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Friday, July 11, 2014
Saturday, November 5, 2016 5:12:36 PM
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Last 10 Posts
100 Books to Read in a Lifetime
Thursday, July 24, 2014 3:04:17 PM
After taking a look at some of these 100-best-book lists, there are two things I find shocking:
Although the names of most of the lists specifically say books, what you find when you look them up are mostly novels. Pity, considering the huge amount of great books they are missing, only by restricting their choice like that.
On top of that, all the novels are written in English. By imposing these two conditions at the same time, there is nothing in these lists written before the 18th century, because there are no important English novels before that time. There were plenty of dramas and poetry in English, though.
For starters, I wouldn't ever shrug off Homer's epic poems, even if I'm not as fortunate as to speak Greek, and I have to resign myself to read translations: The Iliad and The Oddyssey. I wouldn't forget Dante's ‘Divina Comedia’ and Milton's Paradise Lost. I'm talking about my personal taste here.
Surely some books of Medieval literature can't be missed, such as
Cantar del Mio Cid
Chanson de Roland
, and a selection of Norse Sagas. I do like Medieval literature and now I remember some Middle English books: Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and Sir Gawain and The Green Knight.
The most important book on Chivalry was The Book of the Order of Chivalry (a,1275), written in Catalan by Ramon Llull. Previously known in England by a translation of a French translation made by Caxton. As of 2013 it has been translated directly from the original in Catalan. For anyone who enjoys high fantasy and for history buffs, that's the real thing, sort of a Bible of Chivalry.
I will not continue, because there is a lot of literature in different languages worth reading that I can't possibly remember on my own. I was thinking about listing my favourite books in chronological order, but it would be too boring if I did that. I would suggest to start a public list of books including every possible language -maybe adding its name in English- and a given set of characteristics. Let's say we agree to include the author, language and date of publication. If we talk books, maybe even the ISBN number or/and a link to its google books or amazon file.
What say you?
PS Now I see Dragon and I crossed messages, but as you see I totally agree with JP. I didn't want to debate whether the American public is self-centred or not. I have to say, though, it looks awfully weird. Not a single book written in another language!!
That way you have “To kill a mockingbird˝ and do not have “Madame Bovary” or “The Name of the Rose”. It is quite unusual, because I would dare say anywhere else people do know and read literature from all over the world; at least the very important titles, But now that I think about it, it must be usual procedure, because TV series –even those filmed in English– are usually remade in the States. I think not only because of the accent, but because of the whole lot: even the argument is simplified, adapted to a different humour, politics, signs… Strange, because America has always been a melting-pot of people and cultures. As for French novelists, remember Balzac, Victor Hugo (Miserables), and the great Dumas (The 3 Musketeers, The Count of Montecristo, etc) I intend no disrespect with that comment. As I said, I find it strange, out of character given the variety of origin the population have. That's all.
PS To be honest I double-checked the GoodReads list and there are some forign authors, from Homer, to Tolstoi and García Márquez. It is a general public list, and the best selling books are usually best-sellers. But fair is fair, there are some high-brow titles originally written in other languages than English. “To kill a mockingbird˝ is still #1, but there is The Oddyssey too.
English and American
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 6:31:22 PM
And then all these replies just argue with each other about stuff I did not say .
We haven't been arguing about what you did or did not say. The discussion moved on, that's all.
I would still like the spelling bee to accept alternate spellings which it is possible for the dictionary to recognise (recognize!), or have a mode to play in British English.
In an ideal world, we'd have that. However, this appears to be an American-owned/managed site. The cost in work and money of catering for us Brits is probably not a realistic option. I am pleased that the site exists. I can live with its transpondial bias.
You're right, mate! No one is blaming you for it. It's just a lively conversation
If I contributed to rock the boat, I apologise. And if you think about it, what you ask can't be so difficult. I mean, there are loads of people who'd rather play that game with BrE spelling. I had trouble with that same thing myself… :-D
Short stories - famous or important ones
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 2:42:58 PM
In any case Jorge Luis Borges is a famous author and with him we have a representative of South America beside Márquez.
It's a pity I don't know any short stories of Borges or Márquez.
published loads of short stories. Two collections you cannot miss: ‘Ficciones’ and ‘Laberintos’. Usually I never recommend translations, but Borges spoke good English and I believe he took care of his own translations.‘Fictions’ and ‘Labyrinths’, each book containing an homonym series of short stories.
> ‘Anacleto Morones’, ‘Tell them not to kill me!’, and also his masterpiece, ‘Pedro Páramo’.
A short story specialist,
, from Uruguay. All he wrote.
I think your list needs some representative of Catalan literature. Here there are some short stories by
Shakespeare, The Tempest
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 2:15:17 PM
Debora Wienda Rosari wrote:
On a different note, I once read A Tempest (Une Tempête), an adaptation of the original play, by Aimé Césaire. Quite intriguing, if I may say.
I haven't read it. Did you like it?
Have you read or watched
? In Shakespeare's play, Caliban lives in the Island when Prospero and Miranda arrive, but he is not local. I mean, he is born there accidentally, because his mother is with child when she is banished from Algiers —she is an Algerian— and sent to the island as a punishment. Caliban is a colonizer himself, only he arrived first.
Ariel we do not know where he comes from, or whether human circumstances, such as place of birth, apply to him at all. We do know Caliban's mother –the foul witch Sycorax— had put him into the trunk of a pine by means of black magic, and Prospero helped him out, but enslaved him by threatening him to put him into an even harder tree (an oak).
Caliban shows the island to Prospero when he arrived. Without his help, it seems unlikely Prospero would have survived. (That's odd. Prospero's magic powers should suffice to help him establish and feed his daughter and himself).
There are a lot of post-colonial versions of this play. Furthermore, the Bermudas are mentioned, and many have read into it a certain American colonial link of the play.
I believe one may read an analogy or parallelism between the micro-society in
and any colonial experiment, but the way in which the Bermudas are mentioned in a casual way does not situate the island of The Tempest anywhere near the Caribbean.
The Duchess of Malfi
, there is another mention of the Bermudas, when Bosola says: ’I would sooner swim to the Bermoothes on two politicians' bladders, tied together with an intelligencer's heartsting, than depend on so changeable a prince's favour.’ I think at that time it was quite a popular place, symbolising a faraway, magic place, with an aura of mystery and adventure. There had been a wreckage near the Bermudas that had been the gossip of London, and everyone talked about the place without really knowing where it was.
English and American
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:55:30 PM
I agree, I guess I was speaking in terms of commercial pulling power.
And, to be fair, the American way of spelling things like center, and theater, with an -er, is the older English way - it is the spelling in Britain that has changed, not the American original. So you could call it a variant. Just a very well-established one!
Are you quite sure about that?
I know some words are usually taken as Americanisms, but are of English origin. The word ‘soccer’ pops to mind…
However, all these American spellings like honor, color, afterward, center, theater, etc were a political-linguistic move design at the turn of the 19th century by one man, the philologist Noah Webster, who proposed a spelling reform to promote an American education. A way to gain distance from the ex-metropolitan power.
He published his American Dictionary of the English Language, and all the words that spell different from, not only BritE but possibly any other form of English (I think with the possible exception of Canadian in many cases), do so due to this reform.
The case of Latin evolving into Spanish, Italian, French and others, (and having a huge weight on English, directly and through French) took a millennium to happen. For English to become something else experts think evolution will come through the www, and probably a different process altogether. There's probably no room for languages to ‘dissolve’ into a group of different languages, but the other way around: words from eastern languages, Spanish, French or German, on a base of English, creating some international English, different to present day varieties, to be used online and on international communication.
English and American
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:28:59 PM
I think that is just a commercial reality - lots more Americans and people learning American English.
And students practicing for SATs or whatever.
The forums probably have more BEs than AEs among the most active members at the moment. Or at least a pretty equal spread.
Are you sure about that? I agree there are more AmE speakers than speakers of any other variety of English considered independently. However, most varieties of English all around the world maintain more links BrE, as their population still has usually more cultural links with Britain than with the USA, Hollywood notwithstanding. As an example, the Rugby World Cup or the Cricket World Cup probably get a few billion viewers among people who actually play those sports professionally in their own countries and speak English. There's no equivalent to that in the American area of influence.
When I was a kid I stayed in Dublin for the summer at an Irish family's place. When I saw so many Brit comedies on the telly I asked was it usual for them to watch American comedies on TV, and my host told me:‘In Ireland we prefer to laugh at the English’.
As for people learning English as a foreign language, I wouldn't be so sure either. At least in Europe, many very widely taught systems rely on RP, as an accent very few people actually use, but everyone understand. Of course American English is taught as well. I guess English as a foreign language is 50% either variety.
If we talk about learning English in high education, I think students reading English in European universities outside the UK or Ireland, are allowed to use any form of English they prefer, as soon as they are consistent. But then, you have to read English Literature; Spencer, let's say:
‘But yet more mindfull of his
Hold on! Did you see that? Can't you see how weird it looks when you apply Webster's spelling to classic literature? It never ceases to amaze students when we read American books such as the Norton Anthology of English Literature (otherwise excellent books,except for this flaw)and find the odd American ‘color’ in a classic poem. And we can count ourselves lucky we do not have to deal with ‘wimmen’ for women, or ‘tung’ for tongue…
But, dispossessed: considering this is an American site, I think they have the right to use American spelling. Of course they do! Surely you have plenty games to choose from in English English spelling.
I don't worry about the games, but I admit I still find it weird when I look up a word… let's say ‘centre’ and I get:
n. & v. Chiefly British Variant of center. A variant? I would have sworn it's the other way around! The oldest, most widely used spelling can't possibly be the variant of a more modern way.
But I get it: that's the way it is. It isn't as if this were the only on-line dictionary available, right? You can always check the OED, and get both ways. After all, both are supposed to be English.
as I did
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:13:24 AM
I think that final pronoun ‘it’ is redundant.
It represents ‘play chess’, which we already have in the sentence.
to get her car
Thursday, July 17, 2014 7:58:08 AM
What about ‘collect’?
Poetry: Who is your favorite poet?
Saturday, July 12, 2014 2:12:39 PM
I'll stick to poetry in English, for obvious reasons, and say John Donne. A poet who wrote about love, both divine and humane, and had a sixth sense for the use of words. I'd say it's partly the way he addresses his lover, or the reader, or God, or everyone… Or the way he uses simple words to create complex ideas.
And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear ;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Still-favourite books from our youth
Saturday, July 12, 2014 8:00:07 AM
I had the same book - but in English. Those illustrations are part of what interested me in Art from my childhood on, I think. Aren't they wonderful?
Btw - there is a church nearby whose stained glass windows were done by Burne-Jones. They are breathtaking and even survived the bombing in WWII.
Of course they are! I started making pen-and-ink drawings because of my fascination with Rackham's work. I think he is one of the best book illustrators ever.
As for the window, do you mean the one in Chelsea? I googled stained-glass windows designed by Burne-Jones and I thought you might be referring to that one in London: the east window in the Holy Trinity Church, at Sloane St.
What caught my attention is that there's another window, also designed by Burne-Jones, at another Trinity Church, but this one is in Boston, in the States. Where about is the window you are referring to?
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