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April 11, 2007

Comments

janitorman

Teleplay. Screenplay. If it were, say, "Equus" or maybe even "Peter Pan", the distinction probably wouldn't be necessary. But Fleming's Bond novels have all been filmed -- and there's this latest, rather popular "Casino Royale" just recently out on DVD -- thus the prefixed adjective.

Suzy

Radio play. Pinter, for example, has written plays specifically for radio.

TEV

All of which occured ... but when one merely says "play" do we really think of any other kind of play? Still feels redundant.

Suzy

Yes, you're right, the default form is the stage play and it's a little superfluous.

janitorman

With "Casino Royale" I bet there still could be some confusion down there somewhere in the recesses of humanity, because it's just so *movie*, but generally you write "stage play" for "play" when you're trying to create a particular sort of faux fin-de-siècle highbrowiness -- for which the use of the word "faux" and the phrase "fin de siècle"* are themselves pretty useful, but not "highbrowiness" 'cause I made that up.

"Stage play" is, what there, one of them oxycodones or what you call 'em.

*You ever read "The Orientalist"? Not bad, really. But he used "fin de siècle" I mean like a hundred times. No joke. I was going to go through and count them but I decided that to waste one's precious moments enumerating the specific incidences of a particular phrase in a work of contemporary prose would be oh so fin de siècle.

Jack Pendarvis

What?

janitorman

"What?"

My point, exactly.

Jack Pendarvis

Ah!

Steven Augustine

RE: the Logan profile:

"But this is only, guardedly, true."

"Looking back on this poetry at its best, we have the freshest of new classics and the most distinguished of experimental."

"To read Logan’s latest poetry is to remember that, in whatever guise, fake art is detectable; that half-educated art is incomplete; that clever, dilettantish, perfunctory work is not good enough; and that to ignore the example of poets prior to1900 such as Jonson, Pope, or Wordsworth (selected passages from the Prelude), is albeit fatal, and until poets and readers learn to school themselves on this as well as more recent poetry, the quality of American poetry, for lacking the maturity of classicism, will continue to find itself in decline."

...if the "Literary Editor" is interested in a little editing, I have a few suggestions...

Steven Augustine

Having said that (bashing Logan's basher), these sampled lines of Logan's *are* fairly "apucious" (to borrow a neologism from a character in a Woody Allen movie):

"Mostly you drove the gravel driveway,/where the woppa-woppa of a woodpecker,/ beating its head against the clapboard/ like a pile driver, echoed like a magnum at close quarters."

"Common as fingerprints, our lives/burn like decaying atoms/ across the dark cloud of the negative."

"And there on the mantel your wedding photo,/two people fresh and immortal as Saran Wrap!"

That's pretty ham-handed, image-incontinent versifying. Again, "apucious" is the best word for the job here.

tod goldberg

There is also Anal Play, a lot of which I've read about in Daniel Craig fan fiction. Very hot. Totally in canon. I recommend all of you read it.

Steven Augustine

Speaking of which...when many of you wake up on Thursday, it will be to find out that the wonderful Kurt Vonnegut has died. And even Gore Vidal has had something nice to say about him for the occasion. And so it...

denise hamilton

Tod you are too funny, but stop talking about fanfic or you'll set your brother off again.

Janitorman I actually have read The Orientalist, I love bios about strange folk who disappear into other cultures, like Richard Burton and all those Victorian women world travelers and eccentrics like the Germanically named Brit Wilfred Thesiger who wrote the excellent "Marsh Arabs" and "Arabian Sands."

The Orientalist led me of course to Ali and Nino which I loved way more. Brilliant, sad, cosmopolitan, humane, a look at what was once a truly multicultural place before the word was invented. Baku has sadly dissolved into a backwater and remote outpost again. A little gem of a novel.

janitorman

Denise, for some reason The Orientalist has yet to lead me to Ali and Nino, though that probably has more to do with the Tower of Babel of reading backed up on my desk and night table -- I'm especially avoiding the one in which Dawkins proves to me for good and all there is no God -- than it does the merits of The Orientalist. I truly enjoyed that biography, and was only having a bit of fun with that author's particular stuck-on phrase. I have to say -- oddly, though, I've lost the specific details -- my favorite characterization in the bio was that of the old countess or duchess or whomever living in an old castle in Romania or Austria or wherever who in the middle of the night wrote rock operas.

tod goldberg

Oh, Denise, Lee's in Germany right now, so someone has to handle the mockery and such while he's gone.

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TEV DEFINED


  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."

SECOND LOOK

  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

    Bs

    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe

    Rider_4

    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."