I got this ages back from Arc Manor, who send a free ebook monthly to subscribers. I realised pretty early on that I would never have time to read them so I think this is the only one I have downloaded.
Plenty of quotes from Sir Nicholas White, though he fades out of the story without explanation at the point of Sir John Perrot's imprisonment and death.
The Amending Bill and the whole Irish business are, of course, put into the shade by the coming war, for it now seems as if nothing but a miracle will avert it. After dinner I went across to E[dward] Grey and sat with him and Haldane till 1 a.m.; talking over the situation and trying to discover bridges and outlets. It is one of the ironies of the case that we, being the only Power who has made so much as a constructive suggestion in the direction of peace, are blamed by both Russia and Germany for causing the outbreak of war.
Gosh. Difficult to know where to start or finish with this very disturbing book about a group of people who are brought together by their sexual interest in car crashes. It's very grittily and credibly set in West London; the car crash scenes are somewhat more erotic than the sex scenes, which are full of somewhat disgusting detail; and the whole is awfully well done, but I'm not sure I would want to read it again, or that I would necessarily recommend it to anyone else.
A rather impressive little ebook from the BBC, downloadable from here - free to people in the UK until 31 July, the rest of us have to pay. Gavin Collinson has assembled the usual material, complete with video clips from both Old and New Who, about the Cybermen, and Joe Lidster supplies a suitably creepy story. Aimed at the 6-12s, but I was pretty satisfied with it myself. Apparently this is by way of being a pilot project to see if there is take-up for it; I hope there will be more.
- What Are You Reading? - Carnegie Europe
(tags: books )
- The Devil’s Crown: The Mystery and Majesty of a Lost BBC Series
Will be looking out for this.
(tags: history )
I thought this was a rather good Eighth Doctor adventure, with Team Tardis getting caught up in a complex struggle between time travellers seeking the eponymous artefact, the Doctor, Fitz and Anji each being subjected to separate but entertainingly appropriate adventures. Apparently this was a point when the series was winding down, but there seems to have been a bit of an uptick in quality.
- Virtual Sea Odyssey - The Burgess Shale
(tags: biology fossils )
- Key MH17 Crash Suspect Linked to Massacre of 3,000 Bosnian Muslims in 1992
Igor Strelkov's past.
(tags: bosnia russia ukraine )
- How to turn Barbies into Doctor Who Weeping Angels
Because you needed to know.
(tags: doctorwho )
- Teenage son discovers his deceased father's ghost car in Xbox rally game
(tags: death )
The second point is that one of the things that is known is that some grammatical elements are easier to learn than others. Take this list of English grammar points:
- present progressive –ing (Mommy running)
- plural –s (Two books)
- irregular past forms (Baby went)
- possessive 's (Daddy's hat)
- copula (Annie is happy)
- articles the and a
- regular past –ed (She walked)
- Third person singular simple present –s (She runs)
- Auxiliary be (He is coming)
I'd be hugely interested to know if anyone has tried researching such a table for cases other than English - looking at it, I thought immediately of Russian, which uses neither copula nor articles, but of course has numerous cases for nouns and distinguishes between transitive and intransitive verbs. Surely we could learn quite a lot about deep structure, including whether there is really much evidence for it in the first place, by comparing surveys like that across different (or indeed similar) languages?
Anyway, I shall continue the occasional browse of our language shelves.
- Alastair Campbell – why I love Jacques Brel
@campbellclaret shows good taste.
(tags: music )
- Behind the Scenes in Putin's Court
Excellent piece by Ben.
(tags: russia )
- Flight MH17: Putin’s disasters
Another piece by Ben.
(tags: russia ukraine )
- The Spanish government must find a positive message for Catalonia if it is to reduce support for Catalan independence
Good advice; not being followed.
(tags: catalonia )
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, by Maggie O'Farrell
The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch
Last books finished
[Doctor Who] So Vile a Sin, by Ben Aaronovitch and Kate Orman
How Languages are Learned, by Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada
Brussel in Beeldekes: Manneken Pis en andere sjarels, ed. Marc Verhaegen
Plastic Jesus, by Wayne Simmons
[Doctor Who] The Book of the Still, by Paul Ebbs
Doctor Who: Cybermen Monster File
Crash, by J.G. Ballard
Ireland Under The Tudors vol 3, by Richard Bagwell
Last week's audios
[Doctor Who] Destroy the Infinite, by Nicholas Briggs
current: [Bernice Summerfield] The Revolution, by Nev Fountain
Rogue Queen, by L. Sprague de Camp
334, by Tom Disch
Billionaire Boy, by Davd Walliams
- Who is to blame for Iraq’s problems?
In case you'd forgotten.
(tags: iraq )
- How the Israel-Palestine Peace Deal Died
(tags: middleeast )
- Dutch Foreign Minister on MH17 crash
"Did they look each other in the eyes one last time in a wordless goodbye?"
(tags: netherlands ukraine )
- Migration Stereotypes
Looking at the facts.
(tags: migration )
We also get "Sellic Spell", a reworking of the Beowulf story by Tolkien to get nearer what he would have liked the original version to be - a very interesting riff on ancient tales, which I think is in the same respectful spirit of innovation as, say, the 2005 Icelandic version starring Gerald Butler, or the 2007 Robert Zeleckis animated version whose script was co-written by Neil Gaiman. It's an interesting insight into how Tolkien conceived of story-telling, and a snapshot, or a series of snapshots, of his own take on the poem that inspired his best known academic work and clearly lay behind his writing.
Let's be clear, Seamus Heaney's 1999 translation is far superior, but also veers a little further from the original meaning, if creatively so. Here's a good example from lines 286-289 of the original, where the watchman on the beach resiles with dignity from his initially hostile reaction to Beowulf's arrival:
Weard maþelode, ðær on wicge sæt,Heaney's translation:
ombeht unforht: "æghwæþres sceal
scearp scyldwiga gescad witan,
worda ond worca, se þe wel þenceð."
Undaunted, sitting astride his horse,Tolkien:
The coast-guard answered, "Anyone with gumption
And a sharp mind will take the measure
Of two things: what’s said and what’s done.["]
The watchman spake, sitting there upon his steed, fearless servant of the king: ["]A man of keen wit who takes good heed will discern the truth in both words and deeds[."]Tolkien's lecture notes, recasting the spoken sentence:
"A man of acumen, who considers things properly, will naturally show discernment in judging words and deeds."Note the differences:
- Tolkien's translation is potentially ambiguous as to whether the watchman or the steed is the fearless servant of the king! His "fearless" is anyway not as good as Heaney's "undaunted", in that the original "unforht" clearly refers to the relationship between the speaker and Beowulf; Heaney's coast-guard is standing up to a suspicious bunch of armed men, Tolkien's watchman is just generally not frightened. And the king, mentioned by Tolkien, is not mentioned in this part of the original, though I guess he's implied as the employer of an "ombeht"; Heaney takes it as read that we understand who the coast-guard works for. (I am tickled by the link to Dutch "ambtenaar", meaning "civil servant", which comes from "ambacht", which now means something different but was originally the same word as "ombeht".)
- Tolkien is consciously archaic: "spake" instead of "answered"; "steed" instead of "horse". Heaney uses the good colloquial word "gumption" rather than "keen wit" or "acumen" to translate the standard that the coastguard sets himself.
- In both the translation and the lecture notes, Tolkien dissipates the force of the final line's "worda ond worca" - "words and deeds" is not bad in English, but doesn't have the same ring as "what's said and what's done"; more importantly, the fact that the sentence starts with "æghwæþres" flags that there's a choice involving two things coming up (yeah, I am simplifying a bit), and Tolkien's "both words and deeds" tagged on at the end loses that emphasis, whereas Heaney builds up to it and delivers a punchline.