Conversation with the Angel of Death about Art and Politics

Victor Grauer

Vincent Van Gogh: Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette

BB: [lights cigar]

VG: [lights cigar]

AoD: You know that's not good for you.

BB: [takes a long drag] "The doctor told me ‘Calmly smoke your cigars!
Sooner or later, with or without them, just around the corner, death awaits everyone." [from "Von seiner Sterblichkeit" in Die Gedichte von Bertolt Brecht in einem Band, Suhrkamp, 1997, p. 114.]

VG: [takes a short drag] I smoke very rarely. Only on special occasions, such as this.

BB: "The Great Method can best be grasped when you understand it as a doctrine about aggregates. It never takes things individually, but rather, sees them within a mass or aggregate of other things . . . " [from Brecht's Me-Ti, quoted in Frederic Jameson, Brecht and Method, 1998, p. 114]

VG: I suppose you're right. At bottom there are no "special occasions." All occasions are the same. Life is life, always and forever, always the same. Every moment just as worthless just as pointless as the next. If you like cigars, just smoke them. Why live your life in fear?

AoD: Memento Mori.

VG: How can I forget? But what a drag! [takes a long drag on his cigar]. When you die, that's it, all gone. You are no more. The cigar has been smoked.

BB: "One makes too much fuss over people. One is none. There's nothing whatsoever to be said of less than 200 people at once." [from Mann ist Mann]

AoD: "Now, on an immense terrace of Elsinore, which stretches from Basel to Colgne, that touches on the sands of Nieuport, the lowlands of the Somme, the chalky earth of Champagne, the granite earth of Alsace -- the European Hamlet looks at thousands of specters. But he is an intellectual Hamlet. He meditates on the life and death of truths." [from Paul Valery, "The Crisis of Spirit," 1919, as quoted in Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx, 1994, p. 5]

BB: "But mere catastrophe is a bad teacher. One learns hunger and thirst from it, but seldom hunger for truth and thirst for knowledge. No amount of illness will turn a sick man into a physician; neither the distant view nor close inspection makes an eye-witness into an expert." [from Forward to Antigone, as presented in John Willett, Brecht on Theatre, 1964, p. 209]

VG: So, if catastrophe is a bad teacher, it is then up to the artist to be a "good" teacher? You expect us then to lecture on the nature of what is good, like some professor? Sounds very boring to me.

BB: "The theater became an affair for philosophers, but only for such philosophers as wished not just to explain the world but to change it. So we had philosophy and we had instruction. And where was the amusement in all that? Were they sending us back to school? Teaching us to read and write? Were we supposed to pass exams, work for diplomas?" [from "Theater for Pleasure or Theater for Instruction," in Willet, op. cit., p. 72]

VG: Sounds like it, yes.

BB: "Well: All that can be said is that the contrast between learning and amusing oneself is not laid down by divine rule; it is not one that has always been and must continue to be. . . [The] pleasure of learning depends on all sorts of things; but none the less there is such a thing as pleasurable learning, cheerful and militant learning." [ibid., pp. 72-73]

VG: "Militant, eh?" Well, I suppose, if one wants to change the world . . .

Aol: "People would be ready to accept the return of Marx or the return to Marx on the condition that a silence is maintained about Marx's injunction not just to decipher but to act and to make the deciphering [interpretation] into a transformation that 'changes the world.' . . [N]ow that Marx is dead, and especially now that Marxism seems to be in rapid decomposition, some people seem to say, we are going to be able to concern ourselves with Marx without being bothered -- by the Marxists and, why not, Marx himself, that is, by a ghost that goes on speaking." [Derrida, Op. Cit., p. 32]

BB: "His words were a whisper/ For they came from a strangled throat, but/ The cold wind carried them everywhere/ To many freezing people." [from "TheTombstone of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution" in Bertolt Brecht Poems 1913-1956, ed. Willett & Manheim, 1979, p. 227]

VG: I like that! I feel it. "The cold wind" carrying the whisper of a dying man.

AoD: "[O]ur guiding thread this evening will be precisely the question of the ghost. How did Marx himself treat the ghost, the concept of the ghost, the specter or revenant? How did he determine it?" [Derrida, op. cit., p. 89]

VG: Well, how did Mondrian determine empty space?

Piet Mondrian: "Nature reveals forms in space . . . [yet] forms are part of space and . . . the space between them appears as form, a fact which evidences the unity of form and space . . . Actually all is space, form as well as what we see as empty space . . . form is limited space concrete only through its determination. Art has to determine space as well as form and to create the equivalence of these two factors . . ." [Piet Mondrian, Plastic Art and Pure Plastic Art, 1945, pp. 13 & 18]

BB: "'Nothing comes from nothing; not even the gods can deny it.

So constrained by fear our poor mortality, always;

So many things it sees appearing on earth or in heaven,

Moved by some basic cause that itself is unable to compass,

That it assumes some Power alone can be their creator.'"

[from Lucretius, De rerum natura, as quoted by Brecht in Brecht on Theater, op. cit., p. 117]

AoD: "This life . . . never fails to kneel to indifferent power, to that power of mortal indifference that is money." [Derrida, paraphrasing Marx, op. cit. pp. 44-45]

VG: Indifference. Nothingness. The power of the void.

TITUS LUCRETIUS CARUS: "There's place intangible, a void and room.

For were it not, things could in nowise move;

Since body's property to block and check

Would work on all and at all times the same.

Thus naught could evermore push forth and go,

Since naught elsewhere would yield a starting place." [ Lucretius, De rerum natura, translated by William Ellery Leonard, Everyman's Library, p. 14]

BB: "Physicists working on relativity make the qualities of space depend on the distribution of matter. I am incapable of reading sentences like these without thinking of something like 'social space.'" [from Bertolt Brecht:Journals 1934-1955, trans. Hugh Rorrison, ed. John Willett, 1993, p. 188]

AoD: "[I]t is not a taste for the void or for destruction that leads anyone to recognize the right of this necessity to 'empty out' increasingly and to deconstruct the philosophical responses that consist in totalizing, in filling the space of the question or in denying its possibility, in fleeing from the very thing it will have allowed one to glimpse." [Derrida, op. cit., p. 30]

BB: "Brilliant with stars, the night will shake them

While music plays, in gentle ease

And wind will fill their sails and take them

To other undiscovered seas." [from "Ballad of the Pirates", Poems, op. cit., p. 20]

Lucretius: "The winds infuriate lash our face and frame,

Unseen, and swamp huge ships and rend the clouds,

Or, eddying wildly down, bestrew the plains

With mighty trees, or scour the mountain tops

With forest-crackling blasts. Thus on they rave

With uproar shrill and ominous moan." [Lucretius, op. cit. p. 12]

BB: "And, at the last, a strange impression

While rigging screams and storm winds howl

Of voices hurtling to perdition." ["Ballad of the Pirates", op. cit., pp. 21-22]

AoD: "Violence of the law before the law and before meaning, violence that interrupts time, disarticulates it, dislodges it, displaces it out of its natural lodging: 'out of joint.' . . . In the incoercible differance the here-now unfurls." [Derrida, op. cit., p. 31]

BB: "I had been struck by the greater force of the actor's delivery when they used the almost unreadable 'stumbling' verses of the old Schlegel and Tieck Shakespeare translation rather than Rothe's smooth new one. How much better it expressed the tussle of thoughts in the great monologues! How much richer the structure of the verse! . . . As can be seen from the texts it was a matter not just of a formal 'kicking against the pricks' -- of a protest against the smoothness and harmony of conventional poetry -- but already of an attempt to show human dealings as contradictory, fiercely fought over, full of violence." [from "On Rhymeless Verse with Irregular Rhythms," in Brecht on Theater, op. cit., p. 464, 465]

AoD: "This barricade was furious . . . It was huge and living and, as from the back of an electric beast, there came from it a crackling of thunders. The spirit of revolution covered with its cloud that summit whereon growled this voice of the people which is like the voice of God; a strange majesty emanated from that titanic hodful of refuse. It was a garbage heap and it was Sinai. . . . [from Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, as quoted in Derrida, op. cit., p. 95]

VG: [picking up up a copy of the New York Times and reading] "Loosened by a week of monsoon rains, the huge garbage mountain here -- the symbol of the nation's poverty -- had collapsed and smothered hundreds of squatters who made their livings picking through it with metal hooks for scraps of refuse. . . 'The Promised Land' is a real mountain, 50 feet high and covering 74 acres, the main dump for 10,000 tons of garbage produced in Manila every day. . . . 'There's always smoke, there's always fire, even when it rains,' said Paz Calopez, who lives at the edge of the mountain. 'The garbage is always glowing, even at night, and you hear popping sounds. We think it's batteries exploding. It smells worse than a bathroom, especially when the bulldozers come through. Then you really smell the smoke. You cannot breathe. Your eyes water.' And as the new mountain grew, a whole economy developed around it, with middlemen buying and reselling the salvaged scraps and shanty shops springing up to sell soap and shoes and bicycle parts and school supplies and ice cream. 'It's raw capitalism working here,' Father Bernardo said. 'And it really generates money. Millions of pesos revolve through here every day.'

[NY Times, July 18, 2000]

BB: "Capitalism, with its anarchic system of production, only becomes aware of its own laws of motion in a crisis: as Marx said, it is the roof falling in on its head that gives it its first introduction to the laws of gravity." [from Brecht on Theater, op. cit., p. 209]

VG: [still reading] "Mrs. Ochondra said she could not stop worrying about her lost children. 'I know my sons miss me,' she said. 'They can't really sleep well at night unless they're beside me.' Looking back now, she said, her life seemed to be filled with premonitions of tragedy. She would wake at night and gaze at the faces of her children and smooth their pillows. 'At night during the summer, the mountain of garbage would just light up, and I would say to my husband: 'Look, it's like candles are burning,'' she said. ''It's like we are living in a cemetery.'" [NY Times, July 18, 2000]

AoD: "[F]rom all lips arose a strangely satisfied and terrible cry, funereal in meaning and triumphant in tone: 'Long live death!'" [from Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, as quoted in Derrida, op. cit., p. 96]

Chuang Tzu: "Men say there is no death -- to what avail? The body decomposes, and the mind goes with it. Is this not a great cause for sorrow? Can the world be so dull as not to see this? Or is it I alone who am dull, and others not so?" [Chuang Tzu, trans. Lin Yutang (Internet source)]

BB: "And I saw that nothing was ever completely dead, not even what had died. The dead stones breathe. They modify each other and cause modifications. Even the allegedly dead moon is in movement. It casts light -- however strange -- upon the earth and determines the trajectory of falling bodies and causes the ebb and flow of the sea waters." [from Becht's Me-Ti, quoted in Frederic Jameson, Brecht and Method, 1998, p. 170]

Lucretius: "Because the fastenings of primordial parts Are put together diversely and stuff Is everlasting, things abide the same Unhurt and sure, until some power comes on Strong to destroy the warp and woof of each: Nothing returns to naught; but all return At their collapse to primal forms of stuff." [Lucretius, op. cit.]

AoD: "The Thing is neither dead nor alive, it is dead and alive at the same time. It survives. At once cunning, inventive and machine-like, ingenious and unpredictable, this war machine is a theatrical machine, a mekhane." [Derrida, op. cit., p. 153]

BB: "Yet in a certain sense I saw it is dead after all; for when one brings together everything in which it can be said to live, that is either too little or is irrelevant, and thus on the whole it is to be called dead. For if we did not do so, if we did not call the moon dead, we would lose a specific characterization, namely the word 'dead' and the possibility thereby to name something which we in fact see." [from Brecht's Me-Ti, quoted in Frederic Jameson, Brecht and Method, 1998, p. 170]

AoD: "One must assume the inheritance of Marxism, assume its most 'living' part, which is to say paradoxically, that which continues to put back on the drawing board the question of life, spirit or the spectral, of life-death beyond the opposition between life and death." [Derrida, p. 54]

BB: "But since as we have also seen it it is also not dead, we are therefore obliged to think both characterizations about it and to treat it as a dead 'not-dead' thing, which is yet more on the dead side, and in a certain respect a thing which has died, indeed in this respect a thing which has completely and irrevocably died, yet not in every respect." [from Brecht's Me-Ti, quoted in Frederic Jameson, Brecht and Method, 1998, p. 171]

AoD: "If we have been insisting so much since the beginning on the logic of the ghost, it is because it points toward a thinking of the event that necessarily exceeds a binary or dialectical logic, the logic that distinguishes or opposes effectivity or actuality . . . and ideality . . . This logic of effectivity or actuality seems to be of limited pertinence. The limit, to be sure, is not new . . . But it seems to be demonstrated today better than ever by the fantastic, ghostly, 'synthetic,' 'prosthetic,' virtual happenings in the scientific domain." [Derrida, p. 63]

VG: Yes, this has interested me for a long time. The notion of the field in modern physics, especially the notion of the Quantum field, how a particle can be regarded as itself a field, how a field can be regarded as more "real" than any particular thing contained within it.

Mondrian: "Hence this uninhibited power, this clear new beauty which shows the universal as equivalent with the individual. How deplorable that such timeworn, conventional language must serve to express the new beauty: to describe the means and the goal of purely abstract art, we are compelled to use the same terms that we use for naturalistic art -- but with what a difference in their meaning! When we speak of 'harmony,' we do not mean anything like traditional harmony. . . The words 'equilibrium,' 'pure plastic,' 'abstract,' 'universal,' 'individual,' etc., can be similarly misunderstood . . . The meaning of words has become so blurred by past usage that 'abstract' is identified with 'vague' and 'unreal,' and 'inwardness' with a sort of traditional beatitude. Thus, most people do not understand that the 'spiritual' is better expressed by some ordinary dance music than in all the psalms put together." [from Piet Mondrian, "Purely Abstract Art," in The New Art the New Life -- the Collected Writings of Mondrian, ed. Holtzman & James, 1993, p. 200]

BB: "An episode in an American feature film, when the dancer Astaire tap-danced to the sounds of a machine-room, showed the astonishingly close relationship between the new noises and the percussive rhythms of jazz. Jazz signified a broad flow of popular musical elements into modern music, whatever our commercialized world may have made of it since. Its connection with the freeing of the Negroes is well known." [from "On Rhymeless Verse with Irregular Rhythms," op. cit., p. 119]

Mondrian: "Jazz above all creates the bar's open rhythm. It annihilates. Everything that opens has an annihilating action. This frees rhythm from form and from so much that is form without ever being recognized as such. Thus a haven is created for those who would be free of form." [Mondrian, "Jazz and Neo-Plastic" in op. cit., p. 221]

AoD: "I have to - and that's an unconditional injunction - I have to welcome the Other whoever he or she is unconditionally, without asking for a document, a name, a context, or a passport. That is the very first opening of my relation to the Other: to open my space, my home - my house, my language, my culture, my nation, my state, and myself. I don't have to open it, because it is open, it is open before I make a decision about it: then I have to keep it open or try to keep it open unconditionally." [Derrida, from interview with Geoffry Bennington]

Mondrian: Everything in the bar moves and at the same time is at rest. Continuous action holds passion in check. The bottles and glasses on the shelves stand still, yet they move in color and sound and light. Are they less beautiful than candles on the altar? . . . In the bar the bias to individuality ceases; there are only men and women. All dance well: all are part of one rhythm. . . . But even this . . . rhythm remains 'natural' if it is not opened by form-annihilating relationships, which jazz rhythm is already attaining." [Mondrian, "Jazz and Neo-Plastic" in op. cit., p. 221]

AoD: "Democracy means, minimally, equality -- and here you see why friendship is an important key, because in friendship, even in classical friendship, what is involved is reciprocity, equality, symmetry, and so on and so forth. There is no democracy except as equality among everyone . . . but an equality which can be calculated, countable: you count the number of units, of voters, of voices, of citizens. On the other hand, you have to reconcile this demand for equality with the demand for singularity, with respect for the Other as singular, and that is an aporia. How can we, at the same time, take into account the equality of everyone, justice and equity, and nevertheless take into account and respect the heterogeneous singularity of everyone?" [Derrida, from Interview with Goeffry Bennington]

Mondrian: "Art demonstrates that the true realization of real life requires individual liberty. The new life will attain this liberty materially and spiritually. Although joined to others by mutual equivalent relationships, the individual will be no less free, because of the equivalence of these relationships. The new art gives independent existence to line and color in that they are neither oppressed nor deformed by particular form, but establish their own limitations appropriate to their nature. Likewise, in future life society will allow each individual an independent existence consistent with his own character." [Mondrian, "The New Art the New Life", p. 255]

VG: But is it wise to use a certain approach to art as a model for social structure? Isn't there a danger involved in such social engineering? Clearly human beings do not have the same degree of "plasticity" as the elements that go into a painting or sculpture.

Mondrian: "The whole progress of civilization . . . is moving unconsciously and often falsely toward the new life. By clinging to the spirit of the past and by concentrating on varied forms, we have not yet become conscious that in this way we inevitably create unjust relationships. Disequilibrium results. But at the same time we can rejoice to see that even in the field of politics there is sincere concentration on mutual relationships that can destroy harmful limiting forms and their pernicious consequences. . . This truth, which art demonstrates plastically and therefore visibly, is of great importance in order to understand the complex course of civilization's progress, in order to accept evil as well as good in life and not become lost in pessimistic criticism of the life that causes so much suffering." [Mondrian, "The New Art the New Life" in op. cit., p. 275]

[Suddenly a woman appears. It is Elisabeth Hauptmann, Brecht's long-time secretary, assistant and collaborator.]

Hauptmann: What pretentious nonsense!

[She approaches BB, sits on his lap, looks him in the eye, chucks him under the chin, and sings:]

Hauptmann: O show us the way to the next little girl

O don't ask why O don't ask why

For if we don't have the next little girl

I tell you, I tell you, I tell you we must die!

O mooooon of Alabama

We now must say goodbye.

We've lost our dear old Mama

And must have whiskey or you know why.

Why here is no woman's voice? Only dead (and dying) white males. Why that is, pray tell?

VG: Well, uh, come to think of it . . . there IS a woman whose ideas might well be extremely useful here. I was gonna bring her up, really I was.

Hauptmann: Sure you were. [Opening book. Reading:] "Plato's Timeus speaks of a chora, receptacle, unnameable, improbable, hybrid, anterior to naming, to the One, to the father, and consequently, maternally connoted to such an extent that it merits ‘not even the rank of syllable.'" [Julia Kristeva, "From One Identity to An Other", in Desire in Language, Columbia Univ. Press, 1980, p. 133.] "The mother's body is . . . what mediates the symbolic law organizing social relations and becomes the ordering principle of the semiotic chora, which is on the path of destruction, aggressivity and death." [Julia Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language, tr. Margaret Waller, Columbia Univ. Press, 1984, p. 28.] "The chora, as rupture and articulations (rhythm), precedes evidence, verisimilitude, spatiality, and temporality. Our discourse — all discourse — moves with and against the chora in the sense that it simultaneously depends upon and refuses it. Although the chora can be designated and regulated, it can never be definitively posited: as a result, one can situate the chora and, if necessary, lend it a topology, but one can never give it axiomatic form. . . The theory of the subject proposed by the theory of the unconscious will allow us to read in this rhythmic space, which has no thesis and no position, the process by which signifiance is constituted. Plato himself leads us to such a process when he calls this receptacle or chora nourishing and maternal, not yet unified in an ordered whole because deity is absent from it." [Ibid., p. 26.]

Mondrian: "It is only after a long culture that within the plastic expression of the limiting form, one perceives another plastic expression closely allied with it, but, at the same time, opposed to it. Art today...has succeeded in establishing this plastic expression: it is the clear realization of liberated and universal rhythm distorted and hidden in the individual rhythm of the limiting form." ["Pure Plastic Art" (1942), in Plastic Art ..., op. cit. p. 31.]

Hauptmann: [still reading] "Art transforms language into rhythms and transforms ‘aberrations' into stylistic figures. Art is the ‘incestuous' side of language, as reflected in its dependence on the mother's body and its relationship to the pre-oedipal stage. As Mallarmé put it, art introduces ‘music into literature.' This phenomenon is particularly noticeable in works of modern art created since the turn of the [Twentieth] century, which participate in a process that closely resembles schizophrenization. Nevertheless, such works succeed where the schizophrenic fails, because they attempt to free themselves from logical constraints and the law, returning instead to the maternal body and remaining in the realm of rhythms and glossolalia by proposing, inventing, and reformulating a new discourse and a new universe. [Julia Kristeva Interviews, ed. R. M. Guberman, Columbia Univ. Press, 1996, pp. 109-110.]

BB: "Possible criterion for a work of art: does it enrich the individuals capacity for experience? . . . It may enrich the capacity for expression, which is not the same as the capacity for experience but more like a capacity for communicating. . . . Poetry is never mere expression. Its reception is an operation of the same order as, say, seeing and hearing, i.e. something much more active. Writing poetry must be viewed as a human activity, a social function of a wholly contradictory and alterable kind, conditioned by history and in turn conditioning it. [Bertolt Brecht, Journals 1934-1955, ed. John Willett, Routledge, 1996, P. 91.]

Hauptmann: "In and by the state and religion, capitalism demands and consolidates the paranoid moment of the subject: a unity foreclosing the other and putting itself in the place of the other. . . . In such a context, . . . it falls upon [us] to exemplify the materialist overcoming of the process of negativity which dissolves subjective unity. Through a specific practice affecting the mechanisms of language itself . . . or affecting mythical or religious systems of representation . . ., [we present] society — even if only in its margins — with a sujet en procès [which is to say: a subject simultaneously in process and on trial], attacking all the stases of the unitary subject. [We thus attack] closed ideological systems, but also the structures of social domination (the state), [in] a revolution which, while remaining distinct and up until now ignored by socialist and communist revolutions, is not its utopian or anarchistic moment, but in fact points to the revolution's own blindness to the very movement which carries it. . . . What is at stake here is the survival of the social function of ‘art,' but also, beyond this cultural preoccupation, of the maintenance in modern society of signifying practices potentially appealing to mass audiences, opening the closure of the representamen and of the unitary subject, and subsequently opening up the closure of ideologies. . . . [Bourgeois ideology] can perfectly well accept experimental subjectivism but can hardly or not at all accept the critique of its own base through this experience. To join the textual mechanism of heterogeneous contradiction to a revolutionary critique of the social order is precisely what is intolerable for the dominant ideology and for the various defense mechanisms of liberalism and oppresion." [from Julia Kristeva, "The Subject in Process," in The Tel Quel Reader, ed. Patrick ffrench and Roland-Francois Lack, Routledge, 1998, pp. 136-137, 171.]

BB: "And because a man is human
He'll want to eat and thanks a lot
But talk can't take the place of meat
Or fill an empty pot.
So left, two three!
So left, two three!
Comrade, there's a place for you.
Take your stand in the worker's united front
For you are a worker too."
[Bertolt Brecht, Poems 1913-1956, p. 229.]

Hauptmann: [continuing to read] "I think that the artist . . . is never more engagé than in his work. To ask an artist to s'engager in order to justify himself is an imposture into which many artists fall . . . : the work presupposes a lot of solitude and a lot of risks. You need to justify yourself; you need to identify yourself. But you have to know that, and if you know that, you can carry out engagement with humor; when you can, you take your distance." [Julia Kristeva Interviews, ed. R. M. Guberman, Columbia Univ. Press, 1996, p. 17.]

BB: "And because a man is human,
He won't care for a kick in the face.
He doesn't want slaves under him
Or above him a ruling class.
So left, two three!
So left, two three!
Comrade, there's a place for you.
Take your stand in the worker's united front
For you are a worker too.

Hauptmann: "This is not to say that I am for art for art's sake. Art for art's sake is the reverse of l'art engagé. It presumes that there is such a thing as pure form, and contents that would be abject. I think, on the contrary, that contents are formal and forms are contents. Again, if you understand modern art as an experience in psychosis, to work with forms is the most radical way to seize the moments of crisis." [Ibid., p. 17.]

BB: "And because a worker's a worker
No one else will bring him liberty.
It's nobody's work but the worker's own
To set the worker free.
So left, two three!
So left, two three!
Comrade, there's a place for you.
Take your stand in the worker's united front
For you are a worker too."

AoD: Well, you know, when all is said and done, Death too is just another worker. [Takes book and reads:] "I'm struggling with a canvas I started a few days before my illness -- a reaper. The study is all yellow, extremely thickly painted, but the subject was beautiful and simple. For I see in this reaper -- a vague figure toiling away for all he's worth in the midst of the heat to finish his task -- I see in him the image of death, in the sense that humanity might be the wheat he is reaping. So it is, if you like, the opposite of the sower which I tried to do before. But there's no sadness in this death, this one takes place in broad daylight with a sun flooding everything with light of pure gold." Vincent Van Gogh, from letter to Theo Van Gogh, Saint-Rémy 5 or 6 September 1889.