1564 posts tagged with literature.
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Hey Oscar Wilde! It's Clobberin' Time!!!

Hey Oscar Wilde! It's Clobberin' Time!!! is a blog featuring gobs of drawings by comic book artists of their favorite literary authors or characters. [via] [more inside]
posted by marxchivist on Nov 6, 2009 - 26 comments

Enheduanna, the first poet we know by name

Enheduanna was a priestess and poet in the city of Ur in the 23rd century BC and supposedly the daughter of Sargon the Great of Akkad. She is the first author known by name. Here are a number of her poems in English translation, The Exaltation of Inana, Inana and Ebih, A Hymn to Inana, The Temple Hymns and A Balbale to Nanna. Here are two alternate translations of The Exaltation of Inana, one by James D. Pritchard and an English rendering of Dr. Annette Zgoll's German translation. If you want to learn more, go to The En-hedu-Ana Research Pages.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 5, 2009 - 27 comments

The crying of x^2 + xy + y^2 = 49

"Pynchon, postmodern author, is commonly said to have a non-linear narrative style. No one seems to have taken seriously the possibility, to be explored in this essay, that his narrative style might in fact be quadratic." Number theorist Michael Harris on Pynchon and conic sections.
posted by escabeche on Oct 25, 2009 - 60 comments

Street Lit

"It's urban, it's real, but is this literature? Controversy rages over a new genre whose sales are headed off the charts"
[more inside] posted by trojanhorse on Oct 25, 2009 - 157 comments

Noble and magnificent creatures of the animal kingdom... humiliated again for our amusement. Yay!

The New Yorker's "Critterati" contest invites you to "take a picture of your pet—dog, cat, ferret, iguana, or any other nonhuman member of the animal kingdom—dressed as a character from literature, and upload it to newyorker.com by October 25th." Gallery | About | Rules | Enter. [more inside]
posted by taz on Oct 22, 2009 - 42 comments

Art by Alasdair Gray

Alasdair Gray is best known as a novelist but his illustrations of his own books have long fascinated and delighted. Here you can see hundreds of artworks by Alasdair Gray, including some book illustrations, from 1950 through 2009. Here are a few of his works that I like: unfinished Scottish Society of Playwrights poster, Nina Watching the Simpsons, Erics Watching Television, Ice Age and Babylonian Science, theatre poster for A Clockwork Orange and the Scots Hippo series. Also on the website there are a lot of articles about and by Alasdair Gray reposted from various publications. And finally, here's a podcast of a talk Alasdair Gray gave called The First Pictures I Enjoyed.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 20, 2009 - 18 comments

Two Chinese Brothers

"This is a novel born out of the intersection of two eras. The first is a story of the Cultural Revolution, a time of fanaticism, repressed instincts, and tragic fates, similar to the European Middle Ages. The second is a story of today, a time of subverted ethics, fickle sensuality, and every kind of phenomena, even more like the Europe of today. A westerner would have to live four hundred years to experience the vast differences of the two eras, but a Chinese would only need forty years for the experience." Yu Hua's Brothers, a sprawling, foul-mouthed, comic-historical epic, and the best-selling novel in China's history, is available in English. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Oct 18, 2009 - 25 comments

Hermann the German

Fans of Tacitus's Germania, meet Hermann.
posted by oldleada on Oct 10, 2009 - 11 comments

Herta Müller is the 2009 Nobel Laureate in Literature

This year's Nobel Laureate in Literature is Romanian born author Herta Müller, who writes in German, as predicted yesterday by M. A. Orthofer of The Complete Review and Literary Saloon. Here's an interview with Herta Müller and a short bio.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 8, 2009 - 38 comments

Brindin Press, poetry translations

Brindin Press has lots of poetry translations into English online, concentrating on French, German, Italian and Spanish, though more than 40 other languages are represented as well. A boatload of translators is represented, from those toiling in obscurity to big literary names (e.g. there are translations of Catullus poems by Ben Jonson, Jonathan Swift, Louis Zukofsky, Aubrey Beardsley and Thomas Hardy). There is also a section of quirky poems. Finally, here's a rendition of Goethe's Der Erlkönig that substitutes the elfish king with a dalek.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 27, 2009 - 4 comments

More Web Magazines

The New York Review of Ideas is a web magazine reporting about New York commerce, literature and politics. The Manzine is actually £2 for the print version, but some of the its best is also online.
posted by netbros on Sep 25, 2009 - 4 comments

Ivana, the "Croatian Tolkien"

Fairy-tale author Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić (1874-1938) has been called the "Croatian Anderson", or more recently the "Croatian Tolkien", and twice nominated for a Nobel, in the 1930s, before she committed suicide. Her most famous fairy-tale collection, Croatian Tales of Long Ago (1916), was recently adapted as a flash animation, some of which can be viewed online (flash, pop-ups) in an award-winning site. The original book in English translation (1923) at Internet Archive includes some cool artwork.
posted by stbalbach on Sep 25, 2009 - 9 comments

Shakespeare in music

Amazing to see how differently Shakespeare's work has been dealt with in music: there is Jerry Lee Lewis doing a blues on Othello. David Gilmour, former Pink Floyd lead singer, guitarist and songwriter, turned Sonnet 18 into a touchingly beautiful ballad. The Metal Shakespeare Company wrote a heavy metal song about Hamlet (III/1), "To bleed or not to bleed". And yes, there is Shakespeare rap, too: William Shatner (the very same!) raps about Caesar and British rapper Akala thinks he is a reincarnation of the bard. Last but not least, the Beatles tried their luck at Shakespeare, too (no music this time): they did a skit on the famous Pyramus and Thisbe scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream (very rare footage!).
posted by Matthias Rascher on Sep 22, 2009 - 37 comments

Novel Graphics

"A few months ago, I got an email from Paul Buckley, the wonderful art director at Penguin Classics, who asked if I wanted to illustrate a book cover for him..." Illustrator Michael Cho on designing a cover for Don Delillo's White Noise as part of the Penguin Graphic Classics series, in which prominent comic artists and illustrators create covers for literary classics. All the covers can be found in this flickr set, including Daniel Clowes’s Frankenstein, Candide illustrated by Chris Ware, and Frank Miller's (kind of disappointing) cover for Gravity's Rainbow.
posted by dersins on Sep 21, 2009 - 23 comments

Big things have small beginnings

Charlotte and Branwell Brontë wrote many of their stories of Angria on tiny sheets of paper in nearly microscopic handwriting. This particular example consists of four sheets of notepaper folded into sixteen pages. The individual sheets are approximately 4 ½ inches long and 3 5/8 inches wide, and the entire text contains about nineteen thousand words.
posted by Joe Beese on Sep 18, 2009 - 20 comments

The pictures and sketches of JRR Tolkien

The pictures and sketches of JRR Tolkien
posted by nthdegx on Sep 16, 2009 - 24 comments

At the very edge

Island of Sorrows. On the far western tip of continental Europe lie The Blasket Islands, picturesque in the sunlight. Great Blasket produced a great wealth (scroll down) of oral and written folk history from personages such as Peig Sayers (photo); and Tomas O'Crohan and Maurice O'Sullivan.
Here's a brief , more recent of the Island and a bibliography of Blasket Literature.
posted by adamvasco on Aug 31, 2009 - 9 comments

Knut Hamsun.

Street Time for Hamsun. This month marks 150 years since the birth of the Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun, Nobel laureate in 1920. As well as the opening of a new centre dedicated to the man and his work, a whole range of events have been held in relation to this anniversary. It has also been the occasion for academic conferences, commemorative coins, tourism campaigns, and stamps. A writer of brilliance; a deeply problematic legacy. Previously on mefi.
posted by hydatius on Aug 27, 2009 - 24 comments

Thousands of poems by women writers of the British Isles in the Romantic era

British Women Romantic Poets Project is a collection of poetry written by women from the British Isles between 1789 and 1832. Over a hundred female poets are represented. Women rarely feature in literary histories of the Romantic period but there is treasure if you search (some poems are, frankly, terrible). A few places to start are Charlotte Turner Smith's Elegiac Sonnets, and Other Poems, Christian Ross Milne's Simple Poems on Simple Subjects and Mary Robinson's sonnet cycle Sappho and Phaon. The oddest works to modern readers may be Elizabeth Hitchener's Enigmas, Historical and Geographical and Marianne Curties' Classical Pastime, which are collections of verse riddles (the answers are at the end of the text).
posted by Kattullus on Aug 26, 2009 - 5 comments

The Immaculate Tirant

"God save me!" quoth the priest, with a loud voice, "is Tirante the White there? Give me him here, neighbour; for I make account I have found in him a treasure of delight, and a mine of entertainment. Here we have Don Kyrieleison of Montalvan, a valorous knight, and his brother Thomas of Montalvan, and the knight Fonseca, and the combat in which the valiant Tirante fought with the mastiff, and the smart conceits of the damsel Plazerdemivida, with the amours and artifices of the widow Reposada; and madam the empress in love with her squire Hypolito. Verily, gossip, in its way, it is the best book in the world..."
-Don Quixote de la Mancha, Part I, Chapter 6 [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Aug 26, 2009 - 11 comments

A conspiracy of theorists

Several Twitter-based games were launched during the world's first Literary Twestival: Flash Fiction, Collective Nouns, Pass the Plot, and Project Twutenberg (via).
posted by Mr. Palomar on Aug 21, 2009 - 20 comments

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

Fancy a coffee with Dominic West? Rather tasty British actors in slightly ridiculous soft focus sell instant coffee, using sexy literature. [more inside]
posted by tiny crocodile on Aug 14, 2009 - 58 comments

Bookworms with Ink

We've seen tattooed librarians, but so-called literary tattoos are a growing trend. See the lively LiveJournal group, or the folks over at Contrariwise. Recently, "A couple of independent editors have decided to take the trend and invert it -- to put the literary tattoos back in a book." It appears the call for submissions is still on-going.
posted by litterateur on Aug 6, 2009 - 26 comments

In writing this book my intention was to present, in the form of an interesting story, a faithful picture of working-class life...

In August 1910, an Irish sign-painter and decorator named Robert Noonan left the town of Hastings on the south coast of England, and made his way north and west towards Liverpool, with the hope of emigrating to Canada. Already sick with tuberculosis, his condition worsened once he reached the city, and he was to die there in a workhouse hospital ward, in February 1911. He had, however, left in the care of his daughter Kathleen a package that was to change the political landscape of twentieth-century Britain. [more inside]
posted by hydatius on Aug 6, 2009 - 12 comments

Judith Thurman and Her Wild Women

In April of 1932, an unlikely literary débutante published her first book. This is how The New Yorker's Judith Thurman begins the tale of one Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the enduring Little House series. Those who have read the series may enjoy this glimpse into the story behind these stories, shedding some light on the lives of Laura and her daughter beyond the place where Wilder's books ended.
posted by sarabeth on Aug 4, 2009 - 33 comments

Katie is a vampire. And?

Janet Reid is a literary agent who helps aspiring fiction writers pitch their work in a public forum. Her feedback can be kind of brutal, but there are a few winning queries in there and it illuminates a part of the writing process that we civilians don't often get to see.
posted by ubermuffin on Jul 31, 2009 - 38 comments

Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry

Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry. A feature-length documentary focusing on Malcolm Lowry, author of the novel Under the Volcano. [more inside]
posted by thescientificmethhead on Jul 27, 2009 - 17 comments

Forgotten Bookmarks

Forgotten Bookmarks. "I work at a used and rare bookstore, and I buy books from people every day. These are the personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things I find in those books. "
posted by milquetoast on Jul 25, 2009 - 48 comments

Clerihews

Sir Humphry Davy
Was not fond of gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.

This is the first example of the form that came to be known as the clerihew. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jul 24, 2009 - 66 comments

Lame and trite and read all over

Fired from The Canon. Classics that maybe aren't so classic. (kottke via secondpass)
posted by littlerobothead on Jul 21, 2009 - 211 comments

Historian of a rich and terrible past

Louis Crompton, the author of Homosexuality and Civilization and Byron and Greek Love, has died. [more inside]
posted by dickymilk on Jul 20, 2009 - 15 comments

Chapter a Day.

There's just something about being read to out loud, even if it's over the radio. Wisconsin Public Radio presents Chapter a Day, in which listeners are treated to daily doses of literature (both fiction and non-fiction). The program presents one book at a time, giving listeners the chance to follow stories from beginning to end over a period of weeks.
posted by sarabeth on Jul 19, 2009 - 25 comments

wetness ... pours onto my paper out of my pen

Suheir Hammad, a Palestinian-American poet and activist now based in New York, writes about being a Muslim immigrant and also a woman challenging conventions. Spotted by Russell Simmons for Def Poetry Jam, she has performed pieces about love in the time of war, exoticising beauty, and a touching ode to her father, among many others. Suheir has just produced and released her first feature film Salt of This Sea, up for the Cannes Films Festival and possibly an Oscar, and recently performed in Ramallah for the 2009 Palestinian Festival of Literature.
posted by divabat on Jul 7, 2009 - 5 comments

Naked Lunch turns 50

Naked Lunch, the infamous novel by American writer William S. Burroughs and the subject of the final literary obscenity trial in the United States, turns 50 this year. To celebrate the anniversary, the first collection of critical essays devoted to the novel will be published this month and a three-day "homage and symposium" will be held in July at the University of London Institute in Paris, with complementary celebrations taking place in New York and other cities throughout the rest of 2009.
posted by Houyhnhnm on Jun 19, 2009 - 69 comments

The Ledge

The Ledge is an independent platform for international literature. At the heart of the site, to get you in the mood, is a series of interviews with authors, translators and literary critics. There is also a built-in, ever-expanding reading guide and a listing of literary events. The Ledge [ Flash Enabled ], the Flash version of the site is much more fun. For one thing, you can hear authors reading from their work... Have a look. And a listen. and The Ledge [ HTML] For slower connections.
posted by Fizz on Jun 12, 2009 - 1 comment

Djuna Barnes

Djuna Barnes (12 June, 1892 – 18 June, 1982) was an American writer who played an important part in the development of 20th century English language modernist writing and was one of the key figures in 1920s and 30s bohemian Paris after filling a similar role in the Greenwich Village of the teens. Her novel Nightwood became a cult work of modern fiction, helped by an introduction by T. S. Eliot. It stands out today for its portrayal of lesbian themes and its distinctive writing style. - Wikipedia [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Jun 10, 2009 - 18 comments

C. P. Cavafy, demotic poet

The Cavafy Archive has translations of all of C. P. Cavafy's poems (go here for the Greek) except for the 30 unfinished poems, which have just recently been translated into English for the first time by Daniel Mendelsohn. His translations are reviewed in a lengthy essay by Peter Green in the most recent New Republic. Mendelsohn was interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered earlier this week. Late last year Mendelsohn wrote an essay about Cavafy in The New York Review of Books. The Cavafy Archive also has translations of a few prose pieces by Cavafy as well as manuscripts, pictures, translated letters & short texts and a catalog of Cavafy's library.
posted by Kattullus on Jun 9, 2009 - 9 comments

These marks in printer's ink

The Táin lithographs In 1967 Louis le Brocquy was commissioned to illustrate Thomas Kinsella's translation of the great Irish prose epic the Táin Bó Cuailnge. The resulting collaborative volume is widely acknowledged as the great Irish Livre d'Artiste of the twentieth century; Le Brocquy's "brush drawings merged seamlessly with the text; stark, fluent images, they expressed with great economy of means an epic breadth, evoking the movement of vast masses of people. Individual participants in the drama were also pulled into close focus."
posted by Abiezer on Jun 6, 2009 - 19 comments

...I didn't actually read the link...

It’s only natural that if you wish to present yourself as a well-read person, a certain degree of complete bullshit is required. There’s no shame in lying about what you’ve read. There’s only shame in getting caught. Then you look like a doofus, and an illiterate one at that... How to lie about books.
posted by Artw on May 28, 2009 - 73 comments

The influence of Edmund Spenser across two and a half centuries as traced through 25000 different texts

Spenser and the Tradition: English Poetry 1579-1830 is a mammoth database of English poetry and other writings that traces the influence of the great 16th-Century poet Edmund Spenser on English poetry across 250 years. There are roughly 25000 different texts on the site, over 6000 poems from famous classics to obscure ephemera, and further thousands of biographies and commentaries. Since it would take years to read all the material I am happy to say that there is a guide to navigating the database, an overview of its contents, a statistical summary and an essay on tradition and innovation. The immense database, which started life as a pile of index cards, was compiled largely by Virginia Tech Professor David Hill Radcliffe over the course of 17 years.
posted by Kattullus on May 27, 2009 - 11 comments

Study Guides, Teacher Resources

Shmoop is study guides and teacher resources that help us understand how literature and history and poetry are relevant today. Take for example Shakespeare's Sonnet 130. Get a technical analysis of it's literary devices, explanations of the themes, and audio/video readings of the sonnet.
posted by netbros on May 24, 2009 - 10 comments

Marguerite Young

Marguerite Young - whom Kurt Vonnegut called "unquestionably a genius" - first achieved success with a study of the utopian commune at New Harmony, Indiana called Angel in the Forest. She then spent 18 years writing Miss Macintosh, My Darling - a 1,198 page novel that William Goyen praised in The New York Times Book Review as "a masterwork". She spent the last 30 years of her life writing an unfinished biography of Eugene V. Debs that was posthumously published, in heavily edited form, as Harp Song for a Radical. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on May 22, 2009 - 4 comments

Infinite Summer

Infinite Summer - "The Challenge: Read Infinite Jest over the summer of 2009" [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on May 21, 2009 - 118 comments

Shakespeare's Sonnets Turn 400

400 years ago today, Thomas Thorpe entered into the Stationers' Register a book titled "Shake-Speares Sonnets". However, Clinton Heylin argues that - like Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes - the Sonnets were never intended for a wide audience. "In both cases, they were killing time and at the same time dealing with huge personal issues in a private way, which they never conceived of coming out publicly."
posted by Joe Beese on May 20, 2009 - 37 comments

1518 copy of Ovid

Rebinding a 1518 printing of Ovid's Metamorphoses. [Via]
posted by homunculus on May 17, 2009 - 17 comments

The Word-Stormer

John Banville's most recent essay on Samuel Beckett: The Word-Stormer. Banville has previously written insightful essays thinly disguised as book reviews on The Painful Comedy of Samuel Beckett, the influence of painting on Beckett's writing, and Beckett on the couch.
posted by HumanComplex on May 14, 2009 - 5 comments

Classic Covers of Penguin Science Fiction Books

The Art of Penguin Science Fiction is a historical guide to the design of book jackets in the Penguin SF line by James Pardey. But before reading the essay I recommend looking at some of the wonderful cover designs, for example We, Deathworld, Rork!, The Drowned World, Star Maker, The Evolution Man, Fifth Planet and Alternating Currents. They certainly don't make SF book jackets like they used to. All hundred plus covers can also be browsed alphabetically by author. [via The Guardian Books Blog]
posted by Kattullus on May 7, 2009 - 25 comments

Anaïs Nin

As I read Incest, I realized that something which I had always taken to be unique, the voice of Myra Breckinridge, was actually that of Anaïs in all the flowing megalomania of the diaries. - Gore Vidal, Palimpsest - pg. 108 [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on May 6, 2009 - 12 comments

"Chinese poetry, as we know it today, is something invented by Ezra Pound." - T. S. Eliot

[Ezra Pound] worked on and for poetry as others might work on a major scientific discovery or a drawn-out military mission. Thus, as Sieburth reminds us in his introduction to The Pisan Cantos, when, on May 3, 1945, Pound was arrested at his home in the hills above Rapallo, he immediately put a small Chinese dictionary and a copy of the Confucian classics in his pocket. Working as he then was on his Confucian translations, he knew that, wherever the military police were taking him, he would need these books.
From Pound Ascendant by Marjorie Perloff. Ezra Pound's ability as a translator of Chinese poetry has long been disparaged by sinologists, such as George A. Kennedy in Fenollosa, Pound and the Chinese Character. Other academics have sought to defend him. Two examples are Zhaoming Qian's Ezra Pound's encounter with Wang Wei: toward the "ideogrammic method" of the Cantos and Stephen Tapscott's In Praise of Bad Translations: Ezra Pound and the Cultural Work of Translation (pdf). Eric Hayot draws the contours of this long-running debate and explores its significance in Critical Dreams: Orientalism, Modernism, and the Meaning of Pound's China. Pound's Cathay in full and a public domain audiobook version (iTunes link).
posted by Kattullus on Apr 30, 2009 - 16 comments

Nabokov's unfinished final novel to be published

The wait is over! Random House will publish Vladimir Nabokov's unfinished novel, The Original of Laura: (Dying Is Fun), on November 3, 2009, with "removable facsimiles of the index cards" on which the novel was written. As previously discussed on MetaFilter, Dmitri Nabokov's decision to publish the unfinished novel against his father's wishes has been controversial, but the BBC has already called it the "literary event of 2009".
posted by Houyhnhnm on Apr 29, 2009 - 58 comments

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