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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Blog entries on '06 September 2005'

Tuesday 06 September 2005

Pinsky on David

Robert Pinsky is one of the best translators of Dante around (check out "his" Inferno). Out in a couple of weeks is his The Life of David (Random House).


Poet, warrior, and king, David has loomed large in myth and legend through the centuries, and he continues to haunt our collective imagination, his flaws and inconsistencies making him the most approachable of biblical heroes. Robert Pinsky, former poet laureate of the United States, plumbs the depths of David's life: his triumphs and his failures, his charm and his cruelty, his divine destiny and his human humiliations. Drawing on the biblical chronicle of David’s life as well as on the later commentaries and the Psalms — traditionally considered to be David's own words — Pinsky teases apart the many strands of David's story and reweaves them into a glorious narrative.


"In conjunction with the book’s release, Nextbook.org has a related feature. There, you can read an interview with Pinsky about his examination of the Biblical hero and listen to podcasts of him discussing the work and reading from Samuel I."

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 06 September 2005

The Quarterly Conversation

Scott Esposito, of the excellent blog Conversational Reading, has just published the first "issue" of The Quarterly Conversation:


It includes book reviews (Devil Talk, The Breaking Point, Hardboiled & Hard Luck, and A Field Guide to Getting Lost), an interview with Banana Yoshimoto's English translator, and an essay by none other than Dan Wickett ... This is meant to be an adjunct to this blog, a place perhaps slightly more suited to interviews, book reviews, and such than in this space. It's meant to be read and viewed like a web magazine (as opposed to a blog), although there is space for comments, if anyone is so inclined.


Looks good Scott! Good luck with it.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 06 September 2005

Politics and the English Language

From George Orwell's 1946 essay Politics and the English Language:


Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Serendipoetry

Omens, after Alexander Pushkin

I rode to meet you: dreams
like living beings swarmed around me
and the moon on my right side
followed me, burning.

I rode back: everything changed.
My soul in love was sad
and the moon on my left side
trailed me without hope.

To such endless impressions
we poets give ourselves absolutely,
making, in silence, omen of mere event,
until the world reflects the deepest needs of the soul.

-- Louise Gluck
Averno (Carcanet Press)

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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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