Tag Archives: Literature

Tragedy and Comedy

Comedy comes from surprise, either from the breaking of a (moral) rule (e.g. a taboo) or from something unexpected (“boo!”) (or both – man-falling-on-banana-skin is unexpected and makes us laugh, naughtily, from the suffering of another). And in Tragedy the … Continue reading

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The Life Of Pi (film)

[Megaspoiler alert: reading this really will spoil your enjoyment of the film] The story which Pi tells to the writer in this film is one which will apparently give the hearer faith in God. But after t-10 minutes I was … Continue reading

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Writing Britain, at the British Library

Nice title, using the English ambiguity between a participle (“Britain which writes”), like “flying saucer”, and the gerund with an object (“writing (about) Britain”), like “singing songs”. (The National Trust went large on this a few years ago with their … Continue reading

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“The Lost Books of the Odyssey” by Zachary Mason

One of the best books I have read. 44 short (some very short) stories on the theme of Odysseus and his return from Troy. Poetic, mysterious, playful, jumping around in time, each one, for lovers of Homer, a pre-sleep daily … Continue reading

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“The Truth about Lorin Jones” by Alison Lurie

A deft novel about each other and ourselves, about the conflicting stories we hear and tell about us, about prejudice and, more profoundly, the logical unknowability of a person, even ourselves. Lurie’s characters’ names give this away: the heroine – … Continue reading

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For years (well, on and off) I’ve wondered what the point of hendiadys is. It’s an obscure term (which, btw, my iPad wants to correct to ‘he daddy’s’) meaning ‘one through two’, i.e. saying one complex idea as if it … Continue reading

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Fictional characters’ worlds

Sherlock Holmes lives in a London identical to the one in which Conan Doyle’s books about him were published, except that it contained no books about him by Conan Doyle. Doctor Who couldn’t watch Doctor Who. Novels, in the very … Continue reading

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