The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Slaughterhouse Five’

High-Altitude Language, and Other News

July 10, 2013 | by

caucaucus

  • Reading can affect the behavior of those who identify strongly with the central characters, a new study (and a million Twi-hards) finds.
  • In other research news: a controversial linguistics study suggests that high altitude can directly impact the development of languages.
  • “Civil libertarians and consumer advocates call it digital book-burning: censoring, erasing, altering or restricting access to books in electronic formats.” 
  • The activist group Geeks Out has called for a boycott of the upcoming Ender’s Game film in protest of author Orson Scott Card, who opposes same-sex marriage. Card responds, in part, “Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.”
  • In less fraught lit-cinematic news, Charlie Kaufman is taking on the adaptation of Slaughterhouse-Five.

 

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Source of All Joy: On Alina Szapocznikow

January 17, 2013 | by

Alina Szapocznikow. Petit Dessert I (Small Dessert I). 1970–71. Colored polyester resin and glass, 3 3/16 x 4 5/16 x 5 1/8″ (8 x 11 x 13 cm). Kravis Collection. © The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow/Piotr Stanisławski/ADAGP, Paris. Photo by Thomas Mueller, courtesy Broadway 1602, New York; and Galerie Gisela Capitain GmbH, Cologne

The Polish sculptor Alina Szapocznikow made a career of disassembling the body, of exposing its weaknesses, its many vulnerabilities, whether through the uses and abuses it’s been put to in the abattoir of twentieth-century history or at the mercy of the more mundane, if no less fatal, everyday mortality. If that sounds like a bit of a downer, worry not: Szapocznikow managed to keep a sly tongue firmly in cheek, and her work, for all its startling beauty, its nearly unbearable intimacy, its sublime evocation of pain and disease and suffering, is witty, even funny.

Her sculptures—on display, through January 28, at the Museum of Modern Art, where they are presented as part of a retrospective entitled “Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972”—indulge in the darkest shade of black humor, extracting their punch lines from abysmal pockets of human experience. Take, for example, her Lampe-bouche (Illuminated Lips) (1966), a series of resin casts of a female mouth set atop metal stands and wired to work as lamps.Read More »

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Cabins, Kafka, and KFC!

June 1, 2012 | by

  • Cabin fever.
  • When writers paint.
  • Kafkaesque! Israel vs. Cat Lady over Kafka papers.
  • RIP Brain, Child.
  • Play your (Facebook) cards right and you could be the proud owner of Colonel Sanders's autobiography.
  • “It was our misfortune to have sadistic and fanatical guards.” Vonnegut's letter from the real Slaughterhouse Five.
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    Slanderous Correspondence; Imitations

    January 13, 2012 | by

    I take great and perverse joy in reading insulting, inflammatory, and slanderous correspondence between authors, publishers, and celebrities. Could you recommend some particularly bilious rivalries?

    As Mr. Wilson so justly proclaims in the beginning of “The Strange Case of Pushkin and Nabokov,” we are indeed old friends. I fully share “the warm affection sometimes chilled by exasperation” that he says he feels for me. In the 1940s, during my first decade in America, he was most kind to me in various matters, not necessarily pertaining to his profession. I have always been grateful to him for the tact he showed in refraining from reviewing any of my novels. We have had many exhilarating talks, have exchanged many frank letters. A patient confidant of his long and hopeless infatuation with the Russian language, I have always done my best to explain to him his mistakes of pronunciation, grammar, and interpretation. As late as 1957, at one of our last meetings, we both realized with amused dismay that despite my frequent comments on Russian prosody, he still could not scan Russian verse. Upon being challenged to read Eugene Onegin aloud, he started to do this with great gusto, garbling every second word and turning Pushkin’s iambic line into a kind of spastic anapaest with a lot of jaw-twisting haws and rather endearing little barks that utterly jumbled the rhythm and soon had us both in stitches.

    So begins the famous response, by Vladimir Nabokov, to a negative review by Edmund Wilson in The New York Review of Books. The book: Nabokov’s translation of Eugene Onegin. A fun game to play: Exactly where does Nabokov start to show his teeth? Is it “the tact he showed in refraining from reviewing any of my novels”? Or “not necessarily pertaining to his profession”? Or even that “justly” in sentence one?

    Six years later, when Norman Mailer was attacked by Gore Vidal in that same magazine, Mailer took his case to the masses—on The Dick Cavett Show—with less sinuous results. The lesson, most publishers will tell you, is never respond. But it's awfully good TV.

    I am taking a beginning poetry class and am expected to write imitations of poets on the class list. What should I be careful to do or not do? What should I pay attention to in an imitation?

    To get the most out of the exercise, try to make the meter sound exactly like the meter of the poem you’re imitating. And make sure the teacher checks your work. The meter will look and sound right to you—and if you are a beginner, it will almost certainly be wrong. (You will say your words out loud in your head as if they marched along ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk, when in fact they will go baah-duh-dee, buh-dee-doo.) Don’t get hung up on matching the vocabulary of the old poems. You won’t get it right, and it will sound fake. Use words that are more or less natural to you.

    And have fun! Read More »

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