Aucassin et Nicolete was written in medieval France, but it’s not your typical roman d’amour. I haven’t actually read any other medieval romances. My expectations of “typical” are all formed on stereotype. In many ways, Aucassin and Nicolette meets those fairy tale stereotypes. On the other hand, something goes quite “wrong” in this love story,
Pablo Neruda’s early poetry (specifically, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair) does not have much to do with Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street. Neruda was a Chilean who wrote love poetry (in Spanish) in the early 1900s at the age of 20. Hispanic-American Sandra Cisneros wrote in the 1980s a short
The Once Upon a Time III Challenge has a “Short Story Weekend” mini-challenge, so I thought I’d visit some fairy tales. To my surprise, the copy of Charles Perrault’s Complete Fairy Tales that I found was less than 200 pages and written for children, so I breezed through all of them very quickly. Many of
Reading Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales was a repetitive process. My 630-page leather edition (from Barnes and Noble Books; not same version as the Amazon link at left) included numerous retellings of stories very similar; it felt as if the compilers were taking translations from multiple sources. Then again, maybe the Grimm brothers wrote down similar
Ficcciones by Jorge Luis Borges is about 170 pages in Spanish; the English translation of the same book is about 120 pages (within Borges’ Collected Fictions). Why, then, has this me taken weeks to get through? Borges’ writing style is powerful. In some sense, I’m glad I struggled through Borges just to get a feel
Reading The Iliad (trans. by Robert Fagles) isn’t like reading a modern-day novel: I think it did take a level of concentration I’m not accustomed to. But that just proved to me that the “difficult pleasure” of reading is highly worth experiencing. The Robert Fagles translation was poetic and rhythmic. Once I became accustomed to
I thought reading The Iliad by Homer (translated by Robert Fagles) would be a chore. Even after I reviewed four different translations and chose one I felt was “best,” I told myself I would have to read at least one chapter a day, just to get through it before it was due at the library.
When I decided to read The Iliad, I knew essentially nothing about it. All I knew was that it was Greek, it was written by Homer, and that it was somehow a precursor to The Odyssey (which I read in high school). Having read The Iliad, I can say now that while it certainly is
What am I looking for when I read the Iliad this month? I’ve been wondering that, especially now that I have four translations before me. As I mentioned when I wrote about Aesop’s writers last week, a translation can make a big difference in how a story is portrayed. I’m not against a literal translation,
A few months ago, I read a version of Aesop’s Fables that I found online at Project Gutenberg, written and published in the early 1900s. I thought I’d read Aesop’s Fables. I was interested, then, to read in chapter two (“Ingenuity and Authority”) of Seth Lerer’s Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry
I knew that Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert was about an adulterous woman. But for some reason, I assumed that the title character was a despicable, ugly, tricky middle-aged woman. “Madame” makes one sound old. Besides, when I was young, my mother had a copy of Madame Bovary; it must have been an old copy
As I mentioned, Maupassant was a best-seller in his day. What makes his stories resonate with the modern reader is the attention to our own natural wants.
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