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The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Selections Annotated and Explained by Malaspina Great Books Web Editor Russell McNeil PhD
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius:
Selections Annotated and Explained

Russell McNeil, PhD
Editor, Malaspina Great Books

In 1862 the English literary critic and poet Matthew Arnold described Marcus Aurelius as "the most beautiful figure in history." The Stoicism of Aurelius is grounded in rationality and rests solidly on an ethical approach rooted in nature. Stoicism promises real happiness and joy in this life and a serenity that can never be soured by personal misfortune. This philosophy has universal appeal with practical implications on problems ranging from climate change and terrorism to the personal management of sickness, aging, depression and addiction. I truly believe that the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius has much to offer us now...(Click on book cover for more)

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Name:Jelly Roll Morton
Birth Year:1885
Death Year:1941
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Biography, Lectures, and Research Links: Malaspina Great Books - Jelly Roll (Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe) Morton (1885-1941) Biography

Blog Jelly Roll Morton

His business card claimed he was "the inventor of Jazz". Although slightly exaggerated, his claim is somewhat true. He was one of the first important composers and recording stars in Jazz. Eileen Southern in The Music of Black Americans writes, "Jelly Roll Morton is regarded as the first true Jazz composer. He was the first to write down his Jazz arangements in musical notation, and he was the originator of a large number of the musical compositions that became staples in the Jazz repertory."

The following passage is from The Story of English by McCrum, MacNeil and Cran. New, revised edition. London: Faber & Faber; BBC books, 1992. From page 237:

In the African language Mandingo, "jeli" is a minstrel who gains popularity with women through skill with words and music. In the English creole of the Caribbean, "jelly" refers to the meat of the coconut when it is still at a white, viscous stage, and in a form closely resembling semen. In English, "jelly" and "jelly roll" are both items of food. On the street, jelly roll had many associated meanings, from the respectable 'lover, or spouse', to the Harlem slang of the 1930s, 'a term for the vagina'.

To cite another source: chapter 4 of Blues Fell This Morning: Meaning in the Blues is entitled "I'm a rooster, baby" and deals with sexual metaphor and euphemism in the blues. The book is by Paul Oliver. Revised 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, 1990 (originally published in 1960).

An exhaustive study of black sexual symbols is long overdue, indicative as they are of modes of thought and reactions to popularly held stereotypes. Among domestic metaphors culinary themes are especially common, which a brief examination of one stream of associations may illustrate. Arising simply from the motions of sexual intercourse the term 'jelly roll' is a familiar one which has been in use for more than half a century. In black song it occurs frequently, as in a recording by Peg Leg Howell and His Gang:

Jelly-roll, jelly-roll, ain't so hard to find. Ain't a baker shop in town bake 'em brown like mine I got a sweet jelly, a lovin' sweet jelly roll, If you taste my jelly, it'll satisfy your worried soul

I never been to church and I never been to school Come down to jelly I'm a jelly-rollin' fool I got a sweet jelly to satisfy my worried soul I likes my jelly and I like to have my fun

The term was correctly applied to a jam (jelly)-rolled and lightly baked confection and in consequence the references to baking 'nice and brown' had an added punning significance. So a lover admired his 'jelly bean' and the way she could 'jello' and prided himself on being a 'good jelly-roll baker.' But the baker made not only jelly roll but also other foods.
" (Oliver goes on to discuss the significance of "biscuit," "biscuit-roller," "cornbread" and other metaphors.) [Adapted from Duke University and the Van Morrison Website]

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The Great Books: Jelly Roll Morton

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This web page is part of a biographical database on Great Ideas. These are living ideas that have shaped, defined and directed world culture for over 2,500 years. By definition the Great Ideas are radical. As such they are sometimes misread, or distorted by popular simplifications. Understanding a Great Idea demands personal engagement. Our selection of Great Ideas is drawn from literature and philosophy, science, art, music, theatre, and cinema. We also include biographies of pivotal historical and religious figures, as well as contributions from women and other historically under-represented minorities. The result is an integrated multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary database built upon the framework of the always controversial Great Books Core List published in 1940 by the late Great Books Pioneer Mortimer Adler (1902-2001). Most of the works on that list are available in the 60 volume Great Books of the Western World.

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