Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Are the children's classics in danger of becoming obsolete?

Reading a disturbing article at:http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/opinion/Laura-Cummings-Are-the-childrens.5996732.jp

One in six primary school pupils think Fagin – famously brought to cinematic life by Ron Moody in the 1968 musical Oliver! – was a footballer who played for Manchester United.

Moby Dick? Well, he was a pop star or explorer, according to eighty per cent of eight to ten-year-olds.

And one in ten think Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea is Simon Cowell's autobiography.

We need our schools to encourage each generation to engage timeless literature and according to recent research, they are failing :-(

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

New Hemingway not to be published

A newly discovered manuscript by the young Ernest Hemingway is unlikely ever to be published after his family refused permission.

The five-page story - titled My life in the Bull Ring with Donald Ogden Stewart - is expected to fetch at least $18,000 (£10,000) at auction.

The piece, written in 1924, is said to be a parody about a bullfight in the Spanish city of Pamplona.

Hemingway expert J. Gerald Kennedy said the work was "not great literature".

Classic Literature

"It's pretty typical of the kind of after-hours parody Hemingway was writing in Paris in the mid-20s.

"He's still a year away from writing The Sun Also Rises," added the Louisiana State University professor, talking about the writer's classic tale.

To publish a new Hemingway find, permission must be granted by both the Ernest Hemingway Foundation and the Hemingway estate.

The Foundation wanted to publish it - but the family did not.

Suzanne Balaban, vice president and director of publicity at Scribner's, Hemingway's original publisher, said the estate did not feel they had "explored the best way to present this story to the public".


Christie's auction house in New York plans to auction the carbon-copy manuscript and a handwritten letter from Hemingway on 16 December.

Donald Stewart, who owns the manuscript, had the documents for more than 20 years without realising it.

He made the discovery recently in an envelope left by his father, Donald Ogden Stewart, who died in 1980.

Hemingway had asked his father, who was a successful satirist and screenwriter, to try to get the story published in Vanity Fair, but he kept it instead.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

City hosts festival of literature

Authors, poets, playwrights and journalists will be in Durham over the next month as the city hosts its annual Literature Festival.

This year marks the 15th festival and local writers will be performing alongside international names like Iain Banks and Ian Rankin.

Novelists will be discussing their work and there will be political debates and historical lectures.

Workshops will also be held for visitors to get involved.

Events will be taking place throughout the city when the festival opens on Sunday, and will continue until 23 October.

French literary icon Sagan dies

Best-selling French novelist Francoise Sagan has died in the north-western town of Honfleur aged 69.

She died of heart and lung failure a few days after being admitted to a local hospital.

Sagan published her first and best-known work Bonjour Tristesse - an anthem to disillusioned youth - in 1954 at the age of just 18.

She produced more than 40 novels and plays, including A Certain Smile, Incidental Music and The Painted Lady.

She had been ill for several years and was taken to the hospital earlier this week, hospital officials said.

With her passing, France loses one of its most brilliant and sensitive authors
President Jacques Chirac

She had been staying in the Normandy town of Honfleur, and passed away with a close friend and her son by her side, a hospital official told French radio.

French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin immediately paid her emotional tributes.

Mr Chirac called Sagan "a leading figure in her generation" who helped raise the status of women in France.

"With her passing, France loses one of its most brilliant and sensitive authors...

"With finesse, emotion and subtlety, Francoise Sagan explored the spirit and passions of the human heart," he said in a statement issued by his office.

Mr Raffarin called Sagan "a smile - one that was melancholy, enigmatic, distant, and yet joyous".

Early literary success

Sagan was born into a wealthy family in the south-west of France in 1935.

She was expelled from her convent school and took seven weeks in the summer of 1953 to write her most important work.

She was the archetype of the teenage rebel in a post-war Paris abuzz with jazz and existentialism, says correspondent Hugh Schofield in Paris.

Bonjour Tristesse (Hello Sadness) tells the story of a bored, bourgeois teenager who filled the emptiness of her existence by conspiring to destroy her father's new girlfriend.

It was about adolescence, love and loneliness, and it had an immediate echo in a world looking for new ways of expressing emotion and human identity, Hugh Schofield says.

The novel gained instant success because of its irreverent tone and was considered at the time shocking because of the emotional intimacy and subversive subtext.

It was later translated into 22 languages and sold five million copies around the world.

Later in her life, Sagan proved just as controversial, collecting a number of convictions for tax fraud and drug abuse. She was also known for her love of gambling and fast cars.

"The laws are made to be adapted to people and not the other way round. I have always advised everyone against cocaine," she said at the time of one of the convictions.