Tuesday, September 29, 2009

World literature expands its horizons in Germany

Many Germans associate the term "world literature" with US-American and European literature. To help broaden that rather narrow view, the House of World Cultures in Berlin - Germany's national center for contemporary non-European art - and the Elementarteilchen Foundation in Hamburg, a non-profit organization that supports cultural projects, have introduced the International Literature Award. It is to be presented for the first time on September 30 in Berlin, distinguishing international works of prose fiction in German translation. The aim is to attract attention to Asian, African and Latin American writers and expand the common definition of world literature.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

More Fun Random Facts About Literature

-Emily Dickinson wrote more than nine hundred poems, only four of which were published during her lifetime.

-Gibbon spent twenty years writing The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Noah Webster spent thirty-six years writing his dictionary.

-There is no living descendant of William Shakespeare.

-Voltaire considered Shakespeare's works so deplorable that he referred to the Bard as “that drunken fool.”

-All the proceeds earned from James M. Barrie's book Peter Pan were bequeathed to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London.

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(Image credit: informationage.co.nz)

Friday, September 25, 2009

How would Einstein use e-mail?

Before computers, letter writers had same correspondence patterns as e-mail users

A new Northwestern University study of human behavior has determined that those who wrote letters using pen and paper -- long before electronic mail existed -- did so in a pattern similar to the way people use e-mail today.

....The researchers examined extensive letter correspondence records of 16 famous writers, performers, politicians and scientists, including Einstein, Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, and Ernest Hemingway, and found that the 16 individuals sent letters randomly but in cycles.

The same the Northwestern team used in a previous study to explain e-mail behavior now has been shown to apply to the letter writers. This refutes the rational model, which says that people are driven foremost by responding to others.

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(Image credits: ehow.com, sunnylam.net, respectively)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A short history of long speeches

This is a Linked! article - relevant content for both HHZ-History and HHZ-English

For 96 long minutes, Colonel Gaddafi spoke to UN delegates about Somali pirates, the death of JFK, jet lag and his conspiracy theories about swine flu. Call that a long speech? It's but a tiddler.

After an hour and a half of Mr Gaddafi speaking in person, it is not known how many of those listening logged on for more.

Four hours and 29 minutes is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest speech in front of the General Assembly, given in September 1960 by Fidel Castro. The former Cuban leader is known for his interminable speeches - his longest on record in Cuba clocking up seven hours and 10 minutes at the 1986 Communist Party Congress.

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(Image credit: myloc.gov)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Comics meet literature

At first glance you might think R. Sikoryak’s comics are simple gag strips poking fun at western literature, but you would be dead wrong.

Sikoryak combines iconic American comics with complimentary literary classics, creating a new identity for both works that is entertaining and thought-provoking. His comics are an example of how much the genre has grown up, and how far it's come as a serious form of art.

“Mastrepiece Comics” collects 20 years of parodies that originally appeared in a host of anthologies including Drawn & Quarterly, Raw, New York Press and Hotwire amongst others.

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The Literary Overview

Not news, but this is a really cool daily newsletter to sign up for; you'll receive little digestible bits of literature from around the world in your inbox every day!

Read more and sign up.....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What is a Banned Book?

A banned book is one that has been removed from the shelves of a library, bookstore, or classroom because of its controversial content. In some cases, banned books of the past have been burned and/or refused publication. Possession of banned books has at times been regarded as an act of treason or heresy, which was punishable by death, torture, prison time, or other acts of retribution.

A book may be challenged or banned on political, religious, sexual, or social grounds. We take the acts of banning or challenging a book as a serious matter, because these are forms of censorship--striking at the very core of our freedom to read.

The History of Banned Books

A book may be considered a banned book if the work has been banned in the past. We still discuss these books and the censorship surrounding them not only because it gives us insight into the time in which the book was banned, but it also gives us some perspective on books that are banned and challenged today.
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Norse Poetry

Not a news article, but interesting anyway!

— Doom of Odin,
from the Book of Heroes.

"I find no comfort in the shade
Under the branch of the Great Ash.
I remember the mist
of our ancient past.
As I speak to you in the present,
My ancient eyes
see the terrible future.

"Do you not see what I see?
Do you not hear
death approaching?

"The mournful cry of Giallr-horn
shall shatter the peace
And shake the foundation of heaven.

"Raise up your banner
And gather your noble company
from your great hall,
Father of the Slains.
For you shall go to your destiny.

"No knowledge can save you,
And no magic will save you.
For you will end up in Fenrir's belly,
While heaven and earth will burn
in Surt's unholy fire."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Old English

Old English (Englisc), also called Anglo-Saxon,[1] is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written in parts of what are now England and south-eastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century. What survives through writing represents primarily the literary register of Anglo-Saxon. It is a West Germanic language and is closely related to Old Frisian. It also experienced heavy influence from Old Norse, a member of the related North Germanic group of languages.

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Eald Englisc

Here is the Wikipedia page that's written entirely in Old English (also known as Eald Englisc). Now, mind you, this is very different from modern english, and to understand it you'd need to study it like another language.

Eald Enlisc Wicipaedia

Friday, September 18, 2009

What are Classics?

The definition of a "classic" can be a hotly debated topic. Depending on what you read, or the experience of the person you question on the topic, you may receive a wide range of answers. So, what is a "classic"--in the context of books and literature?
  • A classic usually expresses some artistic quality--an expression of life, truth, and beauty.
  • A classic stands the test of time. The work is usually considered to be a representation of the period in which it was written; and the work merits lasting recognition. In other words, if the book was published in the recent past, the work is not a classic.
  • A classic has a certain universal appeal. Great works of literature touch us to our very core beings--partly because they integrate themes that are understood by readers from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience. Themes of love, hate, death, life, and faith touch upon some of our most basic emotional responses.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Remembering What You Read

Reading is important. But, the next step is making sure that you remember what you've read! Memory is sometimes a tricky thing. You may have just read the text, and the concepts and ideas of the poem or novel may not "catch" on... The images may just fly right out of your head. Here are are a few tricks for remembering what you read.

  1. What's your motivation?
    Do you want to read the poem or book, or are you only reading it because it's assigned. Even if your reading is required, you may discover something about the author or text that will interest you. What do you know about the text? If you have a choice between texts to read, perhaps another work of literature will offer more of an enticement, and will be of more interest to you.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Literature Fun Facts

Authors are alphabetized by last name.

Jane Austen:

July 1814, when Sir Walter Scott’s first novel Waverly was published, Jane Austen was a bit jealous. She wrote the following in a letter to her niece:

“Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones.—It is not fair.—He has fame and profit enough as a poet, and should not be taking the bread out of other people’s mouths.—I do not like him, and do not mean to like Waverly if I can help it—but fear I must.”

Ironically, today Jane Austen is a much more popular author than her contemporary Sir Walter Scott.

Daniel Defoe (Foe):

The famous author of Robinson Crusoe changed his name in 1703 from Foe to Defoe. He believed that Defoe is “more socially and upward sounding” than Foe is.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Exploration of the English Renaissance in Literature

A massive transformation in literature took place during the Renaissance, especially in England. Here we will explore the changes of the 16th century and how these changes continue to influence works of literature today.

"....The 16th century also saw the beginnings of English journalism in the topical pamphlets of Robert Green and Thomas Nash. The first formal literary criticism in English appeared in the writings of Sir Philip Sidney ("The Defence of Poesie"), Ben Jonson, and others. The prose romances of Sidney, Nash, Greene, and John Lyly (whose Euphues started a new prose style) were the forerunners of the English novel."

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Reviving another author's characters

Alison Flood follows up the authors joining the booming trend in sequels to other people's workAlison Flood follows up the authors joining the booming trend in sequels to other people's work

This autumn, eight years after Douglas Adams died, Arthur Dent and friends will be hitching across the galaxy once again, Bram Stoker's Dracula will be stalking the pages of a book for the first time in more than a century, and Winnie the Pooh will be returning to the Hundred Acre Wood in the first official sequel to AA Milne's much-loved children's books. Such continuations of the work of popular authors, who have inconveniently interrupted their output by dying, are big business for the literary world these days. Authors are being roped in left, right and centre to continue or complete legacies, whether it's Sebastian Faulks taking on James Bond in Devil May Care last year, or the bucketloads of Virginia Andrews novels she has "written" since her death more than 20 years ago.
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Canadian coastal community provides a sense of wonder for booklovers


SIDNEY, B.C. - Here, in this coastal B.C. town, it's all about the books - thousands of them scattered throughout 12 stores.

New books and rare books. Paperbacks and hardbacks. Children's books, classics and mysteries. Cookbooks, gardening books, even comic books.

For two days, I was in literature bliss, not knowing where to start, losing track of time, and eventually being asked to leave one store because it was closing time - almost like a bartender cutting me off.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Actress creates short one-minute movies about classic books

Kids, remember this name: Jenny Sawyer. She may soon be American education’s next “It” girl. Actually, make that its first and only “It” girl.

Only 24 and barely out of college, Sawyer has undertaken an audacious task: writing and shooting, with the help of a small band of filmmakers, more than 1,000 free, one-minute videos that help students understand and enjoy commonly assigned classic works of literature.

It’ll take two years, thousands of hours on a Boston soundstage and countless outfit changes for Sawyer, the only person appearing on camera.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Interesting Facts - Literature

[- Fairy Tales -]
In downtown Lima, Peru, there is a large brass statue dedicated to Winnie the Pooh.
[- Fairy Tales -]
The brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm), collectors of the famous Grimm's Fairy Tales, were not storytellers, nor were they simple lovers of fairy tales. The Grimms were language scholars, the greatest of their time by most accounts, and the stories were collected and codified in the early nineteenth century as an exercise in comparative German philology and grammar.
[- Novels -]
For several decades the well-known Belgian mystery writer Georges Simenon wrote, on the average, one Novel every eleven days. Besides the more than 230 Novels he penned under his own name, Simenon wrote 300 other books under a pseudonym.

Read more facts....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Reading Underground

Published: September 3, 2009

Reading on the subway is a New York ritual, for the masters of the intricately folded newspaper like Ms. Kornhaber, who lives in Park Slope and works on the Upper East Side, as well as for teenage girls thumbing through magazines, aspiring actors memorizing lines, office workers devouring self-help inspiration, immigrants newly minted — or not — taking comfort in paragraphs in a familiar tongue. These days, among the tattered covers may be the occasional Kindle, but since most trains are still devoid of Internet access and cellphone reception, the subway ride remains a rare low-tech interlude in a city of inveterate multitasking workaholics. And so, we read.

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Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Emotional Bunny would like to share a small confession, about her time spent living in NYC.

Once upon a time, there was a little Emotional Bunny who rode the subway often, and usually went to the great big libraries in Queens, Brooklyn, etc., with Little Sister Bunny.
Tuzki Bunny Emoticon Tuzki Bunny Emoticon
They would take along the big rolling carts that alot of people use their, since there's no parking anywhere and one has to walk far, but they didn't use them for groceries as is the norm. Oh no. They packed them full of as many books as possible...
Tuzki Bunny Emoticon
....until one day a kindly librarian reminded them of their limit of 30 books each, since they were still using children's cards. The Bunny sisters remedied this, however, and begged Mommy Bunny to let them borrow her card for the remaining books.
Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Going home on the subway after each trip, they would pour over the descriptions of each book, listing the order in which to read them. They would then drag the carts over the doorway at their stop, tugging them through before the doors closed.
Tuzki Bunny EmoticonTuzki Bunny EmoticonTuzki Bunny Emoticon

These afternoon trips left lasting impressions on them, and from what I hear, they still read very often, but their reading of choice tends to be more digital, like news articles online.......


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Classic literature can take whatever we throw at it

Set Hamlet in space or turn Dorian Gray into a horror movie – it doesn't matter, because the classics are strong enough to bounce back.

I saw a bus, in front of the British Library, with an advert for the forthcoming Dorian Gray film plastered all over it. I'm not necessarily saying it will be bad, but the horror movie look of the poster, with Dorian Gray written in dramatic silver typeface, suggests this adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray will have the same hyperbolic qualities as the film adaptation of Beowulf.

".....The British Library, of course, holds the classics – but just what gives a work the gold-standard seal? Without getting too tangled up, let's look back at the bus on the street outside. Dorian Gray, the film it advertises, may be a monstrosity or a masterpiece. But the fact remains that a 19th century novel is being adapted into a 21st century film; even if it's terrible, the status of the original novel won't be harmed....."

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Is Hamlet Really That Popular?

Wednesday September 2, 2009

I recently visited Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. Before you enter the house itself, you pass through an exhibition and get bombarded with information.

A little fact stood out about Shakespeare's popularity. "While you have been watching this presentation," said the presenter of the short film, "a production of Hamlet will be underway somewhere in the world."

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