How do you quantify the effects of things that don't happen to you? "The whole point of living in a culture is that much of the labor of perception and judgment is done for you, spread through media, and absorbed through an imperceptible process that has no single author." (previously; via)
A translator must naturally take certain liberties with other people’s words in order to wrest the most truth into the text. In this essay on translation, composed strictly of quotations, I have taken the liberty of replacing select words and phrases with “translation,” “translator,” and the various verb forms of “translate.” I have also committed untold infidelities.[more inside]
YoutTube: The story of Bitter Sweet Symphony | Andrew Oldham Orchestra - The Last Time (1965) | Original video | 2010 studio performance for Radio 1 Presents | 2008 concert performance | Live at Glastonbury 2008 | Glastonbury 2011 | potted history of The Verve at BBC News
Don't Judge A Book By Its Author by Aminatta Forna [The Guardian]
‘I have never met a writer who wishes to be described as a female writer, gay writer, black writer, Asian writer or African writer’ … Aminatta Forna on her frustration at the book world’s obsession with labels and identity.
What Is the Business of Literature?
Publishing is a word that, like the book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the “business of literature.” Current accounts of publishing have the industry about as imperiled as the book, and the presumption is that if we lose publishing, we lose good books. Yet what we have right now is a system that produces great literature in spite of itself. We have come to believe that the taste-making, genius-discerning editorial activity attached to the selection, packaging, printing, and distribution of books to retailers is central to the value of literature. We believe it protects us from the shameful indulgence of too many books by insisting on a rigorous, abstemious diet. Critiques of publishing often focus on its corporate or capitalist nature, arguing that the profit motive retards decisions that would otherwise be based on pure literary merit. But capitalism per se and the market forces that both animate and pre-suppose it aren’t the problem. They are, in fact, what brought literature and the author into being.[more inside]
The hard numbers behind scholarly publishing's gender gap - The Chronicle of Higher Education investigates the nature of gender disparity in science and humanities publishing, with the help of researcher Jennifer Jacquet in collaboration with Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom of the University of Washington, whose Eigenfactor tool (previously) is used to map the intersection of gender and authorship in JSTOR articles from 1665 to 2011. [more inside]
Tomorrow is the end of Banned Books Week. It's been 30 years. The American Library Association has a list of frequently challenged books. [more inside]
Tim Parks has two interesting articles at the NYRB: Does Money Make Us Write Better? and Does Copyright Matter?
On the 30th May, 1593, playwright Christopher Marlowe was stabbed in a Deptford tavern. Except, it wasn't a tavern, and all present were known liars. His writing style was very similar to that of early William Shakespeare, whose name first appeared in print very shortly afterwards. [more inside]
On the advent of deceased author William S. Burroughs' first gallery showing in England, equally deceased author Kathy Acker sat down to interview him. Collected by weirdo website 'The End Of Being' in 3 filmed parts. [more inside]
The forthcoming film Anonymous, which posits the Earl of Oxford as the true author of Shakespeare's plays, has scholars bemoaning the immense effort wasted over the years (NYT) pursuing bogus theories of Shakespearean authorship. On the other hand, one of the 20th century's greatest cryptographers got his start searching for secret messages from Francis Bacon in Shakespeare's plays.
Copyright law in micrcosm, or, Why Alan Lomax is a co-author of Jay-Z's "Takeover".
Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert - "McLuhan prefigured the Internet era in a number of surprising ways. As he said in a March 1969 Playboy interview: 'The computer thus holds out the promise of a technologically engendered state of universal understanding and unity, a state of absorption in the Logos that could knit mankind into one family and create a perpetuity of harmony and peace' ... Wikipedia, along with other crowd-sourced resources, is wreaking a certain amount of McLuhanesque havoc on conventional notions of 'authority', 'authorship', and even 'knowledge' ... Knowledge is growing more broadly and immediately participatory and collaborative by the moment."
Copyright turns 300: An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, also known as the Statute of Anne, became law on April 10, 1710.
"I mean he quite literally -- and in no way do I exaggerate when I say -- [Paul Simon] stole the songs from us." [more inside]
taping downloading is killing music authorship. The Society of Authors warns that authors will simply stop writing if they aren't compensated for piracy of their work (as unlikely as that seems). Perhaps they should follow the example of Jim Griffin, newly hired at Warner Music to persuade broadband providers to attach a $5 per month surcharge for the benefit of the major labels, in exchange for halting the lawsuits that have thus far been their mainstay weapon against piracy.
Procol Harum organist wins battle over joint authorship of A Whiter Shade of Pale. Gary Brooker is not amused, but then again it was a Bach ripoff anyway.
claimID is an online identity management tool, recently out of beta. Essentially it's a way of helping people and search engines understand who you are, but also who you are not. It's closely tied to the OpenID project, discussed briefly in this thread.