These are a few of my favourite links!

These are some of the articles and such that I have been reading recently:

Of course there are more, but these are the ones that I found the most remarkable. :)




Article: Language is Music (from the New Yorker)

I just read a fascinating article posted in the New Yorker, by Mary Hawthorne, entitled LANGUAGE IS MUSIC. Most of the piece is a response (from various translators) regarding an editorial by Lawrence Summers in the NYT, which opined that, ‘English’s emergence as the global language, along with the rapid progress in machine translation and the fragmentation of languages spoken around the world, make it less clear that the substantial investment necessary to speak a foreign tongue is universally worthwhile.

Naturally, there was much disagreement over his points in numbered paragraph 5. Quite honestly, I do think that learning a second (or third) language is something that ought to be done. It needs to be taught properly at the lower grades, when learning of languages has been shown to be easier. There ought to be more opportunities for immersion, as well. Learning another language is learning a different way to think, a different way to view the world. And, as David Bellos states, ‘mastery of a foreign language is a prerequisite for understanding how to use your own.’

Am I biased? Yes, probably. I would have loved to have decent instruction in French when I was younger, but the teachers I had most years barely knew any more than their students, having (I’m guessing) drawn the short straw or had the free period needing filled. (And, alas, my parents chose not to put me in French immersion schooling, though I think I would have done well.) So now I plod along, working haphazardly to learn a bit more French. To be honest, properly learning a foreign language is a lot of work. With everything else that I do, I just don’t have time to devote hours every day to study.

Still, I’ll keep at it, though progress is slow. In the meantime, I’ll continue reading French works in translation, and maybe someday I’ll know enough French to read Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘L’Invitée’. I have a copy, and it’s waiting for that moment.

I want to write a blog post about this article….

…. but yet I don’t really know what to say just yet. So, I shall share the article instead.

Go check out From This Day Forward: Marriage in Gay & Lesbian Fiction

“When gay people everywhere can marry, will that mean the end of gay literature?” I was regularly asked this question last spring while on tour for my most recent book, an account of how novels and plays in the years after World War II shook up sexual attitudes. This was months before President Obama announced his support for gay marriage; the subject was already very much out there.

But the question confused me. Why would a valuable piece of social progress close a literary door? Nobody thought women would no longer be a good subject for fiction once they got the vote. Nobody argues that African-American literature ended when Obama was elected. I soon developed a handy response: “Oh, no — gay marriage is going to give us a whole new subject to write about.” But since then I’ve been thinking it over more closely, wondering just how same-sex marriage might affect literature, about what could change and what may have been there all along.