Lovers Throughout the Centuries

“My main inspiration for this film, which isn’t referred to anywhere, is Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Adam and Eve. I’m a big Mark Twain fan, but that’s maybe my favorite book of his. ”

Jim Jarmusch

 
 

 
 

Only Lovers Left Alive is a 2013 British-German vampire film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, and starring Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, and Jeffrey Wright.

Married for centuries and now living half a world apart, two vampires wake as the sun goes down. The only solace he finds from miserable modernity is Eve. Lovers throughout the centuries, the two would be soul mates – if only they had souls. Adam sits holding a lute, in his cluttered Detroit Victorian , as Eve wakes up in her bedroom in Tangier, surrounded by books. Acting like addicts, blood for them is a drug that provides a wave of euphoria as well as sustenance. They are dependent on local suppliers of the “good stuff”, fearing contamination from blood poisoned by the degradation of the environment. Adam visits a local blood bank in the dead of night, masquerading as “Dr. Faust”, paying “Dr. Watson” for his coveted O negative, while Eve relies on their old friend Christopher Marlowe, who faked his death in 1593 and lives under the protection of a local man.

After influencing the careers of countless famous musicians and scientists, Adam has become withdrawn and suicidal. His desire to connect through his music is at odds with the danger of recognition as well as his contempt for the corrupt and foolish humans he refers to as “zombies”. He spends his days recording his compositions on outdated studio equipment and lamenting the state of the modern world whilst collecting vintage instruments. He pays Ian, a naive human “rock and roll kid”, to procure vintage guitars and other assorted curiosities, including a custom-made bullet with a brass casing and a wooden tip. Having acquired substantial scientific knowledge over the years, the vampire has managed to build contraptions to power both his home and vintage sports car with technology originally pioneered by Nikola Tesla.

The film is one of several Jarmusch productions, alongside films such as Night on Earth, in which the action mainly occurs at night-time. Swinton stated after the film’s release: “Jim is pretty much nocturnal, so the nightscape is pretty much his palette. There’s something about things glowing in the darkness that feels to me really Jim Jarmusch. He’s a rock star.”

The film’s greatest triumph is how it manages to avoid and subvert the clichés surroundings vampire folklore. The v-word is never mentioned, and in a playful twist, it is the humans who are derisively referred to by Adam and Eve as “the zombies”. The two of them are cultural snobs, looking down upon humans as mindless beings who go about their days without a thought to the finer things in life.

It’s a personal take on how Jarmusch himself must feel. A film-maker who has built his hipster reputation as an independent New York artist working outside the mainstream, those like him who devote their time to the counter-culture will always feel isolated from the rest of the world. In Adam and Eve’s tender relationship he has made his warmest film yet, a movie with the message that the price of genius doesn’t have to be loneliness if you find a loving kindred spirit.

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The Private Lives of Adam and Eve

 
 

Eve’s Diary is a comic short story by Mark Twain. It was first published in the 1905 Christmas issue of the magazine Harper’s Bazaar, and in book format in June 1906 by Harper and Brothers publishing house. It is written in the style of a diary kept by the first woman in the biblical creation story, Eve, and is claimed to be “translated from the original MS.” The book may have been written as a posthumous love-letter to Mark Twain’s wife Olivia Langdon Clemens, or Livy, who died in June 1904, just before the story was written. Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “Eve’s Diary is finished — I’ve been waiting for her to speak, but she doesn’t say anything more.” The story ends with Adam’s speaking at Eve’s grave, “Wherever she was, there was Eden.”

 
 

Eve’s Diary, page 3

 
 

The “plot” of this novel is the first-person account of Eve (modeled after his wife Livy) from her creation up to her burial by, her mate, Adam (based on Twain himself), including meeting and getting to know Adam, and exploring the world around her, Eden. The story then jumps 40 years into the future after the Fall and expulsion from Eden. It is one of a series of books Twain wrote concerning the story of Adam and Eve, including Extracts from Adam’s Diary, That Day In Eden, Eve Speaks, Adam’s Soliloquy, and the Autobiography of Eve. Eve’s Diary has a lighter tone than the others in the series, as Eve has a strong appreciation for beauty and love.

 
 

 
 

The book version of the story was published with 55 illustrations by Lester Ralph, on each left hand page. The illustrations depicted Eve and Adam in their natural settings. The depiction of an unclothed woman was considered pornographic when the book was first released in the United States, and created a controversy around the book. One library in Charlton, Massachusetts banned the book for the depictions of Eve in “summer costume.”

Mark Twain wrote Adam’s Diary at the Villa Viviani, near Florence, Italy, where the family had moved in late September 1892, after a summer at Bad Nauheim, Germany. There he wrote several works, including Those Extraordinary Twins which would later be rewritten as The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson. He began work on Adam’s Diary during December of 1892 as early in January 1893 he noted that both Pudd’nhead Wilson and Adam’s Diary had gone to the typist.

When the copy of Adam’s Diary was finished, Mark Twain sent it to Webster and Company manager Fred Hall on 13 March 1893, along with another recently completed story, Is He Living or Is He Dead?, suggesting that Hall try to place them with the Cosmopolitan or Century magazine. The diary he declared “a gem, if I do say it myself that shouldn’t”. Although turned down by both Cosmopolitan and Century, the diary finally found a place in The Niagara Book, a volume that Irving S. Underhill, the son of an old friend from Buffalo, was preparing in the hope of promoting Niagara Falls as a tourist attraction.

While the revisions of Adam’s Diary were made to include references to Niagara Falls, Mark Twain apparently never really liked the Niagara Falls portions of the story. In August 1895, near the beginning of his world lecture tour, he revised a copy of the Niagara Book piece, marking out the Niagara Falls passages and localized allusions and making a few additional changes.

He made further revisions as he was writing Eve’s Diary in order to publish both diaries as companion pieces. On 16 July he wrote to his daughter Clara: “This morning I gutted old Adam’s Diary & removed every blemish from it.” “Matters did not allow the publication until 1931, when Harper’s [sic] finally published them together as The Private Lives of Adam and Eve.”

Twain had long been fascinated with the story of our First Parents. Examples of literary works involving Adam include: Chapter 53 of The Innocents Abroad, where the narrator revels in “tumultuous emotions” at finding himself beside Adam’s tomb, and bewails that fact that neither of them had had the opportunity to know the other. And in 1877 Adam’s Expulsion, though not published until [The Bible According to Mark Twain], marked his first attempt to present Adam as an actual character and to delve into his motivations and reactions. Adam is based on Twain himself.

Many of Twain’s joking references to Adam are among his most outrageous remarks. When he thinks of a plight of his own, like unjust copyright laws, he is reminded of Adam: “Adam was the author of sin, and I wish he had taken out an international copyright on it. For international copyright could have won, then. But when there came to be two men, it was too late, because there was one to oppose it, and experience shows that that fellow would have had the most influence.”

Mark Twain wrote Eve’s Diary in Dublin, New Hampshire, in July 1905, following a visit from Harper editor Frederick Duneka, who suggested he write the story for the magazine’s Christmas issue. From the beginning he thought of the story as a companion piece to Adam’s Diary, with Eve using Adam’s record as her “unwitting and unconscious” text. That desire led to the revision of Adam’s Diary, as described earlier. Although Twain wanted both pieces to appear in Harper’s, Duneka rejected the idea, saying that they would be issued together in a single volume as soon as “matters” allowed doing the book properly, and that Eve’s Diary itself would go into the Christmas magazine.

They Shall Be One Flesh

The Genealogy of Style

21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.

22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from a man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Genesis, Chapter 2

The Bible


“Saying whatever you want it to say. It is just us expressing ourselves like a child does, you know, however he feels like then…

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Humanistic Paeans for the People

When it comes to exposing the truth, both William Blake and John Lennon have done it successfully. The Human Abstract and Imagine are both memorable pieces that have encouraged people to develop new perspectives of society. From the start of each piece, the writer sparks the reader’s imagination of a world without the barbaric standards set by organized religions. Lennon recognized that a mutual fear of other countries’ motives, along with contrasting religious ideals in the world, created unnecessary war. It is almost as if Lennon was amending Blake on his warnings of the deadly wars that would results from society being placed under a heavy cloud of religion. The rhythm and instrumental background of John Lennon’s Imagine successfully reflects the mood of William Blake’s The Human Abstract. A slow, constantly flowing rhythm, such as the piano in Imagine fits perfectly into the background of Blake’s poem. The statement that both of these writers made, although cautiously unaccepted at first, live on forever and will be applicable to generations to come.

 
 

The poem was originally drafted in Blake’s notebook. The illustration shows a gowned old man with a long beard who kneels with his legs outspread. He raises his arms to grip the ropes as if he tries to free himself. There is a tree trunk with a broad base on the right and the edge of another on the left. The colour of the sky suggests sunrise or sunset. A muddy river runs along the lower edge of the design in front of the man. The picture portrays the supreme God of Blake’s mythology and the creator the material world, whom Blake named “Urizen” (probably from your reason), struggling with his own nets of religion, under the Tree of Mystery, which symbolically “represents the resulting growth of religion and the priesthood (the Catterpillar and the Fly), feeding on its leaves”.

 
 

William Blake was a mystic. His poetry, illustrations, and songs were embedded with obscurity to evoke bizarre and unique thoughts within the reader. His poems and paintings were regarded as two flames that introduced new, intellectual concepts to society. However, the population saw and still sees his work as impure, though not many people have had the motivation to move past that barrier and dig deeper for Blake’s true intentions. Blake was often categorized as anti-Christian, but he felt that this was exaggerated.Although his ideas were different than his peers, he felt that no one’s thoughts should be entirely rejected.

In William Blake’s book titled Songs of Experience, released in 1794, his poem named The Human Abstract depicts the false virtues that the Church casts upon society, along with the detrimental effect it presents in the human brain. It describes how religious figures use a cruel combination of pity, mercy, fear,and war to bind everyone in society to only one form of good. The symbols and mythological figures behind the stanzas give trustworthiness to an idea that was vastly rejected in Blake’s time. The poem and the illustration of Urizen, chained to the earth, leave the reader with a realization of the true, barbaric intentions of the Church and a shared desire with Blake to revolt against them.

John Lennon’s popularity with the Beatles allowed him to reach a broad audience with his solo songs. Just like William Blake, he wanted to present a unique message to the reader that could evoke a new manner of thinking and behavior in society. Both Blake and Lennon saw the destruction that was being created by the wars for religious dominance and desired a way to awaken people’s perspectives through their writing. John Lennon had a deep interest in finding out the truth, which eventually developed into an anger toward the system, politicians, and hypocrisy of important figures in the world.

 
 

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John Lennon wrote Imagine to address his fellow citizens with a new, refreshing idea of a peaceful state of mind. When the song was written, there was a myriad of war, political battles, and religious controversy brewing in the United States with the decision to enter the Vietnam War. Lennon was one of the many protesters against the War, choosing to spend time only with his wife, Yoko Ono, in their apartment.

Several poems from Yoko Ono’s 1964 book Grapefruit inspired Lennon to write the lyrics for Imagine—in particular, one which Capitol Records reproduced on the back cover of the original Imagine LP titled Cloud Piece, reads: “Imagine the clouds dripping, dig a hole in your garden to put them in.” Lennon later said the composition “should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song. A lot of it—the lyric and the concept—came from Yoko, but in those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted her contribution, but it was right out of Grapefruit.” When asked about the song’s meaning during a December 1980 interview with David Sheff for Playboy magazine, Lennon told Sheff that Dick Gregory had given Ono and him a Christian prayer book, which helped inspire in Lennon what he described as:

The concept of positive prayer … If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion—not without religion but without this my God-is-bigger-than-your-God thing—then it can be true … the World Church called me once and asked, “Can we use the lyrics to Imagine and just change it to ‘Imagine one religion’?” That showed [me] they didn’t understand it at all. It would defeat the whole purpose of the song, the whole idea.

With the combined influence of “Cloud Piece” and the prayer book given to him by Gregory, Lennon wrote what author John Blaney described as “a humanistic paean for the people.”

 

Paen: from the Greek παιάν (also παιήων or παιών), “song of triumph, any solemn song or chant.”