists with pictures of fashionable Parisian boating parties and so he tried an English version of this at Molesey. The effect is slightly disconcerting. Impressionist art has great vogue and chic and is utterly French, so somehow the combination of Impressionism and Three Men in a Boat doesn’t seem quite right. The aura and the chic are lost if the subject matter is ‘les Rosbifs’.
Not that this would have bothered Sisley, who worked as a painter rather than a cultural icon. I was reminded of a wet afternoon watching a woman in late middle age with sensible shoes and strong opinions bully a teenager round a country art gallery. Pausing in triumph before a Pissarro, she explained to her companion that this was so quintessentially the Paris she knew.
That wet afternoon was lit up by the teenager’s happy face when she read out the pictures title, Wembley Park. The Impressionists aren’t quite as French as we might think, and we appreciate their achievement the more when we remember that.
SYMPHONY NO. 1; CLARINET CONCERTO
Charles Villiers Stanford
Robert Plane, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, David Lloyd-Jones
Naxos 8.570356, £6
With this disk David Lloyd-Jones and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra complete their recordings of the symphonies composed by Stanford, and they finish their task in style. Whatever the final assessment of Stanford’s symphonic achievement, these Naxos performances have done him proud.
The helpful notes which come with this disk remind us that when the twenty-four-year-old Stanford completed his First Symphony in 1876 he had little home-grown competition by which to test his work.
Of existing symphonies by British composers only that by Arthur Sullivan, first performed in 1866 when he also was in his early twenties, offered a serious comparison. Stanford’s initial exploration of the symphonic world was not performed until 1879 and was not heard again in his lifetime.
How does this work sound now? It is in the traditional four movements, the first being nearly twenty minutes long. German influences are at work, which is not surprising, and Schumann is so notable an inspiration that at times Stanford sounds curiously like another Schumann follower, the Danish composer Niels Gade. There is no doubt that this is highly enjoyable, well-written music, yet it poses a question which in varying degrees applies to so much of Stanford’s purely orchestral work. Why should music with so much going for it prove so unmemorable? The ideas are skilfully used, but they simply do not remain in the mind, and they can seem rather short-winded. For example, the strongly rhythmic figure which begins the last movement has no sense of where to go and peters out almost at once. This is puzzling when one considers that Stanford had no problem in finding good themes for his church compositions.
It is impossible not to compare Stanford’s First Symphony with Sullivan’s youthful Irish Symphony. Where firm structure is concerned, Stanford – the last movement of his work excepted – perhaps has the edge. In the effectiveness of their orchestral writing, they are fairly evenly matched. But when it comes to memorable thematic invention, Sullivan wins hands down – though it must be admitted that Stanford is pitting himself against one of the most fertile melodists ever produced by these islands.
There are no reservations about the other work on this disk, the Clarinet Concerto, first performed in 1906. It is not over-long, its three linked sections provide many rewarding opportunities for the soloist, and in this case memorability is guaranteed because Stanford looks for inspiration to the music of his native Ireland. The concerto has had a royal succession of advocates, including Charles Draper, Frederick Thurston and Thea King, which is the best testimony to its quality. In this recording Robert Plane produces a warm tone and playing fully equal to the changing moods of the work.
This is the place to pay a tribute to the players of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The clarity, energy and sensitivity which they demonstrate in this recording are a lesson to some more famous orchestras, and the skill with which they accompany the soloist in the concerto is impressive. To them and to their conductor must go the highest praise. Following the recent lamented death of Vernon Handley, David Lloyd-Jones remains as an outstanding champion of British music. Not long ago heard him conduct a splendid account of Sullivan’s symphony. Perhaps he might have a word in the ear of Naxos about a recording?
All in all, then, this may not be great’ music as we usually understand the term, but it will provide you with more than an hour of pleasure. What more could you want at bargain price?
BENEDICT XVI AND THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH
Robert Tilley Gracewing, 288pp, pbk
978 0 85244 16 3, £12.99
This is a bonza book written by a full-on Aussie who couldn’t give a kangaroo’s xxx if whingeing Liberals can’t deal with some straight okker talking. Well, perhaps not quite, but Robert Tilley’s book has more than the occasional whiff of Crocodile Dundee and all those other Down-Under stereotypes. But Crocodile Dundee was an entertaining film and this cheerfully partisan book provides a deceptively penetrating introduction to the thought and controversies of Pope Benedict.
And the story is that no one should have been surprised when the so-called Panzer Pope – how these Christians love each other – wrote his first encyclical, Deus est Caritas, about the love of God. It is Tilley’s argument that Benedict’s controversies with liberalism after the 1968 student riots happened because liberalism undermines the Christian understanding of the love of God. That is not to say Liberals set out to do away with Christian love, but liberal assumptions inevitably damage the relationship between God and mankind. The historical parallels between anti-Christian Nazi thuggery and anti-Christian student thuggery, egged on by liberal theology faculties, convinced Benedict he had to make a stand.
Tilley describes liberalism not in terms of the issues it supports – contraception, gay rights, women priests – but as a set of typical assumptions which undermine our relationship with God: the hostility to hierarchical and institutional authority, the rejection of dogma, and the belief that no absolutely true statement can be made about the nature of God.
He then summarizes Benedict’s criticism of liberalism as follows: the modern turn to the autonomous individual from the person perfected in communion has been a disaster; this turn to the individual (‘only can judge what is right for me’) is associated with the seventeenth-I century turn from metaphysics to scientific rationalism, which over time has determined all outthought, especially of human nature; that n is expressed in pragmatic and relativist philosophies which form a technological fundamentalism; this technologism is expressed in consumerism and the subordination of human life to efficiency; religious liberalism, willy-nilly, is informed by this technological fundamentalism (witness the depersonalization of the Trinity in the formula ‘Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier’); dialogue between religions and cultures can only occur where there is reason which includes metaphysics and natural law – true pluralism, as opposed to modish inclusivism, cannot be founded on relativism (‘my pain is bigger than your pain’ is not an argument); the return to thinking about being – metaphysics – requires renunciation and contemplation, and is necessary if the person is to be turned back from this dehumanizing individualism and to be perfected in communion, which is love; all being is hierarchically ordered so only hierarchical thinking can be truly inclusive.
Ironically, it is precisely because Tilley has summarized and systematized Benedict’s thought so well that he might have fallen short of the spirit of Benedict’s writing. Part of what Tilley sets out to do is to write an extended counter-blast to newspaper gossip and the rhetoric of sneers and emotionalism which Liberal writers are so good at. One of the stories about the Pope which has attracted this sort of coverage is whether or not Benedict has rejected Aquinas by not being a Thomist and putting himself more in the Augustinian mould. The answer, according to Tilley, is that Benedict finds the personal style of Augustine more congenial than the formal teaching of Thomas. He has not rejected Thomas. Rather, he has injected Augustine’s more personal approach into Thomas. Fair enough, but Tilley’s own very logical working through and systematization of Benedict’s thought looks very scholastic, even if he thinks he needs to use a larger-than-life tone to keep our interest.
In other words, to make Benedict more accessible, Tilley has done the one thing which Benedict himself has chosen not to do. This is not to say he gets Benedict wrong, but this book is not the whole story. If Tilley had taken the wider perspective of Aidan Nichols introduction, rather than concentrating on Benedict’s writings in the journal Communio, the importance of love in Benedict’s thought would have been obvious from Benedict’s early essay on brotherhood.
So this is not a complete introduction to Benedict’s thought. It needs to be supplemented by Aidan Nichols’ introduction, and would benefit from the insights on the human personality in the recently published On Aquinas by Herbert McCabe. And Tilley does occasionally go over the top – one attack on the Sixties, ‘Eastern hippy culture, bien pensant soixante huitards, lefties and flared trousers (well, perhaps not the flared trousers) is especially entertaining, but lacks the focus and precision which Benedict is so famous for.
That is a pity, because when Tilley keeps to transmitting Benedict’s written word this is a good book. He gets across that quality of Benedict of constantly provoking fresh thought and insight, and, above all, that sense that here we are dealing with the ‘real thing’, with someone who makes sense of the world.
One of my own epiphanies on the way through the book was the explanation in passing of something that has sometimes puzzled me in Catholic social and political teaching. Benedict, like his predecessor and like Solzhenitsyn, can appear perverse or unpredictable when he enters the political marketplace. He does not give knee-jerk party responses to political and social problems. Rather, he is a critic of all human schemes which depersonalize mankind, be they dictatorships of Right or Left. Benedict teaches it is the task of all mankind to work against those dehumanizing forces for a just and fair society, though that society can only stand if it is founded upon Christ. In this, Benedict is in the tradition of the great St Benedict, standing up for a Christian culture against a tide of barbarism and looking forward to the City of God.
JESUS, TEACH US TO PRAY
Fr Jerome Bertram
Family Publications, 143pp, pbk 978 1871217 79 7, £8.95
Fr Bertram writes here in response both to the publication of Pope Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth but also in answer to the challenges of modern life which encroach upon opportunities for healthy prayer. The result is a blend of theological reflection and practical advice for Christian devotional life.
Much of what he suggests in respect of the latter should be gladly welcomed. Drawing upon many years of experience as an Oratorian priest in Oxford and elsewhere, Fr Bertram wisely points out that prayer can be difficult, but that growth in the spiritual life can result from those very times ‘when prayer seems dry or tedious’ – he recommends looking at prayer as the task of a lifetime, and argues that space for prayer should be prioritized far more highly than is commonly the case, for ‘[the] more important our work, the more we need the help of God.’ Prayer is described in a number of charming images, such as “wasting time’ with God’. Jesus, Teach Us to Pray contains good material on lectio divina, penance and temptation, in respect of their relation to prayer. Structurally, the book is well ordered, with chapters that are not overlong. Quotations from Newman, Hopkins, T. S. Eliot and others are utilised simply, sparingly and effectively. Very appropriately, illustrations from the life and thought of St Philip Neri are scattered throughout the text.
However, only an Oratorian could have invested a work on spirituality with such polit-icism: in several places there are quite incongruous and unnecessary asides on, for example, papal authority, transubstantiation, and communion under one kind, which give the impression of an overbearing eagerness to affirm the authors orthodox credentials. Likewise, a section on the problem of evil is unconvincing, not least because Fr Bertram attempts to fit far too much material into one rather small title; thus, the prolonged exegesis of the Lords Prayer in the book’s fifth chapter can at times wander away from spirituality into other theological fields, to the overall detriment of the piece.
Despite this, there are some noteworthy contributions to the theology of prayer, such as a discussion of prayer’s missiologi-cal aspects, and a thorough consideration of its community dimension, especially as this relates to the Eucharist and to the communion of saints. Fr Bertram provides a considered defence of specifically Christian prayer, supported by a number of apt Christological ideas. In contrast to the protracted explanation of the Our Father, there is an excellent exposition of Psalm 130.
On the whole, the book is well written. Despite one horrendous metaphorization of the adoption of an attitude of humility in prayer – ‘[the] goal is to strike out this “I” which keeps intruding into our conversation, to put a line through it, and so make a cross’ – there are, however, some nice turns of phrase and injections of humour: these include a wicked satire on extempore prayer, and an enjoyable joke about the approximation to the shape of resurrection bodies by certain holy men of the past. Much of what Fr Bertram has to say will be of interest and use to priest and layman alike. A well-chosen bibliography directs the reader to a comprehensive selection of spiritual classics. The tone of this book fits well with current trends in Catholic spirituality. While it would benefit from a tighter focus upon either spirituality or a more scholarly theology, nevertheless Jesus, Teach Us to Pray is well meant, and deserves to be well received.
AFFIRMING THE APOSTLES’ CREED
Crossway Books, 156pp, pbk 9781433502101, $9.99
If the million-word-long Bible is life’s large-scale map the hundred-word Apostles’ Creed is the road map. Bible scholar Jim Packer offers an enthusiastic commentary on this road map described as the oldest, most beautiful, succinct summary of Christian beliefs.
This North American paperback is excerpted from a larger work. It is addressed particularly to Evangelical Christians to encourage an expansion on their ABC approach to evangelism (All have sinned…Believe on the Lord…Confess Jesus Christ). Jim Packer sees such ignorance of Christianity even in America that he has been impelled to popularise the basic symbol of Christian faith as an instrument of evangelism for fear the ABC approach truncates the message.
18 rather than 12 articles are addressed, giving scope for Packer to draw out the presentation of salvation through a particular stress on divine omnipotence, human free will and disobedience. The hope of Christ’s return is also emphasised. This is described as the ‘Cinderella of the Creed’ as once the Holy Spirit (Ghost) was.
The section on the holy catholic church cites a stronger divergence among Christians than many would admit. It affirms God’s infallible speaking through the Bible rather than through the institutional church. There are strong warnings against forms of idolatry as well as so-called spiritist phenomena.
The book ends on a rich note of affirmation echoing Bunyan’s Mr. Standfast. Jim Packer sees his joy in God and people as an anticipation of the world to come. He says his reach exceeds his grasp and affirms that in heaven no felt needs or longings will go unsatisfied.
This small book is as its title says an affirmation of the Apostles’ Creed. There is little argument with basic objections to Christian belief. Questions for thought and discussion after each short section help the reader respond along ABC lines to the person of Jesus Christ. The short sections make for an easily digestible read.
The reluctant missionary Peter Burrows
Grace wing, 164pp, pbk 978 0 85244 652 2, £7.99
Jonah with its four short chapters should not be considered as a minor prophet, so much as a jewel of world literature: a short but beautifully constructed tale, teasing us with the problem of God’s love. His justice is clear: his love and mercy can be deeply troubling to mere mortals.
Fr Burrows is a RC priest and Old Testament scholar and has a real feel for this story. He unfolds the deeper meanings of the narrative as he moves through it verse by verse; he respects both Jonah and the reader, and allows us to struggle with some of the paradoxes of a just and loving God, whose mercy and forgiveness seem to undermine his own word, of justice and judgement.
Burrows knowledge of the Old Testament is lightly worn, and a real aid to further understanding.
Taken that most commentaries on Jonah are metaphorically as well as literally thin, this is a lively engagement with a wonderful text, trustworthy and stimulating. Worth using for private study.
THE NEW TESTAMENT
1526 Edition facsimile Translated by Tyndale
British Library, 380pp, hbk 978 0 7123 5028 0, £30
Harried from England, hounded out of Cologne, William Tyndale eventually published the first edition of his English translation from the printing press of Peter Schoeffer in Worms. At least three thousand copies (and perhaps twice that number) were shipped to England, hidden in bales of cloth. Only three copies survive.
This is an actual-size facsimile of the best preserved of these. A beautiful pocket-size New Testament, with solid black type, coloured drop capitals, and even small pictures at the beginning of some of the books – a lovely one of Mary surrounded by the Apostles at Pentecost at the beginning of Acts. This is the nearest thing you will get to one of the great published artefacts of English civilization, one of the origins of our Reformation freedoms. The bastard gothic type takes a little getting used to, but is by no means as difficult to read as it first appears.
Without wishing to denigrate the extraordinary achievement of Wyclif and his followers, whose translation of the Latin Vulgate circulated from the 1380s (and is now the most extant English text in manuscript form), this is the revolutionary and historic translation. Based on Erasmus’ edition of the Greek, this is the word of God brought directly and without intermediary to ‘the boy that driveth the plough’.
It is one of the abiding shames of the English (and a black stain on the reputation of St Thomas More) this persecution of the early Bible translators, and of Tyndale in particular. This father of English letters was finally captured, after betrayal to government agents, in 1535, by which time some 30,000 copies of his second edition of the New Testament were in circulation back home. He was strangled and burned outside Brussels on 6 October 1536 – a martyr’s blood the price of our English Bible.
There are better study editions, of course, but the vividness of this facsimile should not be overlooked. No sixth form library should be without a copy – let young people experience a hands-on, interactive exhibit of this jewel of our heritage. My only regret was the lack of any reference, in the otherwise excellent introduction, of the handwritten marginalia. Some sense of the person who read this copy of the Scriptures, and their frequent notes and cross-referencing, would have been appreciated.
THE COMPLETE PEANUTS
THE COMPLETE PEANUTS
Charles M. Schulz
Canongate, £15 per volume
For fifty glorious years Charles Schulz drew a strip cartoon that gave inordinate pleasure and received huge reclame. His cartoons, Peanuts, were as keenly awaited and evoked the same wry smile as did Osbert Lancaster’s pocket cartoons and as those of Matt currently evoke in the Daily Telegraph. The strip began, after a few false starts, in 1950. These books chronicle a period that is not the nascent years of his cast of characters but they illustrate the themes, attitudes and personalities that would become so familiar and so popular for the next half century. The style is already set. There is a honing of skills and content, the paring down that reveals the work of a true artist, that was to be sustained at a consistently engaging standard for so long. What we can look forward to is the complete and utter Peanuts over the next years.
In such a long-running and syndicated series, in what became a highly profitable and diverse franchise, it would have been fairly standard practice for some of the drawings to be executed by apprentices (School of Schulz, you might say), but, amazingly, he drew every line, every frame, wrote every word himself: a stunning achievement. The commercial offshoots were handled by a small staff, but the drawings from genesis to execution were his and his alone. His obituary in the New York Times said that ‘He would start doodling until something funny happened. He never took suggestions from anyone.’ However, his mind was stocked with incident, anecdote and quotations, conversations and incidents in family life and in the newspapers, all of which were pressed into service or drawn upon for inspiration.
The very first comic strip set the tone for the next fifty years. On 2 October 1950, the first Peanuts strip was published. He drew two children sitting on a pavement idling away part of the day. Another character approached and was greeted with: ‘Well, here comes oF Charlie Brown… Good ol’ Charlie Brown…Yes, sir, good ol’ Charlie Brown.’ And, as Charlie Brown passed, ‘How I hate him.’ And in that brief moment was encapsulated the mood he was to sustain for fifty years: amiability undercut with a razor cut. That downbeat mood, that morose humour which so accurately caught an essential of human nature, was not to every taste, and Charles Schulz once said that he was often asked why the stories he narrated could not be happier, more sweet than bitter. Why was it that Charlie Brown, such a sympathetic character, was always losing, always thwarted, always disappointed? He carried a football around with him for fifty years but never kicked it, never let fly with a lightning splurge of passion or energy. It remained true that for the characters in Peanuts, life was a fifty-year losing streak. With a degree of welcome recognition, predictability and repetition (so like real life) games were lost, opportunities were not grasped, love went forlorn and unrequited, achievements were modest and failure was a more familiar companion than academic or social success.
There is a small cast of permanent characters, and never an adult in sight or view. The underdog here is Charlie Brown himself. Always losing, with gentle and kindly resignation, never winning, never kicking his football, never winning at baseball, never winning his heart’s love, forever anxious and perplexed, he is a sort of bewildered every-man, thwarted and downcast but stoical and polite, friendly and dogged. We admire him because he ‘will never give up his quest to triumph over adversity’ Charlie Brown’s nemesis is the magnificently termagant Lucy Van Pelt. What a creation. She is the personification of the bossy and the self-absorbed, perpetually intrusive and self-serving, her motives often malign. She dispenses her advice left, right and centre, and for the privilege of being lectured, scolded and upbraided, Charlie Brown has to pay. Hers is a mad logic. She is keen on Shroeder but he is hooked on Beethoven. He is as deaf as his hero when she shouts and screams and yells, which she does often.
Lucy oppresses her brother, Linus, who clutches his security blanket and sucks his thumb in defence against his bullying sister and the attentions of Sally, Charlie Brown’s sister. He views the world with a sagacity and an epigrammatic eloquence; he believes in the Great Pumpkin with that intellectual certainty only given those who suck their thumbs and cling tenaciously to the security blanket of life.
A personality beyond his mere size, Woodstock is the little bird who complements the beagle, the magnificent Snoopy. Woodstock has secretarial skills, he can type and can take shorthand. He is companion for Snoopy and co-conspirator, or brother-in-arms in Snoopy’s bold flights of fancy. To see the pair seated atop a kennel in goggles and airman’s helmet is to know that the skies are safe from the invader. Woodstock has an exclamatory eloquence and although he does not otherwise speak, we know what he is saying.
World War flying ace, the Snoopy Baron, is only one of the beagle’s assumptions. He is the Walter Mitty of the strip, the supreme fantasist and fabulist. He dreams of grandeur and adventure, deeds of derring-do. He is a fearless hero, undaunted and courageous to a fault until it comes to the cat next door. In his silence he observes the world and his human companions with ill-concealed pity at their folly and their mediocre ambitions.
And all these characters come into vivid relief and action by a few strokes of a pen or a brush. It is a constant source of amazement how so much that is true and real about the human condition can be caught in what can seem crude and basic drawings. It is the art that conceals art.
David Michaelis has written a biography of Charles Schulz (Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, HarperCollins £11.99) in which he argues that the strip cartoon can be read as Schulz’s life and there are many congruities. Apart from service in Europe in the Second World War, Schulz lived a quiet and outwardly uneventful life. But he turned the incidents of his life, his wife and children, their relationships, pains and domestic dramas into a wider commentary on life as it is lived. He rarely took a holiday, worked every day, drew every cartoon until the day when he was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Then he retired. But the cartoons went on as he had a stock built up yet to be published. The stock ran out on 13 February 2000, when the last one was published. The same issue of the newspaper carried the announcement of his death the evening before.