Posts tagged ‘Literature’

September 10, 2012

A Troika of Dystopia Tales … — #Books, #Literature, #Bibliophile

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is an unabashed bibliophile. Perhaps I am a bibliophage — bookworm. I certainly devour books — although my wife’s voracious appetite for books puts me to shame. Today’s meme is dystopian thoughts.

A few weeks back (August 15th) I wrote about Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand),  a dystopian sci-fi novel (which I was not enamored of, literately but has clearly has been a sales success). It has a movie coming out soon. I’ll pass on that too.

I am looking forward to Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road“, dystopian travelogue or dystopian Beat Generation screed upon a scroll movie. Despite, its appalling morality tale stories it was an enthralling novel and to think it was written in just three weeks! I bought its 50th anniversary scroll edition in 2007 and read it in almost a single uninterrupted session — somehow I was channeling Jack’s manic writing pace.

What appealed to me about “On The Road“, was its parallel to Hemingway. Here we have some bohemian types dealing with post-World-War-II issues. This was much the same way as Hemingway and his Paris bohêmes dealt with the post-World-War-I issues. So I read it in that context. This movie too will be out this fall — I cannot wait to see it!

But it is 2012 and we now have a new dystopian sci-fi work that needs consideration. This book too, took three weeks to write. But its author despised it, in spite of its success. The work was “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess. Well it is now the 50th anniversary of that novel’s publishing too. As a young man I was enthralled with the Nadsat (English-Russian) argot spoken by the protagonists again while appalled by the violence. I think Hollywood needs to remake this classic too. Hollywood, knock-knock, pick a director with a Slavic sensibility to capture Euro-Ruso trashy-ness of the mood. I did not care much for Stanley Kubrick’s version.

So this my Monday, Troika of Dystopia re-cast into 2012 … Hmmmm is it a coincidence that this is an election year? This election a bit dystopian too, n’est-ce pas?

Send me some Oomny messel in an email OK?

July 28, 2011

#USA #Politics – Tolkien Literature and the Debt Ceiling

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This jester has a fondness for literature and it is fair to call Stanczyk a Bibliophile. I adore the website LibraryThing . If you are studious and observe this site, you will divine that is biased towards English Literature. So it should not surprise the intelligentsia, that they claim J.R.R. Tolkien and his epic work, “The Lord of the Rings”, the greatest piece of literature of ALL time; even ahead of the Bard.

So I assume that the Brits now approve of the American Debate on the Debt Ceiling, for Lo .. And Behold, Gandalf has appeared in the Capital. This jester has been at enough royal courts to know when a wizard has appeared and is dispensing  wisdom …

Gandalf, aka John McCain, has called out his mad hatted men of mayhem, the Tea Party by their true names:  Hobbits! At the home of the Head Hobbit, Boehner Baggins, he has demanded they abandon their “Bizarro behavior” (mixing metaphors, and introducing Superman Literature). Decrying Hobbit wisdom of Nevada Angle or Delawarean Wiccan daughter of Bozo (who shall remain nameless), he has offered knowledge of the making of the one BILL to bind them all and rule them. So let us put our hopes in this renewed wizard, John McCain, the Grey Gandalf of Capitol Hill and pray he can break this spell of Hobbit lunacy.

Britons  and yea the rest of the world, should take solace in the words of that Great Honorary American Citizen, Winston Churchill, who observed, “You can always count on America to do the right thing … after they have exhausted every other possibility.” Now that was a great and astute leader — too bad that this age will have to make do with the rag-tag rabble we have assembled in D.C. to fight this evil menace — The Debt Ceiling. Very messy these hobbits.

In Gandalf We Trust, it is inscribed upon the coin of the realm.

July 17, 2011

#ThingsIFind when looking up other things … Stanislaw Lem, 1956, Przekroj

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

I think I have a new repeating meme. Its called, #ThingsIFind looking up other things. I guess being a court jester, I  like to laugh. So this magazine/newspaper article tickled my fancy. It is from a magazine named, Przekroj in 1956. I am taking its name to mean “Cross-Section” (please can a native Pole or someone else  fluent in Polish correct me). I did not think this magazine would answer my research question, but I could not resist the cover’s picture of Polish Bison. Now Stanczyk has always had a penchant for fiction and who doesn’t cut their teeth on science fiction, so when I saw “Stanislaw Lem“, I knew him from when I used to buy Sci-Fi books. What intrigued me was the little illustration to his article. Such whimsy!

Here’s the link in case you are interested:  http://mbc.malopolska.pl/dlibra/doccontent?id=59127&dirids=1

June 28, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday Czesław Miłosz

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Sto,  that is a lot.  Stanczyk is getting old, …  really, really old. Has it already been a century since the birth of Nobel Laureate, Czeslaw Milosz ?  Time flies when you are a royal jester. In two days, we will be celebrating Milosz’s 100th birthday. Milosz is near and dear to moje serce (my heart). When asked about his nationality, Milosz replied …

I am a Lithuanian to whom it was not given to be a Lithuanian.”  and “My family in the sixteenth century already spoke Polish, just as many families in Finland spoke Swedish and in Ireland English, so I am a Polish not a Lithuanian poet.”

A complex mind indeed. But I get Milosz. His family was from the era of the Polish-Lithuanian Commnwealth, literately Polish as were most in the circles of power or in the intelligentsia circles. So his thoughts were Polish, but his world view was Lithuanian where he was born. Of course this is in counter-point to Milosz being born into the Russian Empire. On June 30th, 1911 (Milosz’s birth) in the village of Szetejnie, his family was a member of the Russian Empire (Kovno Gubernia), just one of ten provinces in Russian-Poland (occupied Poland) inside the much larger Russian (still Czarist) Empire. Milosz however, was never Russian, not Czarist and no, not ever a Soviet.

I get Milosz. His Slavic soul still whispers to me and his way with words kept rapt, my attention. Much of his poetry/prose was indeed of his memory of Lithuanian places or experiences. That is not to negate his Polish experiences both pre and post Communism. His novel, “The Captive Mind”, a brilliant anti-Stalinist piece that made him well known, … in the Western, non-communist world. His works were unknown in Poland and the West thought of him as a political writer, not a poet. Milosz emigrated to the USA in 1960 and in 1961 started his tenure in Slavic Literature/Studies at  UC Berkley, and became a US citizen in 1970. In 1980, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Oddly, because his works were banned in Communist Poland, he was largely unknown as a writer in Poland until the award. Gradually, after the fall of Communism (by the 1990’s), Milosz moved back to Poland and lived and died in Krakow in 2004.

Crypt of the Meritorius

After a solemn mass at the Krakow Basilica of St. Mary’s, where a letter was read by the Pope, Blessed John Paul II,  of the Pope’s last correspondence with the poet. The funeral procession followed the Royal Road to the church of St. Michael the Archangel & St. Stanislaus on the Rock (na Skalce), where his sarcophagus is interred in its crypt. This crypt holds a Polish National Pantheon of literati.

Stanczyk only owns four works by Milosz:  The History of Polish Literature,  New and Collected Poems (1931-2001),  Road-Side Dog (two copies), and   Milosz’s Alphabet. I hope my readers will not think less of me, because I say, that the Road-Side Dog is my favorite. Milosz, I started writing far too late, but I assure you that there are many of your, Subjects, that I wish, To Let. Mój piesek (my little dog), Java, is not so little and seldom Road-Side, but her and I have a voice and your subjects To Let and some topics of our own to bark at visitors as they go by.  Milosz, bless me with your literate spirit.  I get you  Milosz and you live on in my,  and I assume many  minds and hearts,  forever. Pity you did not live to this era of blogging and Twitter. I doubt you’d have tweeted, but the blog would have been a fine media for your splendid thoughts.

Happy Birthday Czeslaw! Sto lat!

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