There was a moment when I was reading The Iliad that I thought to myself, “This is it. This is what the epic is really all about.” Somehow it all seemed to come down to one particular scene and all the rest was just leading up to it. Why I had that epiphany, I’ll explain in due course. But what struck me is that the real message of this epic poem was almost hidden by all the thousands of lines … click below for more!
Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Thus begins the 1897 translation by Samuel Butler of Homer’s Odyssey. It’s just one of more than 60 translations of the book into English since the first in 1615, including one by T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) in 1932. Odysseus — Ulysses in the Latin form — mythical king of Ithaca, is a complex protagonist; sometimes hero, … click below for more!
I am going to assume that you, dear reader, already know who Marcus Aurelius Antonius was. I have respect for both the intelligence and education of my readers, enough to feel I can avoid making pedantic explanations and reiterating his biography that is more fluently available on dozens or hundreds of better, more encyclopedic websites. No, this is not a treatise on him, or even on his Stoic philosophy. It’s a look at how six different translators rendered some parts … click below for more!
Animal Fairm is a 2022 translation into Scots of George Orwell’s classic satire on Stalinist (and in far too many ways, modern conservative) politics and ideology. As the cover of this edition says, it was “translatit intae Scots by Thomas Clark.” I recently purchased the book for my reading entertainment. And quickly discovered it’s so delightful that it makes me want to read more of and learn more about the language. The book is published by Luath Press, in Edinburgh. … click below for more!
Christians pray to Jesus, but get no reply. They pray to Jesus for parking spaces closer to the mall, to win the lottery, to make their boss disappear, to lose weight, to restore Donald Trump to his lost presidency, for their kids to win the little league game, for better business sales, and other really important stuff. And yet nothing ever happens. But would you respond if someone called you by another name? If your name was, say, Bob, or … click below for more!
As I promised in a previous post, here’s my almost certainly true and accurate explanation of why the language you’re reading now is the result of one man’s writing back in the 14th century. Yes, of course, I mean Chaucer; author of The Canterbury Tales. Thanks to him, you’re reading this in modern English. In his day, there wasn’t a cohesive form of English, but rather several dialects that were all Middle English (see map); each was influenced by its own … click below for more!
I received a couple of new Chaucer books recently and, despite my love of reading Chaucer, frankly, I was disappointed by both. My expectations for both greatly exceeded what little joy I received from them. I was deeply disappointed by both. And I’m here to tell you why. Let me back up a bit, before I get into my reviews. I have a couple of dozen books by or about Chaucer and his language on my bookshelves, which suggests he … click below for more!
I can’t recall just when I first encountered haiku, that subtle, concise and often baffling Japanese poetry, but I suspect it was sometime in the late 1960s, not long after I was first introduced to Buddhism. I recall having the four-volume set of seasonal haiku by Blyth back in those days, but long since gone from my library for reasons I can no longer fathom. I’ve had several other books of haiku on my shelves since then, and turn to … click below for more!
I am deeply disappointed in the quality of these two ERB books received from Amazon yesterday in my efforts to complete my collection of Burroughs’ novels. Both are noted as “Manufactured by Amazon.ca” in Bolton, ON. Production quality is poor, particularly in the designs and layout: they are more like amateur efforts than professional publications. The Jungle Adventures book from “Premium Classics Books” (no address is indicated anywhere) is not only too big for comfortable reading (8.5 x 11″), the … click below for more!
As some readers here know, I’ve been a lifelong aficionado of Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB, born 1875), particularly of his Barsoom (Mars) series, but also his Pellucidar and Caspak series. Well, I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of them, including, of course, the iconic Tarzan novels for which he is best known. Okay, maybe not so much his westerns (but then, I was never a fan of that genre). Burroughs wrote about 100 titles (and more information on them is here) … click below for more!
With possibly two new Godzilla films coming to theatres in 2023*, it may be time to refresh your memory and appreciation of the previous films in the franchise. And what better way to do it than with a brand-new book about them? And perhaps re-reading some of the content in your older book and movie collection (especially that Criterion Collection of the first 15 Godzilla films on Blu-Ray — see below — which you can start watching now to build … click below for more!
Among my shelves of books on baking bread by hand, is a smaller selection of books about using a bread machine to craft loaves and other items. I admit I’ve been somewhat lax in my creative uses of the bread machine, using it only to bake somewhat plain, whole loaves when I wasn’t up to or able to bake one entirely by hand. The results, I also admit, have been somewhat mixed, in large part because I tend to experiment … click below for more!
Making bread is a small passion of mine, has been for many years as readers here will know*, although the results of my efforts do not always match my optimism. It’s always a bit of a guessing game what will result when I put the dough in the oven. That doesn’t stop me from trying, though, and I thoroughly enjoy the tactile process of making the bread, even if the end result is occasionally more brick-like than loaf-like. There’s something … click below for more!
I was browsing online recently because I wanted to order another book of Horace’s Odes or maybe his Epistles in my efforts to understand and appreciate the poet more fully. I was scrolling through the always-poorly organized list of items on Amazon’s search page results (selected, it seems, mostly to promote a wide range of unrelated rubbish they want to offload…). Some titles caught my eye (wanting more books is a longtime obsession… and owning many translations of the same … click below for more!