Tuesday, 19 September 2017

ITALO CALVINO


On September 19 1985 Italo Calvino died at his home in Tuscany of a cerebral haemorrhage. Many Italians felt they had lost a literary friend; messages of condolence came from the Vatican and the President of the Republic, while Umberto Eco’s front-page obituary in the Corriere della Sera almost overshadowed news of the Mexican earthquake. In the same paper, John Updike lamented that “world literature had been deprived of its most refined and civil voice”. Reportedly, Italo Calvino had planned to write 14 more books; he was only 62. Read here.

Here you can read the translation of a famous article in which Italo Calvino explains why it is important to read the classics. 

During the last quarter century Italo Calvino has advanced far beyond his American and English contemporaries. As they continue to look for the place where the spiders make their nests, Calvino has not only found this special place but learned how himself to make fantastic webs of prose to which all things adhere.

Monday, 18 September 2017

WILLIAM HOGARTH AND HIS TIMES

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William Hogarth's Gin Lane is one of his best-known works of engraved art. Along with its companion, Beer StreetGin Lane addressed a serious problem in mid-18th century England - the abuse of spirits (= strong alcoholic drinks such as whiskey and gin) by the working classes and the poor. In the right  foreground a skeletal ballad singer has just died. His left hand still clutches his bottle. A drunken woman is taking her snuff while her neglected  baby falls to his death in front of the Gin Royal Tavern. Behind the wall a man and his dog fight for a bone. Further back, a man pawns his coat and saw and his wife her kitchen tools for some more drinks. The pawn broker is properly named, "S. Gripe" (= complaint, affliction). Both his comfortable home and rich clothes stand in contrast to the devastation around. Only pawn brokers, coffin makers and distillers profit in such a society.  Continue to read here.

Friday, 15 September 2017

TYPES OF NOVELS

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The novel is an extended work of prose fiction. It derives from the Italian novella (“little new thing”), which was a short piece of prose. The novel has become a popular form of fiction since the early 18th century, even if prose narratives were written long before then. The term refers to a prose narrative about characters and their actions in what is recognisably everyday life. This differentiates it from its immediate predecessor, the romance, which describes unrealistic adventures of supernatural heroes. The novel has developed various sub-genres. Read here and here.
You can also read this post about the various genres of fiction.

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Friday, 8 September 2017

SIEGFRIED SASSOON


Born on 8 September 1886, Siegfried Sassoon was an English writer and poet, WW I veteran. Read here and here.
He is best remembered for his angry and compassionate poems of the First World War, which brought him public and critical praise. Refusing the sentimentality and patriotism of other war poets, he wrote of the horror and cruelty of trench warfare and scornfully ridiculed generals, politicians, and churchmen for their incompetence and blind support of the war. 

Saturday, 2 September 2017

LONDON'S BIG BEN WILL BE SILENT UNTIL 2021


The iconic bell will only ring for special occasions over the next four years, such as New Year's Eve and Remembrance Sunday.  Read here and here.



Friday, 1 September 2017

Thursday, 31 August 2017

REMEMBERING DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES

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Today marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Lady Diana, never-to-be-forgotten Princess of Wales, in a Paris car crash.
Twenty years ago, her death stunned the world. From the shocking announcement of the news to her funeral procession lined by a million-strong crowd, that tumultuous week shocked Britain – and the monarchy. Read here





Tuesday, 8 August 2017

SILENT LETTERS IN ENGLISH


The English language has lots of silent letters which  cause difficulties for both native speakers and English learners, because they make the spelling of words different from their pronunciation. Read here.



Monday, 7 August 2017

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

BRAVE NEW WORLD

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Brave New World is a novel written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley, and published in 1932. Set in London in the year AD 2540 (632 A.F. - "After Ford" - in the book), the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that are combined to profoundly change society.
Here you can find a detailed analysis of the novel and here you can discover some interesting facts about its author.
The title derives from Miranda's speech in William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Act V, Scene I:
O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't.