Tag archive for english literature (RSS)

Langston Hughes in Spain

Posted: October 1st 2011 17:51. Last modified: October 1st 2011 18:08

Idealism vs realism as a Stalinist hack copes with the Italian bombing of Barcelona but struggles to explain why Moorish peasants are slaughtering Spanish workers in the battle for Madrid.

Alectryon, the Ancient Greek model for our cuckold’s horns?

Posted: April 16th 2010 18:15. Last modified: April 17th 2010 11:42

With a field study of the nymphomaniacs of Goa and brief notes on the early history of composite grafts.

Garzón and the Batman theory of justice

Posted: April 13th 2010 13:34. Last modified: April 14th 2010 11:44

The relative awfulness of, and defining differences between, English and Spanish justice.

Rhyme vs reason

Posted: October 4th 2009 18:05. Last modified: October 4th 2009 18:24

Restif de la Bretonne goes one step beyond Shakespeare and says that poetry is the language of Gods and beasts, and that reason speaks in prose.

The lurch and fall of the Almería coast

Posted: September 5th 2009 11:04. Last modified: September 5th 2009 11:11

Excerpts from Juan Goytisolo and Ramón Fernández Palmeral, with an epitaph from George Orwell.

The universality of bu/bo/boo

Posted: August 16th 2009 20:26.

The strange shrieks of theatrical monsters often don't require translation.

Mole models in Cervantes

Posted: April 9th 2009 17:43. Last modified: August 31st 2009 10:23

From saviour to saved to savoury: the de-/remystification of bodily imperfection.

Macbitch in Paris

Posted: November 20th 2008 11:24.

CC says that Telva says that Jaume Plensa is simply panting to design some sets for Verdi's Macbetch. I blame Telva's legions of copy editors this time--they get Toulouse wrong too--but there's no reason why not: "So this is the story of Lady Macbitch and her husband. The Queen stimulates herself with the props of […]

Here’s looking at you, lunch

Posted: August 29th 2008 16:58. Last modified: August 29th 2008 17:06

I think it's actually a slow worm, but here's Thomas Decker's Honest whore anyway: Lord Hippolito. Scarce can I read the stories on your brow, Which age hath writ there: you look youthful still. Orlando Friscobaldo. I eat snakes, my Lord, I eat snakes. My heart shall never have a wrinkle in it, so long […]

I met man who almost killed Orwell

Posted: April 1st 2008 08:11.

Sez No Good Boyo: "If you’d known who he was, would you have killed him?" "Of course. He was fifth-columnist, Trotsky-Maxtonite traitor to worker class. My boys would have tattooed hammer and sickle on his head with bullets. We had many. Soviet economy strong."

Some more sun goddesses

Posted: January 16th 2008 14:48. Last modified: May 12th 2009 19:02

The other day I did a libertarian Raval tour with a particularly dangerous Californian sociologist, and we got onto Orwell's apparent incapacity to see the most recent civil war as anything but a class conflict betrayed. This despite ethnic-based stuff like the vicious mini-civil war between Catalan fascists associated with Estat Català and self-described communist […]

Daniel Heinsius’ solitary phoenix and the final words of the beastly bookseller of Barcelona

Posted: July 9th 2007 20:58. Last modified: July 9th 2007 21:38

In 1927 the Catalan literary researcher and writer, Ramon Miquel i Planas (1874-1950; henceforth MiP) wrote a little book, published in a bibliophile edition, called La llegenda del llibreter assassí. In it he reflects on the origins and recycling of "Le bibliomane ou le nouveau Cardillac", an anonymous tale published as if true in 1836 […]

The demon barber of Calais, a 17th century Sweeney Todd

Posted: November 13th 2006 16:55. Last modified: November 13th 2006 17:17

I believe the current early chronology of versions containing all the basic motifs is as follows: Joseph Fouché was a politician and administrator, and the delightfully wicked creator under Bonaparte of something vaguely resembling the modern police service. According to PBS, he wrote in something called Archives of the police of a series of murders […]

Fact-dodging Geoff Nunberg

Posted: July 17th 2006 11:39. Last modified: July 17th 2006 23:31

Sez he: The fact is that the right owns those object+present participle compounds, as surely as it owns values, media bias, the lapel-pin flag, and sentences that begin with "See...." In fact you could trace the whole history of the right's campaigns against liberals via those compounds -- from tree-hugging and NPR-listening back through the […]

Silvester Paradox meets Mr Macbeth

Posted: June 14th 2006 17:30. Last modified: January 16th 2012 01:14

This is the promised translation of the chapter in Pío Baroja’s serialised novel The adventures, inventions and mystifications of Silvester Paradox / Aventuras, inventos y mixtificaciones de Silvestre Paradox (1901) in which Silvester takes up with an English conman, quack, amateur pugilist and exponent of inventions such as the translatoscope called Macbeth. The source is […]

Treatment of incontinence

Posted: June 13th 2006 19:14. Last modified: January 9th 2010 16:11

It may not have worked, but nineteenth century medicine often sounds rather fun. This from An Epitome of Braithwaite's Retrospect of practical medicine and surgery (1860): M. Lallemand, of Montpellier, has great confidence in aromatic bitters, to which a small portion of brandy has been added, followed by active friction of the loins... As internal […]

North-South synergy

Posted: June 7th 2006 17:33. Last modified: June 7th 2006 17:44

I obviously don't subscribe to this kind of over-familiar nonsense, but here anyway is Dickens in Household words (via Google Print) in 1856: There have not been wanting theorists who have recognised in the apparently constant opposition of the north and south a kind of natural law, by which both are destined to be regulated, […]

The humourless German, © German nationalists

Posted: May 24th 2006 16:27. Last modified: May 24th 2006 16:32

This is re Margaret's post re Stewart Lee's. The first references I know to the stereotype are not British but are to be found in the early German romantics. They note (1), as does Lee, the various expressive possibilities afforded by various languages; (2) the failure of German writers to exploit these former to the […]


Posted: May 24th 2006 10:40. Last modified: October 18th 2007 15:28

Two Italian bodybuilders in the gym, one lifting great heaps of metal while the other stands over him and shouts in his ear things like: "STUFF YOUR DICK IN YOUR MOUTH, WHORESON" and "I FACK YOUR MOTHER". I wonder if the Italian army is like this. (It is a common misconception that the first hint […]

Mock Welsh

Posted: May 10th 2006 12:49. Last modified: May 10th 2006 12:50

Benjamin Zimmer links to a paper by Jane H Hill on Mock Spanish (with references to Jocular Yiddish, and others). I wonder how much of this is applicable to the experience of Welsh immigrants to Renaissance London, with a context that included repressive cultural legislation and the use of caricatural Welsh English (eg devoiced initial […]


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