Archive for the 'Literature' Category

05
Jan
09

metropolitanism and the elevator

Elevators good and bad, including Nicholas White’s 41 hour ordeal aboard car No. 30 of the McGraw-Hill Building, NYC.

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30
Nov
08

Dr. Roget’s autobiography

Peter Mark Roget began compiling world list at the age of eight. Estranged from other children, Dr. Roget found great comfort in solitude compiling word list and associations.  Ironically that what helped Dr Roget avoid emotion became the tool of others struggling to express it. Essayist, Lesely Chamberlain, argues that Dr. Roget’s magnum opus isn’t the bible of objectivity, but rather one that is quite autobiographical in form.

See for instance, the record number of paragraphs of sub-lists under the heading “Disorder.” Roget was a Freudian case half a century before Freud, and one might deconstruct his real magnum opus as a secret autobiography, to be matched alongside the recorded life.

Read the essay in its entirety here.

15
Oct
08

Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

So what sorts of cultural ramifications exist as texting becomes even more widespread? Professional Linguist, David Crystal, argues (as most linguist tend to do) that naturally occurring changes in a language are not so bad.

It is good to know that the estimated three billion human beings who own cell phones, and who use them to send more than a trillion text messages every year, are having no effect on anything that we should care about. A trillion text messages, Crystal says, “appear as no more than a few ripples on the surface of the sea of language.

In some respects, texting is a giant leap backward in the science of communication. Sending a text message with a numeric keypad feels primitive and improvisational—like the way prisoners speak to each other by tapping on the walls of their cells in “Darkness at Noon,” or the way the guy in “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” writes a book. And, as Crystal points out, although cell phones keep getting smaller, thumbs do not.

Read the review of David Crystal’s book, Txtng: The Gr8 Db8.

Homer Simpson ~(_8^(|)

01
Oct
08

Nobel Prize for Literature 2008

Ladbrokes has set odds on possible winners of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Below are the top ten, via complete review:

  • Claudio Magris at 3/1
  • Adonis at 4/1
  • Amos Oz at 5/1
  • Joyce Carol Oates at 7/1
  • Philip Roth at 7/1
  • Don DeLillo at 10/1
  • Haruki Murakami at 10/1
  • Les Murray at 10/1
  • Yves Bonnefoy at 10/1
  • Arnošt Lustig at 14/1
29
Sep
08

Has exoticism lost appeal?

Ralph Potts’ new book, Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: Stories and Revelations From One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer.

Of course, the motifs and assumptions of well-told travel stories do change over the years—But I think non-traditional narrative has become a way for writers to wriggle into the complexities of postmodern travel and show the reader things they might otherwise have missed.

The Art of Writing a Story About Walking Across Andorra, a second-person-voice meta-satire about generic travel writing.

Blogs have boomed, so has online video; magazine ad space has shrunk, and traditional newspapers are suffering. Since so much travel media naturally emphasizes consumer and service information, this probably just means that the same kinds of articles are finding their way into new and different venues.

Hat-tip to World Hum; the entire review is here.

28
Sep
08

Ovid: The Amores

Ovid’s first book, Amores, published in 16 BC, and written in the elegiac distich.

Here is the translation from A.S. Kline, as well as the original Latin text.

21
Sep
08

Bandes dessinées

This is a great article highlighting some of Europe’s most interesting graphic novelist working today. Bandes dessinées literally translates to “drawn strip,” and is synonymous with Franco-Belgian graphic artist.

Read the WSJ article here.




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