Tag Archives: culture

How Are Posh Men Educated?

…The vanities of posh men… centre on an ancient system that trains a narrow caste of people to run our affairs…. Ever questing to penetrate British lingo, I wobble over “public” versus “private” education in the kingdom’s parlance. In my … Continue reading

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‘Miner of Difficult Truths’

I can study all day Alice Neel’s brushwork and modeling of flesh and features, how she gestures at her subjects’ surroundings with casual precision. Her “Carmen and Judy” has a frank, womanly exactness and searing intimacy that The New Yorker’s … Continue reading

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Native ‘Son’

A chance juxtaposition of readings* has suggested to me the perennial nature of America’s brutish policing streak. In 1941, Richard Wright’s manuscript novel “The Man Who Lived Underground” is rejected by publishers who are made queasy over scenes of violence: … Continue reading

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‘Cry of Pain’

Housman’s “To an Athlete Dying Young” ruefully ironizes over a lad clever enough to “slip betimes away / From fields where glory does not stay.” Novelists, though, get more mileage out of superannuated jocks — Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom, Malamud’s Roy … Continue reading

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‘Inter faeces et urinam nascimur’

“Between feces and urine we are born,” said Augustine in the 4th century. The bishop of Hippo’s take on parturition was that our mothers effectively defecate us from their feculent crannies. Doctrine on sex and love handed down by dour … Continue reading

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Story Power

There is one form of power that has fascinated me ever since I was a girl… the power of storytelling. In this May, 2019 essay, novelist Elena Ferrante writes that the “Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) made a great impression … Continue reading

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The Humble Art

I support the premise, aspirationally, that translation “involves being a writer,” to quote this article. The premise piggybacks on something I took on board long ago — that the first asset of a capable translator is to write well in … Continue reading

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‘Ethics of Translation’ (?)

As a presumptive translator I’m nagged by a sense of straying where I don’t belong. Where is my writ to translate into a non-native language, for example? I didn’t suck Spanish from mother’s teat. How can I possibly match what … Continue reading

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A Whiff of Wittgenstein

“For a healthy politics to flourish it needs reference points outside itself — reference points of truth and a conception of the common good… When everything becomes political, that is the end of politics.” Making everything politics “totally distorts your … Continue reading

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Au Revoir, Dr. Ferlinghetti

“In some ways what I really did was mind the store,” he told The Guardian in 2006. “When I arrived in San Francisco in 1951 I was wearing a beret. If anything I was the last of the bohemians rather … Continue reading

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