Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Quotation of the Week (October 27 - November 2, 2013)

A quotation of Melvyn Brown on 'good works,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Quotation of the Week (October 20-26, 2013)

A quotation of Edward Bulwer-Lytton on 'personal liberty,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (A farmland in Ontario, Canada: Sept. 8, 2013) © Jerome D'Costa

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Friday, October 18, 2013

One of The National Geographic Society’s Publications Has a Glaring Typo

The cover page of the special National Geographic publication on world's greatest empires
The page with the typo 'Nur Jahar' in place of 'Nur Jahan'

The National Geographic Society, based in Washington, D.C., USA, is a world-renowned scientific and educational organization interested in “geography, archaeology and natural science, and the promotion of environmental and historical conservation.” It is also a publisher of a number of publications, including magazines like National Geographic, books and other occasional publications that are read all over the world. It has made a name for accuracy, attractive illustrations and colorful photography in all its publications. 

Recently it has published a 130-page publication, the world’s empires: A History of Power. It briefly deals with different empires of the ancient, middle age and modern world. As usual, it draws one’s attention immediately.

As I was glancing through its pages, under the topic “Conquerors of India,” I came across a serious typo and proofreading mistake in the subhead on page 115. In place of ‘Nur Jahan,’ it is printed ‘Nur Jahar.’ Nur Jahan ("the light of the world") was one of the wives of Mughal emperor Jahangir.

This printing error is not only unexpected, but also unusual for The National Geographic Society. For this very reason, this publication may turn into a collector’s item!

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Quotation of the Week (Ocober 13-19, 2013)

A quotation of Mark Twain on "keeping one's mouth shut," compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Artwork by Shouvik Mikhail D'Costa (Febrary, 1999)

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Canadian Short Story Writer Alice Munro Wins 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature

Alice Munro, Canadian short story writer and winner of 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature
Photo courtesy:
Alice Munro at her younger age

Photo courtesy:
Alice Munro by David Levine
 Image courtesy: The New York Review of Books

On October 10, Alice Munro, an 82-year old Canadian short story writer, has won this year’s Nobel prize in literature for her total work in short story writing. The Nobel committee mentioned her as the “master of the contemporary short story.” 

Known in Canada as the “Canadian Chekhov,” after the Russian master story writer Anton Chekhov, Alice Munro has made a name in both Canada and USA.  Her Nobel prize win was welcomed everywhere in Canada. 

She is the first Canadian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. She is the thirteenth woman in the world to win this particular prize. When the Canadian Press contacted her, her reaction was: “I knew I was in the running, yes, but I never thought I would win.”

Alice Munro was a regular writer of the magazines of The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Grand Street, Mademoiselle, and The Paris Review

Born at Wingham in southwestern Ontario, Alice Munro, in her long writing career, has received more than a dozen prizes and recognitions from different countries, including Canada.

A hand-written letter of Alice Munro
 Image courtesy: The Vancouver Sun
 Reactions on Munro's Win

Many people reacted enthusiastically at the Nobel Prize win of Alice Munro. They can be read at: Canadian authors cheer Alice Munro's Nobel Prize win.    

 Alice Munro's Books

  • Dance of the Happy Shades (1968)

  • Lives of Girls and Women (1971)

  • Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You (1974)

  • Who Do You Think You Are? (1978) [Published as The Beggar Maid in the USA]

  • The Moons of Jupiter (1982)

  • The Progress of Love (1986)

  • Friend of My Youth (1990)

  • Open Secrets (1994)

  • Selected Stories (1996)

  • The Love of a Good Woman (1998)

  • Queenie (Storycuts) (1999)

  • Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001)

  • No Love Lost (2003)

  • Vintage Munro (2004)

  • Runaway (2004)

  • The View from the Castle Rock (2006)

  • Carried Away: A Selection of Stories (2006)

  • Away from Her (2007)

  • Tricks (2008)

  • Alice Munro’s Best (2008)

  • Too Much Happiness (2009)

  • My Best Stories (2009)

  • New Selected Stories (2011)

 Appraisal of Alice Munro's Works

The New York Times in piece gave an appraisal of the Nobel laureate's works. It can be accessed at: An Appraisal: Master of the Intricacies of the Human Heart and Writers on Munro.

Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize Win a Slap on David Gilmour’s Bias

A National Post cartoon (Toronto: Oct. 11, 2013)
David Gilmour, a visiting University of Toronto professor of English Literature and an award-winning author, created a firestorm after an interview with the Hazlitt literary magazine where he said that he doesn’t teach books by women or Chinese authors because he is interested in “serious heterosexual guys.”

In the interview of September 25, 2013, he said: “I teach modern short fiction to third and first year students. So I teach mostly Russian and American authors. Not much on the Canadian front. But I can only teach stuff I love. I can’t teach stuff that I don’t, and I haven’t encountered any Canadian writers yet that I love enough to teach.”     

He further said: “I’m not interested in teaching books by women. Virginia Woolf is the only writer that interests me as a woman writer, so I do teach one of her short stories…Unfortunately none of those happen to be Chinese, or women…I say I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth.”

Some readers became furious at this news. Some accused him of being arrogant, sexist, racist and homophobic. In reply to the National Post daily, he said: “There isn’t a racist or a sexist bone in my body,’ and his quote was taken out of context. Then the Hazlitt magazine published the complete unedited transcript of the interview showing the real Gilmour in his own words.
After Alice Munro, a woman Canadian writer, won the Nobel Prize for Literature, her Canadian fans have been coming after David Gilmour with their claws on.

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