Herzog momentarily looks back on his youth

My ancient times. Remoter than Egypt. No dawn, the foggy winters. In darkness the bulb was lit. The stove was cold. Papa shook the grates, and raised an ashen dust…

Napoleon Street, rotten, toylike, crazy and filthy, riddled, flogged with harsh weather – the bootlegger’s boys reciting ancient prayers. To this Moses’s heart was attached with great power. Here was a wider range of human feelings than he had ever again been able to find.

Herzog, Saul Bellow

Henry James’s style – three specimens.

“Seated at my own table in clear noonday light I saw a person whom, without my previous experience, I should have taken at the first blush for some housemaid who might have stayed at home to look after the place and who, availing herself of rare relief from observation and of the schoolroom table and my pens, ink, and paper, had applied herself to the considerable effort of a letter to her sweetheart.”
The Turn of the Screw

“One day, however, a visitor had arrived. The two young persons, after spending an hour on the river, strolled back to the house and perceived Lord Warburton sitting under the trees and engaged in conversation, of which even at a distance the desultory character was appreciable, with Mrs. Touchett. He had driven over from his own place with a portmanteau and had asked, as the father and son often invited him to do, for a dinner and a lodging. Isabel, seeing him for half an hour on the day of her arrival, had discovered in this brief space that she liked him; he had indeed rather sharply registered himself on her fine sense and she had thought of him several times. She had hoped she should see him again–hoped too that she should see a few others. Gardencourt was not dull; the place itself was sovereign, her uncle was more and more a sort of golden grandfather, and Ralph was unlike any cousin she had ever encountered–her idea of cousins having tended to gloom. Then her impressions were still so fresh and so quickly renewed that there was as yet hardly a hint of vacancy in the view. But Isabel had need to remind herself that she was interested in human nature and that her foremost hope in coming abroad had been that she should see a great many people.”
Portrait of a Lady

“He met you as if you had knocked and he had bidden you enter. Strether, who hadn’t seen him for so long an interval, apprehended him now with a freshness of taste, and had perhaps never done him such ideal justice. The head was bigger, the eyes finer, than
they need have been for the career; but that only meant, after all, that the career was itself expressive. What it expressed at midnight in the gas-glaring bedroom at Chester was that the subject of it had, at the end of years, barely escaped, by flight in time, a general nervous collapse. But this very proof of the full life, as the full life was understood at Milrose, would have made to Strether’s imagination an element in which Waymarsh could have floated easily had he only consented to float. Alas nothing so little resembled floating as the rigour with which, on the edge of his bed, he hugged his posture of prolonged impermanence. It suggested to his comrade something that always, when kept up, worried him–a person established in a railway-coach with a forward inclination. It represented the angle at which poor Waymarsh was to sit through the ordeal of Europe.”
The Ambassadors

Johannes Gutenberg

220px-Gutenberg

Johannes Gutenberg, c. 1400 – February 3, 1468 was a German blacksmith, goldsmith, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe with the printing press. His introduction of mechanical movable type printing to Europe started the Printing Revolution and is regarded as a milestone of the second millennium, ushering in the modern period of human history. It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.

via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Gutenberg

Google Translate Compared With Human Translator – Madame Bovary example

Three versions of Madame Bovary:

Original French via Project Gutenberg
Elle dessinait quelquefois; et c’était pour Charles un grand amusement que de rester là, tout debout à la regarder penchée sur son carton, clignant des yeux afin de mieux voir son ouvrage, ou arrondissant, sur son pouce, des boulettes de mie de pain. Quant au piano, plus les doigts y couraient vite, plus il s’émerveillait. Elle frappait sur les touches avec aplomb, et parcourait du haut en bas tout le clavier sans s’interrompre. Ainsi secoué par elle, le vieil instrument, dont les cordes frisaient, s’entendait jusqu’au bout du village si la fenêtre était ouverte, et souvent le clerc de l’huissier qui passait sur la grande route, nu-tête et en chaussons, s’arrêtait à l’écouter, sa feuille de papier à la main.

French to English via Google Translate
She drew sometimes; and it was for Charles a big fun only to stand there, while standing at the bend over his cardboard, blinking to see his work better, or rounding, on his thumb, balls of bread crumbs. As at the piano, the faster the fingers ran, the more marveled. She struck the keys with aplomb, and walked up and down the entire keyboard without interrupting. So shaken by her, the old instrument, whose strings curling, was heard to the end of the village if the window was open, and often the clerk of the bailiff who was passing on the high road, bareheaded and in slippers, stopped to listen to him, his sheet of paper in his hand.

Human Translator – Margaret Mauldon, via Amazon
She used to draw sometimes; and Charles found it most entertaining to stand there at her side, watching her concentrate on her sketch, screwing up her eyes to see her work more clearly, or rolling breadcrumbs into little erasers with her thumb. As for the piano, the faster her fingers flew about, the more was he amazed. She struck each note with a confident touch, sweeping across the whole keyboard from top to bottom without a pause. The old piano with its badly stretched strings shook under her hands and could be heard, if the window was open, right across the village; often the bailiff’s clerk, shuffling along the road with his head bare and his feet in slippers, would stop to listen, holding the document he was delivering in his hand.

The Hermeneutic Circle

The hermeneutic circle,” he was saying. “That’s what Dilthey called it. You don’t know what to do with the details unless you have a grip on the structure, and at the same time, you don’t know what to do with the structure unless you know the details. It’s true in life and in literature. The hermeneutic circle. It’s a vicious circle.”

David Denby quoting Columbia professor in the essay Does Homer Have Legs?

Soldier from the Wars Returning – A. E. Housman

Soldier from the wars returning,
Spoiler of the taken town,
Here is ease that asks not earning;
Turn you in and sit you down.

Peace is come and wars are over,
Welcome you and welcome all,
While the charger crops the clover
And his bridle hangs in stall.

Now no more of winters biting,
Filth in trench from tall to spring,
Summers full of sweat and fighting
For the Kesar or the King.

Rest you, charger, rust you, bridle;
Kings and kesars, keep your pay;
Soldier, sit you down and idle
At the inn of night for aye.

Brand New Beggar

Rule of the Bone, Russell Banks.
“… I was just going to float awhile on an hour-to-hour basis and see what developed.
When I mentioned that to I-Man he said I was on my way to being a brand-new beggar and gave me this warm smile. No plans, no regrets, he said. Praise an’ thanks must be sufficient unto ev’ry day.
I said yeah but it’d be hard to do that for the rest of my life. Making plans and having regrets, man, they’re like second nature to me.
Y’ first nature, dat be what you got to come to, mon…”

Brand New Beggar, Third World
I’ve changed (yes I have)
I’m a brand new beggar
I’ve changed
I’m a brand new beggar

Movin’, movin’ around
I been travellin’ from town to town
Sellin’ and even put down
My best friend (heh) by the pound
I thought that happiness was mine
Dressed in silks and drinking wine
But now I’m face to face with me
I look around and suddenly..

Oh oo oh oo oh
I’ve changed (yes I have)
I’m a brand new beggar
(I took a look and..)
I’ve changed
I’m a brand new beggar (yeah)

Loneliness can be quite dread
‘Cause no sees inside your head
I can’t judge a man by scrutiny (oh I say..)
One day coffee, next day tea
And I thought that happiness was mine
Dressed in silk and drinking wine
But now I’m face to face with me
I look around and suddenly..

I’ve changed
I’m a brand new beggar (yeah)
I’ve changed (yes I have)
I’m a brand new beggar
(but it’s the same old thing)
I said I’ve changed
I’m a brand new beggar
I’ve changed (yes I really changed)
I’m a brand new beggar..

via Jah Lyrics

Fabula and Syuzhet

Fabula  and Syuzhet are terms originating in  Russian Formalism and employed in narratology that describe narrative construction. Syuzhet is an employment of narrative and Fabula is the chronological order of the events contained in the story. They were first used in this sense by Vladimir Propp and Viktor Shklovsky.

The fabula is “the raw material of a story”, and syuzhet is “the way a story is organized”. Since Aristotle’s Poetics, narrative plots are supposed to have a beginning, middle and end. This is often achieved in film and novels via flashbacks or flashforwards. For example, the film Citizen Kane starts with the death of the main character, and then tells his life through flashbacks interspersed with a journalist’s present-time investigation of Kane’s life. The FABULA of the film is the actual story of Kane’s life the way it happened in chronological order, while the SYUZHET is the way the story is told throughout the movie, including flashbacks.Memento_Timeline

via Wikipedia

MCMXIV – Phillip Larkin

Those long uneven lines
Standing as patiently
As if they were stretched outside
The Oval or Villa Park,
The crowns of hats, the sun
On moustached archaic faces
Grinning as if it were all
An August Bank Holiday lark;

And the shut shops, the bleached
Established names on the sunblinds,
The farthings and sovereigns,
And dark-clothed children at play
Called after kings and queens,
The tin advertisements
For cocoa and twist, and the pubs
Wide open all day;

And the countryside not caring:
The place-names all hazed over
With flowering grasses, and fields
Shadowing Domesday lines
Under wheat’s restless silence;
The differently-dressed servants
With tiny rooms in huge houses,
The dust behind limousines;

Never such innocence,
Never before or since,
As changed itself to past
Without a word – the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages,
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.

Borges and I – Jorge Luis Borges

The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to. I walk through the streets of Buenos Aires and stop for a moment, perhaps mechanically now, to look at the arch of an entrance hall and the grillwork on the gate; I know of Borges from the mail and see his name on a list of professors or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth-century typography, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; he shares these preferences, but in a vain way that turns them into the attributes of an actor. It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship; I live, let myself go on living, so that Borges may contrive his literature, and this literature justifies me. It is no effort for me to confess that he has achieved some valid pages, but those pages cannot save me, perhaps because what is good belongs to no one, not even to him, but rather to the language and to tradition. Besides, I am destined to perish, definitively, and only some instant of myself can survive in him. Little by little, I am giving over everything to him, though I am quite aware of his perverse custom of falsifying and magnifying things.

Spinoza knew that all things long to persist in their being; the stone eternally wants to be a stone and the tiger a tiger. I shall remain in Borges, not in myself (if it is true that I am someone), but I recognize myself less in his books than in many others or in the laborious strumming of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free myself from him and went from the mythologies of the suburbs to the games with time and infinity, but those games belong to Borges now and I shall have to imagine other things. Thus my life is a flight and I lose everything and everything belongs to oblivion, or to him.

I do not know which of us has written this page.