“We are so inclined to waste ourselves on the most ordinary things and are so easily blunted to impressions of beauty and perfection, that we should strive by every possible means to sharpen our spirit and our senses. For no one can fully do without such enjoyment, and only the unfamiliarity of enjoying something good can explain how many of us find pleasure in what is mindless and absurd, when it is simply new. Every day, we should at least listen to one short song, read one good poem, see one beautiful painting and, if possible, say a few sensible words.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Wilhelm Meister’s Years of Apprenticeship
BOOK V, CHAPTER 1
It is a simple and necessary ambition to seek impressions of beauty and perfection in the world. And yet we often struggle to realise it: we tend to fix our eyes before our feet and trudge through ‘a heap of broken images’, favouring what is trivial and jumbled over what fulfils us and brings us joy.
We may choose to turn our minds to deeper objects of admiration, however. To do so, we do not need to belong to a particular circle or be an expert in a given field. All that is required, to begin with, is a fraction of our time and a splinter of our attention: a few minutes a day carved out to, for instance, reflect upon a poem, listen to a piece of music or appreciate the composition of a painting.
The Five One Review takes its name and inspiration from the above quoted passage in Book V, Chapter 1 of Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meister. In the spirit of that text, the review will present one poem (together with a reading of the text), one piece of music and one image every week with one overarching theme uniting the works over a period of five weeks. For each theme, the editors will do their best to write, if not a few, at least half a sensible word each.
All are invited to explore the poetry, music and images presented in the review’s latest theme and in its archive, and to discover the site’s French version. We also encourage our readers to share their favourite poems, pieces of music and works of art and to send us their own creations. Five One hopes its readers will enjoy its pages, and carry away with them or share at least one or two things which bring joy and which count.