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Scripturient: Boccaccio’s Decameron

I never read The Decameron in any original, or complete translation. I have a bowdlerized edition I read in part some time ago, perhaps the 1970s. I recall seeing an art film based on the book, in the 1970s (directed Pier Pasolini). But I can’t recall it in any detail, except that it was subtitled. […]

Scripturient: Anthony and Cleopatra

While Julius Caesar is my favourite of all Shakespeare’s plays, I think Anthony and Cleopatra is my second favourite. I know it’s hard to choose any favourites from his plays, they’re all so good, but this one seems to resonate with me more than most others, enough to encourage me to reread it this week. […]

PostArctica: Fictional Characters in Public

For me Literature always tells us more about the human condition than does our history books so there is something wonderful and enlightening about bringing the great characters of fiction to life in local ways such as the Bloomsday celebrations in Dublin or the statues of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in the Plaza de Espana in Madrid. And while there is Bonnheur d’occasion subtly inscribed in a wall in the Place Saint Henri Metro station it would be great to see a sculpture on street level that brings the novel to life, or a Fennario scene in Verdun or (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Prenzie Scamels

Four hundred years after he wrote them, we still use in everyday speech the many words and phrases Shakespeare coined. He gave us so many, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to list them all here. But two words he wrote have stopped us dead: prenzie and scamels. What do they mean? Were they more […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Too Many Books?

Tim Parks* wrote an intriguing essay in the New York Review of Books last week with that title. My first thought on seeing it was to wonder if one can ever have too many books. But of course, Parks – an author himself  – is looking at the bigger picture, not the ever-growing collection that […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Julius Caesar: Best of the Bard?

For my money, Julius Caesar is simply Billy Shakespeare’s best ever play. I mean, what’s not to like in it? It has some stonking great speeches in it – including one of his top five ever (Marc Antony’s “Friends, Romans, countrymen….”) as well as a passel of memorable lines you can quote at parties (Who among […]

Song of the Watermelon: Short Story in ‘Trust & Treachery’

This one’s a long time coming, folks.

A short story I wrote a while back — “Infinitas,” it’s called, about a group of shipwreck survivors who slowly lose touch with reality while trying to forge a new society aboard their life raft — is now available in an anthology of political fiction called Trust and Treachery: Tales of Power and Intrigue. Please consider giving it a read.

Filed under: Literature Tagged: Dark Quest Books, Infinitas, short story, Trust and Treachery

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Short Story in ‘Trust & Treachery’

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Why do lit-ah-rary types look down on SF

So what is it about science fiction that causes “literary” types to look down upon it? Like any genre, SF has its bad and good. No scratch that, like any writing, there is both bad and good. I’ve read plenty … Continue reading →

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The difficult art of reading poetry

Synecdoche. Metonymy. Not exactly words that trip lightly off the tongue. Unless, I suppose, you’re Harold Bloom. Those are two of the four fundamental tropes in literature, Bloom tells us. Identified originally by Kenneth Burke, who, as Bloom calls him, was a “profound student of rhetoric.” Bloom references Burke in his introduction to The Best […]

PostArctica: Bookish Butch

Proud to say my favorite former used bookstore owner has won best blog in the GLBT category! Way to go, Caroline!!

Canadian Blog Awards 2014 results

Bookish Butch

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lucretius and the Renaissance

It’s fairly clear, even after reading only a few verses, why Lucretius’s didactic poem, On the Nature of Things – De Rerum Natura – made such an impact on thought, philosophy, religion and science in the Renaissance. It must have been like a lighthouse in the dark night; a “Eureka” moment for many of the age’s thinkers. […]

Molly'sBlog: Milton: A Master of Run-On Sentences


     I’m about halfway through the collected works of John Milton. It’s a project that’s taking some time. Mercifully the poetry is at the front of the volume. That’s good because most of Milton’s prose writings have little intrinsic interest. Aside from a few exceptions they are religious polemics against the high church prelates of his day. Reading such things tends to lower one’s estimate of the author. Especially as their tone is beneath even the usual level of political polemics. I’ll see if the tone improves with the more political pieces later in (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Weird World of Plotto

I came across Plotto a few years back – references to it in other works, rather than the actual book. it sounded strange, complex and wildly over-reaching. I couldn’t find one – it was long out of print. It wasn’t until I got my own copy that I realized how really odd, clumsy – and […]

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Writers’ stimulants

I still think most of these would be whiskey, not coffee. (h/t to Mark Victor Young.) Alltop is a stiff drink of humor.

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Circuitous Path from Bulge to Budget

If tinkers may have leave to live, And bear the sow-skin budget, Then my account I well may, give, And in the stocks avouch it. Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale, Act IV, Sc. III, Shakespeare These lines got me thinking about the town’s finances. Sow-skin budget? What does that mean? And how does that relate to […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Survival of the Fittest

Charles Darwin has long been associated with the phrase, “survival of the fittest.” For a century and a half people have used it to refer to their understanding of his explanation of how species evolved. But it wasn’t his. And it has obscured the understanding of Darwin’s own theory. It came from a contemporary, Herbert […]

Molly'sBlog: Reading Mark Twain…’Christian Science’

Reading Mark Twain…’Christian Science’     ‘Christian Science’….Mark Twain, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1907

     I was continuing my task of reading anything available, in print or on the internet, when I came upon this book, over a century old, in the recesses of one of my storage boxes. The volume life in 1899 in The Cosmopolitan magazine. This is the first half of the book. The second half, a worthy addendum to the first, also began life as a periodical series in the North American Review in 1907 even though it had been written about 4 years (Read more…)

Trashy's World: Reactions of selected Canadian politicos…

…upon hearing of Alice Munro winning the Nobel Prize for Literature Pauline Marois – “The Parti Québécois does not recognise this award because her writings are clearly counter to our Charter of Values. And I’m told that she doesn’t speak french”. Stephen Harper – “Because of my extensive literary experience gained while writing my book – […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The (sometimes violent) urge to write

As of this writing, I will have published 253 posts since I began this blog at the ending week of December, 2011. Two hundred and fifty three posts in 21 months. Just over one post every two-and-a-half days, on average. Plus 30 or so still in draft mode. Another half-dozen scribbled in word processing notes […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Three Archy poems by Don Marquis

pete the parrot and shakespeare i got acquainted with a parrot named pete recently who is an interesting bird pete says he used to belong to the fellow that ran the mermaid tavern in london then i said you must have known shakespeare know him said pete poor mutt i knew him well he called […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Hell 2.1, a small update

I left you in my exploration of the Encyclopedia of Hell pondering which version of the Faustus story was better: with or without his final redemption. Personally, I prefer without, because it offers greater dramatic opportunities. I also don’t like the notion of redemption: it seems like a “get out of Hell free” card. Christianity [...]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Kill the Apostrophe? Rubbish! Keep it!

A site has popped up with one of the stupidest ideas about English I’ve read in the past decade or two. It’s called Kill the Apostrophe. Subtle. At first, I thought it was a joke, a spoof. After all, how can one realistically get rid of perhaps the most significant element of punctuation based on [...]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: What in Hell…?

Hades, you know, isn’t a place. It’s a guy. The Greek god of the underworld. His territory consists of a bunch of domains, including the rather unpleasant Tartarus, where souls – called shades – suffer eternal punishment. Hades wasn’t a fun god. If you weren’t getting your skin ripped off in Tartarus, life sucked in [...]

Chadwick's Blog & Commentary: The Game of the Book of Thrones

No, it’s not about that heavyweight book series by George Martin, or the TV series based on it (or even about how you really need to read the books to understand anything that is happening in the TV series). It’s … Continue reading →

Walking Turcot Yards: Finnegan’s Wake, Page 29

Reblogged this from a soon to be dead blog because A) Everyone should read at least one page of Finnegans Wake if only once in their life, and B) I find this totally fascinating as it builds up to the last word, which was the name of the soon to be dead blog. Got it? Good, because that’ about all you might get on this post. Finnegan’s Wake, Page 29 haunt of the hungred bordles, as it is told me. Shop Illicit, flourishing like a lordmajor or a buaboabaybohm, litting flop a deadlop (aloose!) to lee but lifting a bennbranch (Read more…)