Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Random Assortment

 ~ Lots of Eliot stuff coming out this year; interesting piece from a new biographer:

Eliot’s profound but unsettling interrogation of ideas of tradition also struck – and still strikes – a deep chord with China. “Tradition and the Individual Talent” was the first of his works to be translated there. Mid-20th-century Chinese poets who engaged with Eliot’s work were fascinated by continuity and disruption in their own, and other, cultural histories. So, when I met the influential poet-critic Yuan Kezia in 1986, he was visiting Britain as a poet and translator of modernist literature and as someone to whom Eliot’s work had mattered a good deal; yet he was also, as he made sure to tell me, “the translator of Burns”. To English readers, it may seem strange to connect Robert Burns and TS Eliot; yet to Scottish or Chinese readers the juxtaposition can make sense: both these poets are tradition-bearers whose ideas blended continuity and disruption, fusing modern literary culture with oral heritage. Some of the most powerful lines in Eliot’s work, after all, come from nursery rhymes – whether The Waste Land’s “London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down” (a telling line in a poem obsessed with loss of connection), or that distorted nursery rhyme beginning “Here we go round the prickly pear” in “The Hollow Men”.
~ On intentionally falling in love. I have lots of still-forming thoughts on this, perhaps for another day. Regardless, these accompanying 36 falling-in-love questions are interesting.

~ This man was thought to be in a vegetative state for 10 years while he was conscious. (Interesting to me since one approach that some disability theorists take in arguing for human dignity of even those with apparently severe cognitive disabilities is that we don't know what consciousness they experience.)

~ Simcha on cars:

What piece of mind there is, on the other hand, when you don't exactly know what color your car is supposed to be, under the grime and the peeling paint. Nothing can compare to the interior freedom you can gain by acknowledging that the rear bumper is not so much attached to your van as stalking it, and that some of the seats were not only designed for another another make and model of car, they seem to be grieving over the separation.
I agree: I bought a car with a couple of dings already in it, and then proceeded to add a few myself and couldn't even tell. When I shattered Francisco's phone the other week, on the other hand, I felt it. This is why I try not to buy or own nice, expensive things.

~ Lawrence, who just moved to Paris, suggested that the Charlie Hebdo thing isn't about free speech (he said that free speech is prohibited in plenty of other instances in France), but about anti-Muslim sentiment. I wasn't really sure about what he was saying, but this certainly reinforces his point:
All told, up to 100 people are under investigation for making or posting comments that support or try to justify terrorism 

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