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Posts Tagged ‘Samuel Beckett’

More Drunk Texts from Famous Authors

June 4, 2014 | by

The long-awaited sequel.

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Salty Language for Kids, and Other News

February 5, 2014 | by

children swearing

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Beware Usen’t To

January 28, 2014 | by

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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 »

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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.
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    William Faulkner’s Unexpected Art, and Other News

    September 3, 2013 | by

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  • 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
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    Beckett on the Block, and Other News

    July 12, 2013 | by

    Smuel Beckett Murphy manuscript for sale

  • Reading University is now the proud owner of “almost certainly the most important English language manuscript still in private hands,” a six-notebook draft of Samuel Beckett’s Murphy. (The damage? A cool [almost] one million pounds.)
  • When writers eat.
  • When writers drink.
  • And speaking of comestibles: the typography picnic is a thing.
  • Whether or not you’ve heard of them (we all know what happens when you assume), these six lesser-known women writers deserve your attention.
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