Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Current Favourite Sentence

At 15, Byrne happened to walk behind two miniskirted girls going up the stairs on a bus and realised there were some requirements of the priesthood he'd never be able to follow, and so he returned to Ireland.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Current Favourite Sentence

The formula CH3CH2CH2CH2OH looks to a non-chemist like the first line of a concrete poem about a train crash, but tells the chemist the structure of n-butyl alcohol (which leaves the rest of us no wiser).

Marjorie Boulton (1924- ); or, Why I don't get along with magic realism

"We enjoy suspense; but for real suspense there must be causality. If a man in a thriller is tied to a chair with a bombfuse lighted on the table and a cobra on the floor, we know certain possibilities: he may free himself, his captor or someone else may free him; otherwise, the snake may bite him, or not; the bomb may explode, or not, and so on; our interest is in which possible alternative may occur. But if he is imprisoned in a room with cheese walls, from which turtles and sticks of rhubarb pop out at intervals, he hears music in a twelve-tone scale coming out of soap teacups, he is tied up with spun sugar which he cannot break, the room is lit by burning icicles standing in candlesticks carved out of liver... real suspense is no longer possible; there are no probabilities. If we have no notion of what may happen next, we cannot have an interesting choice."

Marjorie Boulton, The Anatomy of the Novel (1975). Ms. Boulton, bless her little cotton socks, is also an important writer in Esperanto.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Nobel Prize 4: Frédéric Mistral (1830-1914) and José Echegaray y Eizaguirre (1832-1916)

D'aussi loin qu'il me souvienne, je vois devant mes yeux, au Midi là-bas, une barre de montagnes dont les mamelons, les rampes, les falaises et les vallons bleuissaient du matin aux vêpres, plus ou moins clairs ou foncés, en hautes ondes. C'est la chaîne des Alpilles, ceinturée d'oliviers comme un massif de roches grecques, un véritable belvédère de gloire et de légendes.

from Mes origines: Mémoires et récits (1906)

MARGARITA.-(Asomada al balcón; luego, se retira.) El sol desciende; la tarde acaba; cada vez parecen más oscuras las aguas del lago y menos transparente el azul del cielo. ¡Otro día sin verle! ¡Ah Conrado, mucha crueldad es la tuya si en ti consiste la tardanza!, y si en él no consiste, ¿por qué, Dios mío, no escuchas mi ruego? ¡Era yo tan feliz a su lado! ¡Qué alegría cuando llegaba el domingo y escapábamos de Ginebra, después de oír misa en la capilla secreta de Roger, y él, y yo, con Berta y con Jacobo, íbamos por esos campos a los valles, a las lomas; donde no hay ni odios, ni luchas, ni salmos que hielan, ni pregones que espantan, ni calvinistas de traje oscuro y rostro sombrío! ¡Desde que se marchó Conrado me parece haber caído en un abismo sin aire y sin luz! Y luego ese Walter..., ¡que recobre la salud, Dios mío, y que nos deje!... ¡Que huya, que huya de esta casa ese infame calvinista!

from La muerte en los labios (1880)

Next time: Henryk Sienkiewicz

Chéri Samba (1956- )

More information here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Colwyn Thomas (c. 1975- )

His official website is here.

At the Mountains of Madness...

... the graphic novel! By I.N.J. Culbard. A very precious present from my brother Ben. More info about where some of the ideas for the images come from here.

E. Arnot Robertson (1903-1961)

More info, as always, here.

Tim Hetherington (1970-2011)

More info here and here. And here, and in all the other major news outlets.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Сергей Юрьенен, Дочь Генерального Секретаря (1999)

The first footnote here is my current absolute favourite example of Russian prudishness.