Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Armen Zakharyan

October 1, 2022

🐇 🐇 🐇 welcome, October (even though we know it ends in a celebration of death)

This posting is a report on an amazing body of work by Armen Zakharyan, about Russian literature in relation to world literatures, providing literary analysis both subtle and surprising, probing the range of lives as revealed in literary works, and directly and passonately engaging with hard questions about how to live a moral life and negotiate through a world of evil. Until a few days ago, I had no idea that such a thing existed, but then Vadim Temkin posted a “Wow” notice on Facebook about a Zakharyan video, with this image and a link to the video:


(#1) The link to the YouTube video is here

The wisps of Russian I recalled from 1960 Princeton classes carried me far enough to recognize the slogan MAN WAR ART, but no further. I appealed to Vadim to explain his “Wow”. And got the wonderful response below, which I reproduce with only slight editing as a guest posting (Vadim is multilingual and multicultural in a way I could not imagine being, so it would have been insane for me to try to paraphrase or interpret his take on Zakharyan).

From here on this is Vadim, with occasional back-commentary from me in square brackets.

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2/2/22

February 2, 2022

(Jam-packed with male bodies and man-man sex discussed in street language — admittedly, along with a lot of other stuff, but there’s no denying the high raunch content — so not even remotely suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

2/2/22 Happy Twoday! The Groundhog Day that won’t come again for a century. This morning the groundhog emerged from its burrow and was immediately devoured by a day-old tiger, who growled lewdly, “Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side”, while some colored girls sang about kissing the cross.

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Books and their covers

April 30, 2018

Today’s Zits:

  (#1)

Kids these days! Did Pierce never think to look at the Wikipedia entry for the book? I thought that’s what kids do first when assigned a book report.

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Trademark literary forms

May 10, 2014

From Lee Siegel’s “Pure Evil”, on “Jo Nesbø and the rise of Scandinavian crime fiction”, in the latest (May 12th) New Yorker:

about a hundred Scandinavian crime writers have been translated into English, including Anne Holt, who is a former minister of justice in Norway. The crime tale has become to Scandinavia what the sonnet was to Elizabethan England: its trademark literary form.

It’s entertaining to consider what might count as the trademark literary form in other places, at other times, and in other sociocultural contexts.

(Note: the New Yorker piece is behind a paywall; the beginning is available here.)