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Posts Tagged ‘Louis Zukofsky’

Things We Love: Apollinaire, Office Chairs, Flabbergasting Vulgarity

April 20, 2012 | by

On the newly redesigned Los Angeles Review of Books, Hua Hsu’s review of a rather fascinating microhistory of office chairs has me wondering whether Charles Darwin invented the wheeled version. It seems he “replaced the legs of his armchair with ‘cast-iron bed legs mounted on casters’ so that he could glide freely throughout his office.” He’s known to have taken daily walks along his “thinking path.” Could it be that the chair’s motion likewise aided him in formulating the theory of natural selection? —Nicole Rudick

I’ve been on an Apollinaire kick, starting with Francis Steegmuller’s chatty 1963 biography, plus the new translation of Apollinaire’s love letters from the trenches and Louis Zukofsky’s strange bilingual homage, Le Style Apollinaire. —Lorin Stein

“The Bible is, for the first time, being translated into Jamaican patois. It’s a move welcomed by those Jamaicans who want their mother tongue enshrined as the national language,” reported the BBC in December. Led by the Bible Society of the West Indies, the translation initiative began with the Gospel of Luke and is scheduled for completion in August of this year. The patois translation has many excited followers, including me, and, though I can't understand a word, I’m moved by a truth revealed at the heart of this effort: that language shapes and solidifies a people’s identity and sense of belonging. It’s kind of as real as it gets. —Elizabeth Nelson

“There's one thing I want to make clear right off: my baby was a virgin the day she met Errol Flynn.” I’ve been wanting to read 1961’s The Big Love (Mrs. Florence Aadland as told to Tedd Thomey) ever since I saw Patricia Marx recommend it years ago. You can imagine my delight when I opened my mailbox to find my copy, and I devoured the story—a bizarre tell-all by the mother of the fifteen-year-old who had an affair with the middle-aged actor—within a day. Even to connoisseurs of the lurid, this is jaw-dropping stuff: “When the time came she told me everything she did with Errol Flynn … Everything. And in detail, because she and I love details and get a kick out of sharing things like that.” (It’s all like that.) After Flynn’s death, the liaison came to light, and Mrs. Aadland, convicted of contributing to the corruption of a minor, lost custody of seventeen-year-old Beverly. But she regrets nothing; the tone is as resolutely defiant as it is inappropriate. William Styron called the book "flabbergastingly vulgar." —Sadie Stein

 

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