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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Edgar Alan Poe, Sonnet—To Science (and French rendering by Stéphane Mallarmé)

(image source: ebooks, adelaide)
no copyright infringement intended

a swan song of romanticism in front of the inexpiable march of science

Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
   Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart,
   Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
   Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
   Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car,
   And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
   Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

Science, tu es la vraie fille du vieux temps,
qui changes toutes choses pour ton œil scrutateur.
Pourquoi fais-tu ta proie ainsi du cœur du poète.
Vautour dont les ailes sont de ternes réalités ?
Comment t’aimerait-il ? ou te jugerait-il sage,
toi qui ne le laisserait point, dans la promenade de son vol,
chercher un trésor dans les cieux pleins de joyaux,
encore qu’il y soit monté d’une aile indomptée.
N’as-tu pas arraché Diane à son char ?
et chassé du bois l’Hamadryade
qui cherche un refuge dans quelque plus heureux astre ?
N’as-tu pas banni de son flot la Naïade, du vert gazon, l’Elfe
et moi des rêves d’été sous le tamarin.
(traduction en prose par Stéphane Mallarmé, Léon Vanier, libraire-éditeur)
(source: wikipedia)

(Edgar Allan Poe)


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Nora Ephron, My Life as an Heiress

Nora Ephron
(source: The Strong Women's Club)
no copyright infringement intended

In October 2010 The NewYorker published a wonderful story written by Nora Ephron, about a will that wouldn't:

(A Life in Books)

The Political Landscape Has a New Architecture

the four plus or minus two or three American narratives
(source: blog of Yastreblyansky)
no copyright infringement intended

Two articles deserving a discussion: The Four American Narratives (David Brooks in NY Times) and The New Class War (Michael Lind in American Affairs). Let me add to this that some time ago Aaron Astor made on his Facebook page a subtle distinction between left versus right globalism and left versus right populism. If I find it I will put it here. I should come back to all this.

(Zoon Politikon)

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The hidden letters of Juan Ramón and Zenobia

letter from the poet to his wife
(source: El País)
no copyright infringement intended

He could look like a sad man with a single dowry: his poetic genius. She revealed herself as a woman ahead of her time: cheerful, flirty, polyglot, car lover, sparkling for business and irresistibly attracted by him.

Él podía parecer un triste empecinado con una única dote: su genialidad poética. Ellas se revelaba como una mujer adelantada a su tiempo: alegre, coqueta, políglota, amante de los coches, con chispa para los negocios y atraída irresistiblemente por él (El País).

(Juan Ramón Jiménez)


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Andrew O'Hagan, Who's the Real Cunt?

Andrew O'Hagan
(image source: The Telegraph)
no copyright infringement intended

It starts like one of those old stories, you know, long time ago, when the Norsemen were saying kunta, and the Danes said kunte (pretty close, ha?), and the word was not yet known in Albion. Then it came on the island, and in 1230 a street in Oxford was named Gropecunt Lane. People were using the word just matter of fact, only then it began to be used more and more in anger or in spite (Mexicans would say in such occasions pinche madre, or even pinche madre cabron). And the story of Andrew O'Hagan switches quickly to our present times when journalists are vary casual about cunting headlines, or about loads of cunts, sometimes showers of cunts (wow!), and generally  so many people cunt this or cunt that. Here is the story, published in the London Review of Books:

(Andrew O'Hagan)


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Una pintura de Ma Yuan, y un antiguo poema anónimo

Ma Yuan, Scholar by a Waterfall (sec. XII-XIII)
(fuente: revista Descontexto)
no copyright infringement intended

Ma Yuan (c.1160/65 - 1225) fue un pintor chino de la dinastía Song. Sus obras se consideran entre las mejores de su tiempo.

Encontré en la revista Descontexto un poema chino anónimo, de los años 1000 a C., presentado por Juan Carlos Villavicencio. El poema es de 詩經 (Shi Jing, El libro de los Cantos - o de las Odas) - la primera antología de poesía china de los cuatro siglos que van desde el año 1000 al 600 a. C.

Como un bote danzando
donde sea que encuentre olas,
así a mi cama he sido
lanzado hacia el tormento donde
yazgo despierto largamente.
Ni el vino ni el juego
pueden aliviar mi gran dolor.

¡Oh, que mi corazón fuera un espejo
en el cual pudiera yo leer!
Acudí a mis hermanos
buscando ayuda y no encontré
nada sino ira.

Mi corazón no es una piedra
para hacer rodar a un lado;
mi corazón no es una alfombra
que pueda ser dejada aparte.

¿Qué he hecho tan mal? Si acaso me he equivocado,
les pido que me muestren mis errores.

Mi corazón está abatido por el pavor:
estoy rodeado
por el desdén de pequeños hombres.
Tanto tormento he visto,
tanta insolencia que he aguantado.
Me he hundido en pensamientos inútiles
y he despertado con el pecho destruido.

Oh, sol, oh, luna,
¿por qué han cambiado y se ven tan disminuidos?
Tanta pena en mi corazón
que se aferra como un vestido sin lavar.
Estoy cargado
de pensamientos vagos, y ya no puedo
desplegar mis alas para volar muy lejos.

(Juan Carlos Villavicencio)


Sunday, May 21, 2017

The History of Ozymandias (Shelley, Horace Smith, Petre Solomon)

Shelley, draft of Ozymandias
Bodleian Library, Oxford
(source: wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away

a-c-e b-d f-h g-j i-k-m l-n

Futility of any human endeavor. Hero or artist, greatness of history or perennial art (with all their love/hate details), the ultimate action of time marks them for oblivion.

My first encounter with the sonnet of Shelley was in a place I didn't expect to find it (or should I have been prepared to expect the unexpected?). It was in a book by Jared Diamond (The Third Chimpanzee), at the end of a chapter: a meditation on the way all human civilizations work for their destruction.

I had ordered that book from abroad, and while waiting for its arrival I started to read the Romanian translation. So I met firstly this sonnet in its Romanian version (a superb rendering, by Petre Solomon).

Mi-a povestit un călător venit
Dintr-un străvechi meleag: - Două picioare
De piatră-ntr-un deșert am întâlnit.
Alături, în nisip o față care,
Prin rânjetu-i pe gură-ncremenit,
Vădea că al ei sculptor deslușise
Acolo patimi, ce-au rămas întregi
Când inima ce le-a hrănit murise.
Pe soclu, limpezi, câteva cuvinte:
- „Sunt Ozymandias,  rege peste regi.
Priviți-mi opera grozavă!“
Nimic n-a mai rămas ca altădată,
Și peste tot gigantica epavă
Doar de nisipuri e împresurată.
(Opere alese, Percy Bysshe Shelley, editura ESPLA, București, 1977, p. 120, în traducerea lui Petre Solomon)

a-c-e b-d f-h g-j k-m l-n

Then I found the original, together with its competitor (Shelley and his friend Horace Smith had decided to work each one on the same theme, and the two sonnets were published in 1818 by The Examiner).

In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:—
"I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,
"The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
"The wonders of my hand."— The City's gone,—
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.

We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

a-d b-c-e-g f-h i-j-l k-m-n


(Petre Solomon)

Labels: , ,

Mario Vargas LLosa, El muro y el Flaco

Mario Vargas Llosa
(image source: Eavves)
no copyright infringement intended

More and more walls against fraudulent immigration and illegal traffic have the opposite effect: the prices requested by smugglers are soaring and their profits raise accordingly. As my grandma used to say, locks convince only the honest people.

(Mario Vargas Llosa)


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Las mangostas eran guapas (Junot Diaz)

ilustración de Tim Lahan
(fuente: NY Times Magazine)
no copyright infringement intended

Había mangostas por todas partes en la isla, y el niño habría querido tener uno como mascota. Solo eso era imposible, como le decía su abuelo, porque los jurones no pueden ser domados. Son guapo.

Una espléndida historia contada por Junot Díaz. Lo he leido hoy, en NY Times Magazine.

Y otra historia vino a mi mente, con un zorro esta vez. Me pasó a mi. Ya no era un niño, pero lo recuerdo con la misma nostalgia. Un pequeño universo de encanto, perdido para siempre. Los zorros pueden ser guapos también, ¿sabes?

(Junot Díaz)


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Indo-European Connection

(image source: The New Pagan Couple)
no copyright infringement intended

(A Life in Books)


Yester Vid, Oldest Footage of London Ever

Map of London
no copyright infringement intended

(Yester Vid)


Yester Vid

Yester Vid
no copyright infringement intended

(Early Movies)


El País: El Jalisco agonizante de Juan Rulfo

Dos vecinos de Tuxcacuesco, Jalisco
foto por Oswaldo Ramírez Sanchez
(fuente: El País)
no copyright infringement intended

La casa donde nació, en 1917, Juan Rulfo - el escritor que, en sus dos libros, le puso voz al silencio - es ahora un monasterio de clausura, un templo encomendado al silencio. Hay ocho monjes en total. Dice uno de ellos, sin palabras, sin ruido de escoba, o de zapatos: debemos afrontar el sufrimiento con serenidad, fe y silencio.

(Juan Rulfo)


Monday, May 15, 2017

Petre Solomon

Petre Solomon
(image source: Referate)
no copyright infringement intended

Reiau ce-am mai scris odată, se spune de obicei traduttore - traditore, dar Petre Solomon a tălmăcit în românește fără să trădeze spiritul celor traduși - a intrat în universul fiecăruia, și i-a retrăit pe fiecare dintre ei - a fost pe rând Mark Twain și Graham Greene, Juhan Smuul și Walter Scott, Ray Bradbury și Jack London, Herman Melville, Shelley, Rimbaud, Milton, și atâți alții.

(A Life in Books)


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley
portrait from 1819
National Portrait Gallery, London
(image source: wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

atheist, socialist, adept of free love, and one of the major Romantic poets; a key member of a close circle of visionary poets that included also Lord Byron; maybe for some of today's idiots all this smells anathema; thus I must humbly admit that I love his poetry; at least I am not alone, as he was also admired by such guys as Browning, Rossetti, Wilde, Hardy, Yeats, and Shaw (to name but a few); so if I were to be somehow punished I'd be in good company.

(A Life in Books)


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Forger

Adolfo Kaminsky and his daughter
(image source: The Daily Beast)
no copyright infringement intended

Ce blogposte est consacré à la mémoire de ma mère, Marie Banu, qui a participé à la Résistance française pendant la guerre et a sauvé beaucoup de personnes d'origine juive de la déportation

(Cinéma Français)

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Andrea Meller and Marisa Pearl, Hotel USA

Andrea Meller and Marisa Pearl
(image source: zimbio)
no copyright infringement intended

First night in America


Eliabeth Lo, Mother's Day

(image source: NBC News)
no copyright infringement intended

Elizabeth Lo's Mother's Day: a festive day celebrated each year throughout the United States; a special bus service takes children to visit their mothers serving prison time.

Elizabeth Lo, Mother's Day, 2017
official selection of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival
(source: NY Times)

(Elizabeth Lo)


Sunday, May 07, 2017

The French Runoff

(image source: Chiangrai Times)
no copyright infringement intended

Mario Vargas Llosa: El nacionalismo y el populismo han acercado a Francia al abismo en los últimos años, pero hoy con la derrota del Frente Nacional puede comenzar la recuperación (El País)

Yanis Varoufakis: My disagreements with Macron are legion; but our points of agreement are also important. We agree that the eurozone is unsustainable, but disagree about what should be done before the EU can put political union on the table. We agree that the single-minded pursuit of competitiveness is turning Europe into a zero-sum, beggar-thy-neighbour game, but disagree about how to bring about the large-scale investment needed to improve productivity (The Guardian)

Paul Krugman: it’s fair to ask a couple of questions about what’s going on. First, how did things get to this point? Second, would a Le Pen defeat be anything more than a temporary reprieve from the ongoing European crisis? We should be terrified at the possibility of a Le Pen victory. But we should also be worried that a Macron victory will be taken by Brussels and Berlin to mean that Brexit was an aberration, that European voters can always be intimidated into going along with what their betters say is necessary (NY Times)

(Mario Vargas Llosa)

(Zoon Politikon)

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 05, 2017

Petre Leșcenco, Скажите почему (Spune-mi de ce?)

Petre Leșcenco (Пётр Лещенко)
(image source: wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

Скажите почему / Spune-mi de ce? / Tell me Why, Madame?
Oskar Strok's famous tango
images from the Bucharest of the thirties
(video by 240252)

(Les Troubadours du Temps Jadis)

Mario Vargas Llosa: El libro produce espíritu crítico, la pantalla no

Benefits of Downloading Free Electronic Books
(source: techgon)
no copyright infringement intended

I have always considered the apparition of free electronic books as a blessing: there are so many books that I wanted badly to read, and I could have not found otherwise - either out of stock, or impossible to order from any place, and so on and so forth. Well, I can tell you stories after stories about books that I had been looking for, I was not finding them, I was saved by the Internet, happy ending. Plus other advantages: you open the book on your browser, you open in parallel a glossary or a map (or both), and you are the man.

Well, Mario Vargas Llosa thinks otherwise and he has a good point: the printing industry and the internet target different categories of public, with the Internet being more popular, thus more commercial. Browsing the bookstores in search of a good book produces different results than browsing the web: el libro produce espíritu crítico, la pantalla no (here Llosa in a discussion with Jorge Edwards Valdés at the Feria del Libro de Buenos Aires).

(Mario Vargas Llosa)


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Brechtian Moment. A Poem in Two Renderings

Bertolt Brecht
(image source: Descontexto)
no copyright infringement intended

Fragen eines lesenden Arbeiters

Wer baute das siebentorige Theben?
In den Büchern stehen die Namen von Königen.
Haben die Könige die Felsbrocken herbeigeschleppt?
Und das mehrmals zerstörte Babylon
Wer baute es so viele Male auf? In welchen Häusern
Des goldstrahlenden Lima wohnten die Bauleute?
Wohin gingen an dem Abend, wo die Chinesische Mauer fertig war
Die Maurer? Das große Rom
Ist voll von Triumphbögen. Wer errichtete sie? Über wen
Triumphierten die Cäsaren? Hatte das vielbesungene Byzanz
Nur Paläste für seine Bewohner? Selbst in dem sagenhaften Atlantis
Brüllten in der Nacht, wo das Meer es verschlang
Die Ersaufenden nach ihren Sklaven.

Der junge Alexander eroberte Indien.
Er allein?
Cäsar schlug die Gallier.
Hatte er nicht wenigstens einen Koch bei sich?
Philipp von Spanien weinte, als seine Flotte
Untergegangen war. Weinte sonst niemand?
Friedrich der Zweite siegte im Siebenjährigen Krieg. Wer
Siegte außer ihm?

Jede Seite ein Sieg.
Wer kochte den Siegesschmaus?
Alle zehn Jahre ein großer Mann.
Wer bezahlte die Spesen?

So viele Berichte.
So viele Fragen.

Bilder: Werner Tübke
Rezitation: Corinna Kirchhoff
aus dem Hörwerk „Lauter Lyrik – der Hör-Conrady
(video by wortlover)

Preguntas de un obrero que lee

¿Quién construyó Tebas la de las Siete puertas?
En los libros se alzan los nombres de los reyes.
¿Arrastraron los reyes los bloques de piedra?
Y la tantas veces destruida Babilonia,
¿Quién la construyó una y otra vez? ¿En qué casas
De Lima que irradian oro vivían los obreros que construyen?
¿A dónde fueron por la tarde los albañiles al dar por terminada
La gran muralla china? La gran Roma
Está llena de arcos de triunfo. ¿Sobre quiénes
Triunfaron los césares? ¿Tenía Bizancio, tantas veces cantada,
Sólo palacios para sus habitantes? Lo mismo en la fabulosa Atlántida,
Que igual rugía la noche en que se la tragó el mar.
Los que se ahogaron aullaban reclamando esclavos.
El joven Alejandro conquistó la India.
¿Él solo?
César abatió a los galos.
¿No tenía siquiera un cocinero consigo?
Felipe de España lloró, mientras su flota
Se hundía. ¿No lloró acaso nadie?
Federico II venció en la Guerra de Siete años. ¿Quién
Ganó fuera de él?
Cada página una victoria.
¿Quién cocinó el festín de la victoria?
Cada diez años un gran hombre.
¿Quién pagó la cuenta?

Tantas actas,
Tantas preguntas.
(© Traducción de Juan Carlos Villavicencio)
(fuente: Descontexto)

(Quelle: Fragen eines lesenden Arbeiters)
no copyright infringement intended

Questions from A Worker Who Reads

Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
In the books you will find the name of kings.
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
And Babylon, many times demolished.
Who raised it up so many times? In what houses
Of gold-glittering Lima did the builders live?
Where, the evening that the Wall of China was finished
Did the masons go? Great Rome
Is full of triumphal arches. Who erected them? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in song,
Only palaces for its inhabitants? Even in fabled Atlantis
The night the ocean engulfed it
The drowning still bawled for their slaves.

The young Alexander conquered India.
Was he alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Did he not have even a cook with him?
Philip of Spain wept when his armada
Went down. Was he the only one to weep?
Frederick the Second won the Seven Years' War. Who
Else won it?

Every page a victory.
Who cooked the feast for the victors?
Every ten years a great man.
Who paid the bill?

So many reports.
So many questions.
(© translated by Michael Hamburger)

(Bertolt Brecht)

(Juan Carlos Villavicencio)

(Michael Hamburger)

Labels: , ,

Michael Hamburger

Michael Hamburger
(source: biblio-list)
no copyright infringement intended

born in Berlin in a Jewish family that emigrated to UK in 1933 and settled in London; known for his English renderings of German poetry (Hölderlin, Celan, Brecht, among others), while his original poetry (created in English) became known more due to its German rendering (by the Austrian Peter Waterhouse); so it goes; anyway, his well deserved reputation as a translator brought injustice to the connaissance of his own poems; he was also a noted literary critic, memoirist, and academic.

(A Life in Books)

(German and Nordic Literature)