Random Literature Thread

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Yasna
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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby Yasna » 2018-11-24, 20:50

The Untranslated

An interesting blog about literature not yet available in English.
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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Yasna
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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby Yasna » 2018-12-11, 3:59

Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

IpseDixit

Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby IpseDixit » 2018-12-13, 13:22

Does Japanese and Chinese poetry (or even, more in general, literature) have more of a visual element to it than languages which use an alphabet do? i.e: choosing words not just because of their meaning or sound or general rythm but also because of the beauty of the character(s).

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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-12-13, 13:26

Generally, in East Asia, my understanding is that it isn't individual characters that are considered more or less beautiful but rather calligraphic style. In Japan in particular, the less legible the calligraphy, the more beautiful it's considered to be. :P

IpseDixit

Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby IpseDixit » 2018-12-13, 13:30

vijayjohn wrote:In Japan in particular, the less legible the calligraphy, the more beautiful it's considered to be. :P


xD

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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby linguoboy » 2018-12-13, 15:26

IpseDixit wrote:Does Japanese and Chinese poetry (or even, more in general, literature) have more of a visual element to it than languages which use an alphabet do? i.e: choosing words not just because of their meaning or sound or general rythm but also because of the beauty of the character(s).

As Vijay says, calligraphy is its own art form and I'm sure there are lots of considerations which go into which style is used for a particular piece. One of the few guidelines I know of which I've seen followed pretty consistently is not using the same form of a character which appears more than once in a poem in order to add variety.

It seems likely that authors chose the words they used with a view to how they would appear on a page, but I don't recall reading anything about that in analyses of famous poems. It could be their choices are somewhat obscured by the fact that often we don't have their original calligraphy so we don't know which style they chose for which poem and, therefore, how this might have influenced the choice of characters. Also, despite the Qin standardisation of the script, variant forms do exist and have persisted.
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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby linguoboy » 2018-12-18, 21:42

So I got to page 655 of the 735-page anthology of contemporary American short stories I've been reading and I realised that I could only recall coming across a single queer character--and a horrible stereotype at that. In the second-to-last story, two teenage guys head to Florida in the 70s and one of them ends up letting a hotdog stand owner blow him for spare change. The man and his living space are described in highly unflattering terms; they end up bashing him in the head, possibly leaving him for dead. (Either this is left for the reader to puzzle out or it's not considered germane to the story, which is about one of the two teenagers, after all.)

I wouldn't be particularly surprised at that from an anthology published in, say, 1985. But this came out in 2015 and it seems like a huge omission. I don't know anything about the editor, but I'm not the least bit surprised to find out that he's a straight white guy from Texas. He did go to Brown, though, which I guess explains why at least half the writers are women. Guess he didn't meet any queer folks there? (Or at least not any he thought could write.)
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-01-07, 16:39

Almost everything I've been reading in Arabic and Urdu lately has been such a slog. I don't even have anything to read in Persian (though to be fair, Persian isn't technically one of my TAC languages, either).


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