The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Samuel Beckett’

Ovid (or You) in Ossining, and Other News

July 31, 2014 | by

728cheever-web-06

Photo: Jason O'Neal, via Newsweek

  • Want to buy John Cheever’s old house in Ossining? Have at it. (A mailbox bearing the Cheever name is still there.)
  • On the late Thomas Berger’s Arthur Rex, a 1978 retelling of Arthurian legend: “Berger adopts the distinct voice of the medieval-epic narrator, slipping easily into the rhythm and pattern of courtly speech, with its ‘And’s and ‘Now’s and ‘Whilst’s, its frequent and self-serious references to the glory of God and the sin of doubt. He uses the old style of speech to tell what has always been a surprisingly modern story: that of a kingdom in which every socioeconomic problem is brilliantly resolved and its people turn to a pure and destructive religious idealism.”
  • The actress Lisa Dwan is taking her production of three one-woman Beckett playsNot I, Rockaby, and Footfalls—on a world tour.
  • Advice for reading blurbs: Don’t. “Cover blurbs aren’t reviews. They’re advertisements. No space for balanced, nuanced positivity. Nothing can be interesting; it must be fascinating. Good isn’t good enough; it must be great.”
  • Rock stars are not gods but rather human beings whose emotions happen to resonate with millions—emotions that are inspired by other human beings, some of whom have written memoirs. These books are often disregarded as attempts to cash in, but while the books are sometimes bitter, they’re rarely cynical. Taken together, they comprise a shadow history of classic rock, an account from within the aura and from the margins of the rock star’s hero journey.”

NO COMMENTS

More Drunk Texts from Famous Authors

June 4, 2014 | by

The long-awaited sequel.

Document1

Document1

Document1Read More »

16 COMMENTS

Salty Language for Kids, and Other News

February 5, 2014 | by

children swearing

2 COMMENTS

Beware Usen’t To

January 28, 2014 | by

Constance_Charpentier_-_Melancholy_-_WGA04799

This is what happens when you use usen’t to. Constance Charpentier, Melancholy, 1801, oil on canvas.

At ten every morning, Garner’s Usage Tip lands in my inbox—I’m sure Garner could suggest a less clunky formulation for “in my inbox”—providing a quick bit of unfussy, eminently sensible grammatical advice. There are worse things to look forward to.

Yesterday’s installment was the third in a scintillating four-part series on used to, which gets pretty spicy, as far as grammar goes. Fun fact: the contracted form of used not to is usen’t to, which has been, despite its pleasant lilt, almost wholly displaced by didn’t use to.

You could try to bring it back into style, but apart from sounding pretentious—which you would—you’d run the risk of becoming very miserable. Take a look at usen’t to as it appears throughout literature and you’ll see: it’s almost always used in the context of a total bummer. See below for examples from Forster, Trollope, Beckett, et al., none of which make the sun shine any brighter.

Please, if you can find any positive instance of usen’t to, direct me to it. Otherwise I’m inclined to offer a warning: abstain from this phrase, or you’re liable to be plunged into cafard, parochialism, censoriousness, or just sort of a downer mood. Read More »

7 COMMENTS

On Not Thinking Like a Writer, and Other News

November 26, 2013 | by

Cezannelarge

  • “The artist must avoid thinking like a writer.” The letters of Cézanne.
  • “It isn’t only about droll or absurd situations, it’s about the language used to describe those situations.” Paul Auster on Samuel Beckett.
  • In honor of Umberto Eco’s Legendary Lands, maps of imaginary lands.
  • “Last December, on a Sunday like so many Boston Sundays, one that began in sunshine but gave way to snow showers, three hundred members of Old South Church gathered for a congregational meeting. After hours of debate following weeks of discussion, they voted to sell one of their two copies of the Bay Psalm Book.” Casey N. Cep on America’s first book.
  •  

    NO COMMENTS

    William Faulkner’s Unexpected Art, and Other News

    September 3, 2013 | by

    faulknerdrawingcheckerboard-1

  • William Faulkner’s drawings from his Ole Miss days are wonderfully Deco.
  • Random House UK launches The Happy Foodie, described thusly: “Bringing cookery books to life, helping you get happy in the kitchen.”
  • In other slogan-y UK books news, Books Are My Bag (which supports bookstores and features a tote bag bearing exactly those words) attracts celebrity adherents.
  • Cairo’s iconic German-language bookstore, Lehnert & Landrock, faces closure amidst the nation’s turmoil.
  • “Beckett had a lifelong interest in chess and was a keen player, following many of the big matches, says his nephew, Edward, who oversees the Beckett estate.” How chess influenced Samuel Beckett’s work
  •  

    2 COMMENTS