Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category


Felicia Appenteng

William Dalrymple of The New York Times proclaims, "Eat Your Heart Out Homer" about this story which was one of the most popular oral epics of Medieval Persia.  It spread throughout the Indo-Islamic world and absorbed folk tales of various cultures and was translated into Arabic, Malay, Turkish and Indonesian languages as well.  This is a newly published translation by Pakistani-Canadian scholar Musharraf Ali Farooqi.  The stories center around a character who is the historic Uncle of the Prophet Muhammad.  On this Sunday morning, please enjoy a selection of this fascinating collection of stories, as published on the New York Times website.   

"The florid news writers, the sweet-lipped historians, revivers of old
tales and renewers of past legends, relate that there ruled at
Ctesiphon in Persia (image of Heaven!) Emperor Qubad Kamran, who
cherished his subjects and was a succor to the impecunious in their

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Jhumpa Lahiri Reads William Trevor

Written on December 28, 2007 by DeansTalk in Literature


In a feature of The New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri reads William Trevor‘s short story"A Day," published in The New Yorker in 1993.  She also discusses the book with Fiction Editor Deborah Treisman. 

Click here to listen to "A Day," as read by Jhumpa Lahiri. 


A Simple and Heartbreaking Rule for Writing

Written on December 20, 2007 by DeansTalk in Literature

Felicia Appenteng

Steinbeckstamp In honor of the anniversary of the death of the great American author John Steinbeck, I thought that the readers might enjoy reading one great writer giving advice about writing to another writer. 

All aspiring writers, enjoy!

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La Edad de Oro

Written on December 18, 2007 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Arts & Cultures & Societies, Literature

Miguel Herrero de Jáuregui

Orpheuslyreanimal  En torno al 37 a. C Virgilio escribió un poema para celebrar el nacimiento de un niño que había de heredar el imperio de Augusto, y con el que el orbe volvería a la Edad de Oro. El niño murió joven sin gloria ninguna,  y aún hoy se discute quién era, pero el poema había de tener el destino exactamente opuesto. Porque las imágenes con que describe la Nueva Era tienen parecidos muy sorprendentes con algunas profecías bíblicas mesiánicas muy citadas estos días, como Isaías, 11, 6:  “Serán vecinos el lobo y el cordero, y el leopardo se echará con el cabrito; el novillo y el cachorro pacerán juntos, y un niño pequeño los conducirá. La vaca y la osa pacerán, juntos acostarán sus crías; el león, como los bueyes, comerá paja. Hurgará el niño de pecho en el agujero del áspid, y en la hura de la víbora el recién destetado meterá la mano”.

La tradición cristiana pronto incorporó la Bucólica IV como fruto de la inspiración divina en el gran poeta latino. ¿Hay algún otro modo de explicar las semejanzas, o hay que elegir entre la casualidad y la providencia? Para alivio de quienes no gustan de acudir a ninguna de las dos, lo hay. Existe una buena posibilidad de que Virgilio se inspirara en los Oráculos Sibilinos que anunciaban una Edad de Oro. Y sabemos que muchos de estos poemas eran composiciones de apologistas judíos de Alejandría, que bajo el nombre prestigioso de la Sibila, introducían ideas bíblicas en formas poéticas griegas. Las semejanzas con Isaías se podrían explicar porque Virgilio conociera algunos de estos oráculos. Cada verso merece páginas de comentario. Pero ahora, basta de pedanterías filológicas, y oigamos al poeta:

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Written on December 16, 2007 by DeansTalk in Arts & Cultures & Societies, Literature

On Rereading Václav Havel’s, ‘The Power of the Powerless’

Jeremy Whitty, IE Business School Global MBA Student 2007-08

I have imagination, and nothing that is real is alien to me              –George Santayana   Little Essays


In just under two years we all shall remember the fall of the Berlin wall. Therefore before volumes appear in print about it, Solidarity and the Velvet Revolution, it is worth asking whether a handful of dissident intellectuals really did make a difference? Is Havel’s essay "The Power of the Powerless" as relevant today as it was in communist Prague, when it showed the "moral rot" of the political system infused with lies and shrouded in a mask of appearances, where even language had lost its semantic meaning? And if it is relevant, and if a handful of dissidents can make a difference, where are they now?

The Czech regime, although described as post-totalitarian by Havel, certainly had totalitarian ambitions. There was a one party system which continued to demand the total subservience of society to the state. People were no longer expected to show enthusiasm for the system, but they had to play the game, to "live within the lie". Yet, despite the over-arching control of the state apparatus, a handful of intellectuals did make a difference; in November 1989, when Czech dissidents and opposition groups came together to form the Civic Forum, there was only 200 of them. Furthermore, their influence spread beyond their own borders, a solidarity activist, Zbygniew Bujak, recounts the "profound" impact Havel’s essay had on solidarity members in the Ursus factory in 1979. People thought Solidarity were "crazy" for taking the risk of speaking the truth "about the factory, the country, the politics" but Havel’s essays gave them the "theoretical underpinnings" for their work and "maintained our spirits". According to Bujak, less than a year later, the party and factory management "were afraid of us. We mattered". This is an immensely important statement. That any one person or group of individuals could actually matter is a concept totally alien to a totalitarian system.

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