Tag: writers

Our Favorite Tolkien & Lewis Apocrypha

Tolkien and Lewis were both in residence at Oxford for many years, studying and teaching both. They were also close friends, even though they disagreed on almost everything. Sure, they had a shared interest in language, and in what we now call fantasy, but they disagreed on religion, and on the tones of their books. There are also a lot of stories about their friendship, few confirmed, but all amazing. Here are our favorites!

 

1. The Lamppost

 

Image via Dissolve

 

There’s a story that says Lewis specifically put the lamppost in Narnia because Tolkien said a good fantasy story would never have one. The sheer pettiness. What an icon. No fantasy story would have a lamppost? Well this one does! Please, TELL Lewis what his story can have. There’s no slowing him down. A lesson in spite we should really all take to heart.

 

 

2. Religion

 

Image via IOL

 

Tolkien was, as well as being a linguist and historian, quite Catholic, and Lewis found his philosophical suggestions appealing, becoming religious himself. Tolkien didn’t get what he wanted, though, because though Lewis became more religious, he was Protestant, and Tolkien didn’t at all appreciate how much religion was in Lewis’ books. Kinda played himself.

 

3. The Draft

 

Image via The Creative Penn

 

Apparently when Lewis first read his draft of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to Tolkien and a croup of friends, Tolkien hated it. He thought it was terrible and combined too many mythologies. He wanted more consistent world building, and I don’t have a good source for this, but I’ve heard he even told Lewis to stop writing.

 

 

 

Featured image via J A Carlisle 

Literary Canon Update

Have you ever been given a reading list that’s written, translated, and selected exclusively by and for men? Odds are you’ve rarely seen any that aren’t. If you want to appreciate the cannon while also living in a world where women exist, this is the list for you. These books and translations are some of the best and most lauded of all time, and yes, they’re by women.

It was, I must confess, a little hard to compile. The Odyssey was first translated by a woman only in 2017! But don’t despair. It’s all here for the taking.

 

The Iliad and the Odyssey

 

Homer’s epics have been translated MANY times, but these, by Caroline Alexander and Emily Wilson, respectively, set an incredible standard.

 

The Iliad

 

 

Close as can be to the ancient Greek, this translations has garnered heaping praise. “[T]he guard has changed, and a new gold standard has appeared”, said New Criterion at the volume’s publication. This edition even manages to retain the original line numbers from the Greek.

 

The Odyssey

 

 

This work, too, matches the original Greek as closely as possible. “A staggeringly superior translation―true, poetic, lively and readable, and always closely engaged with the original Greek”, said Harvard classics professor Richard F. Thomas. Iambic pentameter imitates the lyricism of the original Greek, and the volume also includes translation guides and maps.

 

 

Antigonik and An Oresteia

 

 

For both of these it is possible to turn to Anne Carson, a Canadian translator and classics professor. Carson’s translations are modern, elegant, and never condescending. In stead of translated, the works seem brought into the light, with all their strangeness and fierceness intact.

 

 

Jane Austen

 

How is it that Jane Austen, often the only woman on a reading list, is still under hyped? I had a guy in a bar tell me once that if people like Austen it’s because they haven’t read a lot of books. He really said that. Family conflict, human stories, and scathing humor makes Austen worth reading, with characters you really will love, and hate.

 

Pride & Prejudice

 

It’s a staple for a reason, and if you’re not sure you’ll relate to these people’s problems, you’re wrong. Fuckboys, impending poverty, poor decisions, and character growth you can get behind. Plus, it may be a period piece, but people still love their sisters. You’ll relate.

 

 

Jane Eyre

 

 

Another classic people want to avoid, but it has everything: deaths, fire, lies, weddings, blindness. I wouldn’t exactly call Jane a relateable character, but she’s understandable, I think, when you see everything she’s been through. And she’s incredibly decisive.

 

 

 

Images via Amazon 

Seven Hilariously Iconic Oscar Wilde Quotes

Was Oscar Wilde 200+ years ahead of his time? Probably. The man was so galaxy brain we don’t even need to make memes about him, everything he said is already practically a meme. You’ve gotta appreciate the sheer brilliant nonsense. Here’s some relatable content, all the way from the 1900s.

1. Strong-willed?

Image via Brainy Quote

Well, if they tempt you, what are you really supposed to do? Not give in? I don’t think so. We’re going to be out here, living our most decadent and ridiculous lives, just like he would have wanted. You’ve got to live your best life, and sometimes that means making whatever choices are offered.

2. That’s what friends are FOR

Image via Goalcast

I mean, if you’re going to be stabbed, at least you can do it like bros. It would be the polite thing to do. Murder doesn’t have to end a friendship. And who even said anything about murder? What are a few knife wounds between friends? It’s an allegory for betrayal anyway. Brotrayal?

3. But not too much

Image via Pinterest

‘Nuff said. Or is it? Damn you, Wilde.

4. Gotta go be cool somewhere

Image via Pinterest

Just living that cat life, writing decadent horror stories and being the icon of the century. Bored? Never. Just got things to do. What things? Who cares? If he’s doing it, he’s going to make it cool. He’s pulling off that haircut, for goodness’ sake.

5. We all know where the real party is

Image via Me.me

Not to be controversial, but — valid. I mean, Wilde’s life was not an easy one, so being denied something he never wanted anyway isn’t a big deal. It’s catchy and amusing, but Wilde is rejecting shame. Funny though. Honestly.

6. Vengeance?

Image via BrainyQuote

Of course, we’ve all got legions of enemies (citation needed), so any advice a dead poet can give is going to change all of our lives for the better. Plus, this is a satisfying move. It’s low effort, and as well as getting your revenge, you get to be very smug while doing it.

7. One feel-good quote? I’M WEAK

Image via Books on the Wall

This is not as much a funny one, but it is one of my all-time favorites and always good when you’re having a moment, which is all the time for me. It’s the sort of pleasant, post-nihilistic sentiment we can always use, especially in strange times.

 

 

Featured image via The Irish Times.

Writers Confess Phrases They Overuse

John Boyne, legendary author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, tweeted today asking other writers if they’ve wrestled with phrases they overuse, and if so, what they are:

 

Are there writers who find themselves using the same lame phrases over and over & having to cut them? I'm terrible for "he hesitated for a moment, then looked away" & I've realised that my characters spend so much time shrugging that it's like their shoulders are on springs *crying laughing emoji*

 

If you’ve done any volume of writing, you can probably relate. Beyond a signature style, authors sometimes have words they use more often, or in this case, concepts and sentence pieces. A surprising number of them have to do with actions the characters are taking. The tweet got an enormous number of responses, causing the topic to trend on twitter. The whole thing gives the impression of characters doing things without the authors’ permission.

 

 

And I mean… they probably shouldn’t. But whether they’re blinking might not always be relevant. And she’s not the only one whose characters have gotten a little unruly.

 

 

Why won’t these characters hold still? Don’t they know what medium they’re in?

 

 

It isn’t always character wrangling, though. Sometimes the words won’t work. Or sometimes there are just too many of them.

 

 

Paraphrasing yourself is a lovely new take on the self drag. Though the original tweet’s tone was of amused annoyance, in some cases it devolved into actual advice, as though THAT’s going to change anything.

 

 

I mean, sure, you’re probably right, but sometimes a person’s gotta shrug. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Only when the moment’s right, I guess.

 

 

Featured image via ZDNet