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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Edgar Alan Poet, 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)

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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)