Beowulf and Other Literary Links

Here’s an article that waxes effusive about digitizing books and making them available on the internet. And here’s a related piece about scanning 19th century works to preserve them and make them more widely available.

— The latest installment of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen gets a disappointing review.

— Would you like to read a review of Umberto Eco’s On Ugliness? Now you can.

— Is the new movie version of Beowulf going to suck? I’m not sure… I saw a preview for it in the theater not too long ago and I think I said “Oh God” and not in a good way. There’s some speculation on it here. Also, some English professors weigh in.

— Simon Armitage has written a new translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

— Poet Laureate Charles Simic on Oak Park.

New biography of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Reviewing reviewers at Pop Matters.

Ms. has its 35th anniversary. Feministing pulls some interesting statistics.

— Trying to pull a fast one with the title of Memories of My Melancholy Whores didn’t save Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s book from being banned in Iran.

— Here’s an interesting little article about myths.

— And finally, what five books would you take with you to a desert island?

12 Responses

  1. Five books for a desert
    Five books for a desert island?

    In no particular order:

    Joyce – Ulysses
    Miller – Tropic of Cancer
    Cervantes – Don Quixote
    Stendhal – The Red and the Black
    Proust – In Search of Lost Time
    Beckett- Trilogy (in single volume)

    Cheating a bit on the Proust -(multi-volume).

  2. High Five1. Bible – goes
    High Five

    1. Bible – goes without saying
    2. Anything by Steinbeck
    3. Anything by Hemingway
    4. Cold Mountain – Charles Frazier (or Thirteen Moons, which I loved as well.)
    5. Blue Highways – William Least Heat Moon (Don’t laugh. If you’re an OTR fan, you should read it. Mesmerizing is all I can say.)

  3. It’s nice to hear that
    It’s nice to hear that somebody liked Thirteen Moons. Maybe I’ll give it another chance.

  4. Desert IslandI second Dan in
    Desert Island

    I second Dan in my number 1
    1. In Search of Lost Time, Proust
    2. The Magic Mountain Thomas Mann
    3. Look Homeward Angel Thomas Wolfe
    4. Naked Lunch W.S. Burroughs
    5. Walden, H. D. Thoreau. a tip of the hat to Levi

    What happens if the boat doesn’t come for a while? Re-read 1.

  5. My Five plus Two CentsI keep
    My Five plus Two Cents

    I keep thinking of different books, but they all seem irrelevant without the rest of the world.

    I mean, why read Walden all alone on a desert island? What part of civilization am I going to eschew?

    And writers like Philip K. Dick, Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, and Steve Aylett get me psyched up to write about what the future will be like in terms of humans: physical, emotional, sociological, and spiritual. If I was never going to see other people again, what point is there? Unless I could also have paper and empty bottles with tight corks, so I could send out pages of my own writing. And ink made from berries or something. Maybe my own blood. But no, sharks would eat it.

    Having said all that, I know that as a human being, I would crave the actual holding and reading of real words on real pages. So.

    (1) Minn of the Mississippi, because it has good illustrations as well as a good, timeless story.

    (2) The Bible. It just has everything in it and it’s very long and varied, with probably every plot that ever existed, somewhere in there. I could make up extra shit like Cecil B. DeMille. And, it has been a very important book for helping me thru some hard times.

    (3) Ulysses. Fuck it, I’ll finally finish the damn thing. All the time in the world, y’know.

    (4)Screaming Plants, Ravenous Crocodiless, Nocturnal Carnivores, and Other Horrors of Island Life, by Dr. Olsen Archer

    (5) Sketches of a Return Journey by Jamelah Earle.

  6. Beowulf — brainlessly
    Beowulf — brainlessly brilliant

    Saw an advance screening of “Beowulf” last Tuesday. All English professors in the theater are going to have conniptions, I’m sure (it is to medieval literature as “300” was to Classical studies), but it was just an enjoyably dumb, shiny piece of garbage — and I mean garbage of the highest order. I loved it in spite of myself.

    And compared to the countless other massacres Hollywood has perpetrated on classic literature, I think this one ranks quite low. Yes, “Beowulf” is a canonical text, but compared to the Greek and Roman (and even German) epics out there, its status seems based more on its high action quotient and age than literary merit. I mean, “Beowulf” is the oldest work of British literature, and “Crazy Blues” is the oldest recorded jazz song. That doesn’t make either of them masterpieces.

    If you’re a stickler for authenticity, then good God, stay away. But I’ll take this over a moribund, ploddingly faithful literary adaptation (cough, “Atonement,” cough) any day.

  7. Yeah, I didn’t understand all
    Yeah, I didn’t understand all the trashing that happened to that novel. I think it’s a jealousy thing. Anyway, I thought it was just as rich as Cold Mountain, though I liked Cold a smidge better.

  8. haven’t a clueI read
    haven’t a clue

    I read ‘admiring Updike admiring Murakami’ and I haven’t a clue what that article is about. There’re a lot of names, a lot of names. There’re ideas about dreams and religion. But there doesn’t seem to be any coherence. I’m not even sure who’s writing this – it’s either Updike, Hitchens, or somebody else.

  9. I just finished reading the
    I just finished reading the book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament. In the beginning of the book, Ezekiel has a vision of 4 living creatures floating in the air. Each has four wings, two of which cover their bodies, and two of which touch the wings of the other creatures. Each creature has two legs with the foot of a calf. Each has four heads – a lion, an eagle, an ox and a man. Beside each of the creatures is a wheel within a wheel.In the midst of the living creatures is something that flashes fire like hot coals. And whenever the creatures move, the wheel within a wheel moved also.

    How trippy is that!

  10. Man, this is really weird. I
    Man, this is really weird. I was reading that SAME EXACT thing in Ezekiel yesterday! I’m not kidding.

  11. I’m gonna take the complete
    I’m gonna take the complete works of Don Eminizer, Levi Asher, Bill Ectric, Joe Ridgwell, and Tony O’Neill; and a lot of writing paper. Is there gonna be a sultry young female on my island?

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