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Posts Tagged ‘littérature’

‘Legends of the Fall’ Author Jim Harrison Dead at 78

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Jim Harrison, the fiction writer, poet, outdoorsman and reveler who wrote with gruff affection for the country’s landscape and rural life and enjoyed mainstream success in middle age with his historical saga “Legends of the Fall,” has died at age 78.

IMAGE: Jim Harrison

The versatile and prolific author completed more than 30 books, most recently the novella collection “The Ancient Minstrel,” and was admired worldwide.

Sometimes likened to Ernest Hemingway for the range and kinds of his interests, he was a hunter and fisherman who savored his time in a cabin near his Michigan hometown, a drinker and Hollywood scriptwriter who was close friends with Jack Nicholson and came to know Sean Connery, Orson Welles and Warren Beatty among others.

Published in 1979, “Legends of the Fall” was a collection of three novellas that featured the title story about Montana rancher Col. William Ludlow and his three sons of sharply contrasting personalities and values, the narrative extending from before World War I to the mid-20th century, from San Francisco to Singapore.

The book was a best-seller, and Harrison worked on the script for an Oscar-nominated 1994 film of the same name starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins and Aidan Quinn.

Harrison’s screenplay credits also included “Revenge,” starring Kevin Costner, and the Nicholson film “Wolf.” But he would liken the unpredictable and nerve wracking process to being trapped in a “shuddering elevator” and reminded himself of his marginal status by inscribing a putdown by a Hollywood executive, “You’re just a writer,” on a piece of paper and taping it above his desk.

Harrison had displayed numerous talents before the general public caught on to him. He was an accomplished poet and sports journalist and a fiction writer with a strong feel for open spaces and the pull and consequences of history. He set many works in the rural north of his native Michigan, including the detective novels “The Great Leader” and “The Big Seven,” and used Nebraska as the backdrop for one of his most acclaimed works, “Dalva”

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David Lodge

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Une interview de David Lodge un auteur génial !

Harper Lee dies, age 89

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Celebrated author Harper Lee died at the age of 89 in her beloved hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Her 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning book ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ remains one of America’s most culturally significant novels

Lee remained, to the end, immune to the blandishments of worldwide fame, which enveloped her in 1960 with the publication of her first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. It won the Pulitzer Prize, has sold more than 30 million copies in English, remains in print (selling more than a million copies a year) and in every school in America, and, until last year, was her only book.

To Kill a Mockingbird was the Huckleberry Finn of the 20th century,” said Charles J. Shields, author of a 2006 biography, Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. “It redirected American’s gaze after WWII and the excitement of the 1950s back to the enduring problems of racism and injustice in this country.”

Her endearing and enduring novel, set in 1930s Maycomb, Ala. (the stand-in for Monroeville), is the story of upstanding lawyer Atticus Finch, who defends a black man falsely accused of rape in a time and place when that could get a man killed.

The story is told through the eyes of Atticus’ small tomboy daughter, Scout, and features, among many memorable characters, her neighbor pal, Dill, a stand-in for Lee’s childhood friend, the writer Truman Capote, who spent his early years in Monroeville, prompting the town to refer to itself today as the “Literary Capital of Alabama.”

President Obama, who presented her with the National Medal of the Arts in 2011, issued a statement :

“What that one story did, more powerfully than one hundred speeches possibly could, was change the way we saw each other, and then the way we saw ourselves. Through the uncorrupted eyes of a child, she showed us the beautiful complexity of our common humanity, and the importance of striving for justice in our own lives, our communities, and our country.

“Ms. Lee changed America for the better. And there is no higher tribute we can offer her than to keep telling this timeless American story — to our students, to our neighbors, and to our children — and to constantly try, in our own lives, to finally see each other.”

100 Best First Lines from Novels

Monday, September 27th, 2010

les meilleures ouvertures de romans dans la littérature : en Anglais, bien sûr !

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

This is the title of  a short story by Allan Sillitoe

IT chronicled the hopeless prospects, drunkenness, casual fights and lives of young working class men of that era. In so doing, they captured the desire of readers to experience the dramatic possibilities of a world that had remained unseen.

In his earliest work, before his powerful sense of social injustice began to dominate his fiction, Sillitoe created plausible, complex youths who rebelled against the establishment, epitomised by parent, policeman and boss. Inevitably his work chimed at a time when youth culture and adolescent anger were beginning to dominate the media through the work not only of  Brando, James Dean, JD Salinger and the still-embryonic pop music.

Among his further novels, collections of poetry, screenplays, essays, plays and children’s books, Sillitoe developed his themes and understanding of humanity and began to internalise injustice, to reflect oppression on the workings of the human psyche. If his life’s work forever explored the privations of his upbringing, in his maturity his singular characters were touched by the universal.

Alan Sillitoe was born in Nottingham on March 4 1928. His father was an unskilled labourer, often unemployed, and the family were perpetually moving to avoid the ministrations of rent collectors. He was educated at local elementary schools from where, despite an early enthusiasm for English Literature, he failed to pass the entrance exam for the local grammar school and he left at 14.

He walked out of his first job, at the Raleigh Bicycle works, after three months over a wage dispute. The following year he enlisted in the RAF.

Although he was initially accepted as a pilot, the cessation of hostilities with Japan had rendered further pilots unnecessary, and Sillitoe served his time as a telegraphist and radio operator in Malaya. In 1948 he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent 16 months in an Air Force hospital, where he began educating himself by reading Greek and Latin classics in translation.

In 1952 Sillitoe and the American poet, Ruth Fainlight, moved to Europe and lived for six years in France, Spain and Majorca, surviving on his limited RAF disability pension. He wrote steadily — short stories for magazines and unpublished novels — even writing on book covers when money was too tight for paper.

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning was an instant critical and commercial success. Its portrayal of Arthur Seaton, a rebellious factory worker and amoral adulterous lover, was praised for its unsentimental evocation of working-class existence. The novel established many of the themes that were to occupy Sillitoe throughout his life; social injustice, the “bunker” mentality of the working-class, the mindlessness of their only realistic employment and the consequent banality and ephemerality of their lives.

Having moved to London, Sillitoe published, to great acclaim, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and Other Stories which won the Hawthornden Prize. The collection included some of his finest work, but it was the title story, in which a Borstal boy deliberately loses a race he is capable of winning in order to spite the governor and thus retain his self-esteem, which won particular praise.

After The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner was successfully filmed with Sir Michael Redgrave and Tom Courtenay in 1961, Sillitoe moved his family to Morocco.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Sillitoe continued to expand his range as a novelist. Although he mined working-class Nottingham for Out of the Whirlwind (1987), he wrote a traditional adventure story in The Lost Flying Boat (1983), in addition to further volumes of poetry and stories for children. In 1994 he published his autobiography, Life without Armour, which enabled his readers to attempt to establish where the young Alan Sillitoe ended and the young Arthur Seaton began.

If Alan Sillitoe never regained the fame and focus of his early years, he nevertheless produced a substantial and variegated body of work that was, when taken as a whole, probably as underrated as his initial success, though undoubtedly merited, was excessive.

Sillitoe was a mild-mannered man who remained committed to political causes and social justice throughout his life. A workaholic, he relaxed by travelling, taking bicycle rides in the Kent countryside and tuning into foreign stations on his radio transmitter.

He married Ruth Fainlight in 1959. They had a son and a daughter.

 

The Catcher in the Rye

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

 

                

Like all of us who read “The Catcher in the Rye”, I was saddened by the death of J.D. Salinger. That’s why I decided to tell you a few words about it today in class and I thought a short article would be useful.

Although J.D. Salinger has written many short stories, The Catcher in the Rye is Salinger’s only novel and his most notable work, earning him great fame and admiration.

At the beginning of his story, Holden Caulfield  is a student at Pencey Prep School, irresponsible and immature.  He has been expelled for failing four out of his five classes. Holden packs up and leaves the school in the middle of the night after an altercation with his roommate. He takes a train to New York, but does not want to return to his family and instead checks into the dilapidated Edmont Hotel. There, he spends an evening dancing with three tourist girls and has a clumsy encounter with a prostitute; he refuses to do anything with her and, after he tells her he just wants to talk, she becomes annoyed with him and leaves. However, he still pays her for her time. Holden spends a total of three days in the city, characterized largely by drunkenness and loneliness. At one point he ends up at a museum, where he contrasts his life with the statues of Eskimos on display. For as long as he can remember, the statues have been unchanging. These concerns may have stemmed largely from the death of his brother, Allie. Eventually, he sneaks into his parents’ apartment while they are away, to visit his younger sister, Phoebe, who is nearly the only person with whom he seems to be able to communicate. After leaving his parents’ apartment, Holden then drops by to see his old English teacher, Mr. Antolini, in the middle of the night, and is offered advice on life and a place to sleep. Mr. Antolini tells Holden that it is the stronger man who lives humbly, rather than dies nobly, for a cause. This rebukes Holden’s ideas of becoming a “catcher in the rye,” a godlike figure who symbolically saves children from “falling off a crazy cliff” and being exposed to the evils of adulthood. Holden intends to move out west; he relays these plans to his sister, who decides she wants to go with him. He refuses to take her, and when she becomes upset with him, he tells her that he will no longer go.

The Catcher in the Rye is written in first person from the point of view of its protagonist, Holden Caufield, a writing style known as stream of consciousness), which seems to follow the protagonist’s exact thought process.

The Catcher in the Rye has been listed as one of the best novels of the 20th century.

These are the only two pictures we have of Salinger. Salinger became reclusive after the publication of The Catcher in The Rye and  gradually withdrew from public view. Some people think that he was unable to deal with the traumatic nature of his war service.

 

Quotations from The Catcher in The Rye :
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 1, opening words of book

 

I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 3
What really knocks me out is a book, when you’re all done reading it, you wished the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 3
What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 1
Pencey was full of crooks. Quite a few guys came from these wealthy families, but it was full of crooks anyway. The more expensive a school is, the more crooks it has – I’m not kidding.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 1
It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 1
People always think something’s all true.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 2
People never notice anything.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 2
Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.
The Catcher in the Rye
Mr. Spencer in Chapter 2
People always clap for the wrong things.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 12
I’m always saying “Glad to’ve met you” to somebody I’m not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 12
Anyway, I’m sort of glad they’ve got the atomic bomb invented. If there’s ever another war, I’m going to sit right the hell on top of it. I’ll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 18

Boy, when you’re dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 20

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 22

That’s the nice thing about carrousels, they always play the same songs.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 25

Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden Caulfield in Chapter 26, closing words of book

John Millington Synge

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

John Millington Synge ((1871-1909), poète, écrivain et accessoirement musicien, était aussi photographe. Issu de la bourgeoisie protestante irlandaise, il passa une partie de sa vie à voyager pour étudier les arts et la littérature.

En 1897, malade, il décide de vivre entre Paris et Inis Meàn, dans les îles d’Aran. Il y effectue un véritable travail d’ethnologue, sillonnant la campagne avec son appareil-photo, collectant récits et chansons à chacun de ses passages.

En 1907, il publie son livre Les Iles d’Aran, illustré par Jack Butler Yeats. Les photos prises par Synge dans les îles d’Aran entre 1898 et 1902 ne seront rassemblées et publiées qu’en 1971 dans un recueil intitulé My Wallet of Photographs aux éditions Dolmen Press.

Synges_wallet1.jpghttp://www.aran-isles.com/1224246671468_4.jpgSynges_wallet7.jpgSynges_wallet3.jpg

Synge was 27 when he went to the Aran Islands for the first time in l898, armed with l9th-century contemporary technology: a typewriter and a second-hand camera called a Klito he had bought from another visitor in Kilronan. Recovering from an operation for Hodgkin’s disease and a frustrated love affair, he was open, vulnerable and receptive. The images he took, record everyday island life – the women at the spinning wheels, the men gathering seaweed or hauling their currachs – but they also chronicle a dramatic news event, one of the last evictions on the island of an old woman turned out of her house after 30 years.

In his pictures of people, there’s an intimacy, a familiarity in the attitude towards the camera, a sense of ease in facing a friendly rather than an intruding lens. The photographs were used by Jack Yeats for his illustrations for a series of articles Synge wrote for the Manchester Guardian in June and July 1905 and the original sketch of the family on Inis Oírr now hangs in the Niland Gallery in Sligo.

“These photographs are important because they are among the first to portray the cultural revival in Ireland at the turn of the century and are among the most visual statements of Irishness from a cultural national perspective,” says Walsh, who first came across the photographs on a visit to Inis Meáin two years ago. “Synge was someone who believed that here was a reservoir of pure unadulterated Irishness, much more rooted and organic and, in a way, like an alternative lifestyle that came from the people and the elemental forces that surround them.” Other photographers of the time, he argues, did not have the same empathy, did not speak Irish, and were transients passing through with a camera, or scientists clinically recording what they perceived as a primitive way of life.

Synge was a close observer of nature and an accomplished musician who had ways of engaging with islanders and entertaining them. He could also be inconspicuous when he wanted to, and the portrait of the family on Inis Oírr, the man moving away from the woman and child, has a kind of epic grandeur, almost cinematic in its formality and setting.

He noticed details of island dress, “the local air of beauty”: the flannel trousers, the veists or báiníns, the pampooties, cowhide shoes and, of course, the red petticoats and indigo stockings “on the powerful legs” of the women. He certainly didn’t write about white cabled Aran sweaters, which did not exist then, and the idea of drowned fishermen being identified by their knitted jumpers was a later, mythical invention. Early visitors to the island were always impressed by the colour and unity of the dress, and the contrast between the farmers on Aran and those of their counterparts in Wicklow in their top hats, suits and boots could not be more striking.

L’Irlande fête les 70 ans de Seamus Heaney, poète et Prix Nobel

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Seamus Heaney, né en 1939 en Irlande du Nord, a fêté lundi dernier ses 70 ans en compagnie du pays tout entier. L’Irlande, pays des poètes, a mis à l’honneur, lundi 13 avril, celui qui a consacré sa vie à la poésie – et a reçu le prix Nobel de littérature 1995 pour l’ensemble de son œuvre.

Elevé dans le milieu rural du nord de l’Irlande, il poursuit ses études à l’université de Belfast. Ce clivage entre racines gaéliques et culture britannique marquera profondément son œuvre.

Je vous joins une petite vidéo illustrant un de ses poèmes.

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Jane Austen : a quizz

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Check out this quizz about Jane Austen

I’m sure you know her at least thanks to the movies adapted form her novels

Orgueil et PréjugésSense And SensibilityRaison et SentimentsEmma l'EntremetteuseNorthanger AbbeyPersuasion

Mansfield Park