Posts Tagged ‘literature’
A bringing together of beloved belles lettres, this chart diagrams 25 famous opening lines from revered works of fiction according to the dictates of the classic Reed-Kellogg system. From Cervantes to Faulkner to Pynchon, each sentence has been painstakingly curated and diagrammed by PCL’s research team, parsing classical prose by parts of speech and offering a partitioned, color-coded picto-grammatical representation of some of the most famous first words in literary history. Whether you’re a book buff, an English teacher, or a hard-line grammarian, this diagrammatical dissertation has something for the aesthete in all of us…
* Blaise Pascal
As we analyze our way to an appreciation of the classics, we might recall that it was on this date in 1952 that Ernest Hemingway completed his short novel The Old Man and the Sea. He believed it to be the best writing he had ever done. The critics agreed: the book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953, and became one of his bestselling works.
On the Road, the iconic Jack Kerouac novel that took its earliest form in words typed on a 120-foot roll of paper, has spawned a uniquely digital descendant. A German student named Gregor Weichbrodt fed all the geographical markers mentioned in the globe-spanning book into the Google Maps Direction Service API, producing a set of all-text driving directions that goes on for 45 digital pages.
Yes, driving directions: On the Road for 17,527 Miles (the figure is Google Maps’ calculation of the journey) is available as a free ebook here, or you can buy a physical copy via Lulu — although it makes for pretty dry reading. Sample passage: “Head northwest on W 47th St toward 7th Ave. Take the 1st left onto 7th Ave. Turn right onto W 39th St.” And so on.
Open Culture helpfully notes that Kerouac himself produced a hand-drawn map of the hitchhiking route he followed in his own cross-country journey, some years before he wrote the ultimate road-trip story. If you’ve read the book and just want the directions, you can find them right here.
From Rob Walker at Yahoo Tech.
* Jack Kerouac
As we hit the highway, we might recall that it was on this date in 1921 that E.M. Forster, then 41, set set on his second trip to India… a trip his observations from which formed the basis for his fifth and most critically-acclaimed novel, A Passage to India.
As we rethink our reading lists, we might recall that it was on this date in 1973 that first graduates from the Open University (OU) were awarded their degrees after two years studying from home. Britain’s (and one of the world’s) first “distance learning” universities, Open University opened in 1971 with 25,000 students– at a time when the entire student population of conventional universities in the U.K. was only about 130,000. OU currently has over 250,000 students on its rolls, 50,000 from overseas, and has so far served over 1.5 million learners. It was ranked 43rd (second quartile) in the Times Higher Education Table of Excellence in 2008 (between the University of Reading and University of the Arts London); it was ranked overall as a nationally top forty, and globally top five hundred university by the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2011; and it has regularly ranked #1 among U.K. universities in student satisfaction.
From Oxford Dictionaries, the OED Birthday Word Generator…
Do you know which words entered the English language around the same time you entered the world? Use our OED birthday word generator to find out! We’ve scoured the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to find words with a first known usage for each year from 1900 to 2004. Simply select the relevant decade and click on your birth year to discover a word which entered the English language that year.
Please note that the dates given for these words refer to the current first known usage of the word. The OED team is continuously researching the histories of words (something you may be able to help with), and it’s therefore possible that we will find an earlier sense of the words during our research…
A full exploration of the words of one’s nativity year requires a subscription; but the graphic on the intro page (pictured above; accessible here) is live, and will generate the word-of-the-year for any year selected. Your correspondent’s birthday word (or phrase, as it happens): ”big bang.”
As we marvel at how times flies, we might send dramatic birthday greetings to Jean-Baptiste Racine; he was born on this date in 1639. One of the three great dramatists in France in the 17th century (with Molière and Corneille), Racine was primarily a tragedian, producing plays like Phèdre, Andromaque, and Athalie, considered neoclassical masterpieces. Racine was a dramatic poet, writing in dodecasyllabic alexandrine; the linguisitic effects that he achieved have been considered essentially impossible to capture in translation– though many have tried: Robert Lowell and Ted Hughes into English, and Friedrich Schiller into German. (The quest continues: poet Geoffrey Argent won the American Book Award for his 2011 attempt to translate Racine’s plays into English.)
A strict observer of the dramatic unities, Racine frustrated Antonin Artaud, who wrote (in The Theater and Cruelty), “the misdeeds of the psychological theater descended from Racine have made us unaccustomed to that immediate and violent action which the theater should possess.” Conversely, Proust developed an earlier love of Racine “whom he considered a brother and someone very much like himself…” (Marcel Proust: A Life, by Jean-Yves Tadié, 1996).