Critical Linking: April 13, 2013

Books aren’t a central part of our culture any more – literature is a bit second tier. There’s plenty of coverage of films, music, TV and video games. It’s rare that you have a water cooler moment regarding a book.

The books that do inspire those moments are rarely worth them. Or have we forgotten Fifty Shades of Grey?

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Quidditch is successful because it’s unique and if it becomes too much like other sports, I’m not sure that it would continue to be popular. Is the game powerful because it [has] a fringe audience? And when it loses that fringe audience, will it still be cool?

It sounds like a lot of fun, but that doesn’t make it cool.

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Novelists, with their pretenses to total access to their universes, invariably argue for the distinctiveness, not to mention the primacy, of human agency. Instead, Lovecraft wrote fragments of a novel, bits and pieces that never reveal the whole story but which, put together, poignantly suggest the impotence of human aspiration.

He introduced to the world to Cthulu in those fragments. If he had done nothing else, that would be enough.

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For Goldblatt, translation is a service primarily to the reader, not to the writer. The purpose of his work is to get the meaning across. Sometimes that can’t be done by remaining absolutely faithful to the original text.

It’s not the words. It’s the meaning.

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