Amazon launched an online bookstore two decades ago. Since then, the Internet has been changing the way readers buy books. Paris has been a major book-selling city since the 17th century, when the first bouquinistes began lining the banks of the Seine....more
Posts Tagged: BBC
For most writers, income may be falling, but not for everyone. A new study shows that just as in other industries, income disparity is a growing problem between the writing elite and the rest of us. BBC News reports that just 5% of writers are earning 42% of all writing-related income, while the bottom half of professional writers accounted for just 7% of that income....more
(n.); allurement, enticement, coquetry; flirtation; from the French agacer (“to tease”)
Fictional characters – unlike the messy organisms from which they derive – float free from the sordid contingencies of the body, because, no matter how convincingly they’re portrayed as being embodied, the medium within which they operate is, self-evidently, a mental one.
Is it conceivable for robots to compete with the “flesh-and-blood novelist?” Over at the BBC, Hephzibah Anderson explores the possibility and the ethical ramifications of algorithms writing the next Anna Karenina. So far, however, Anderson suggests that developers of such technologies have hit a snag:
Even if a string of zeroes and ones evolves to understand what it means to taste a childhood food in later life, or to feel the first splash of spring sunshine as a long winter loosens its grip, that algorithm won’t truly be able to know such experiences.
[Lowry] spent a decade working on In Ballast to the White Sea, but the draft was lost when his shack near Vancouver in Canada burned down in 1944. However, it has transpired that Lowry had given an early copy to his first wife’s mother.
At Salon, Laura Miller rebukes Will Self’s criticism of George Orwell at the BBC, arguing that the British novelist has misinterpreted “Politics and the English Language.” She emphasizes the importance that, in his essay, Orwell discussed political writing and did not suggest his “rules” apply to fiction....more
The first printed book in the English language was just sold at auction for £1,082,500. Coming in at 540 years old, The Recuyell of the Histories of Troye revamps Greek mythology idols as chivalric heroes and is considered the crowning achievement of William Caxton, “the father of printing in England.”...more
A city in Siberia is reportedly offering free rides on the underground to people who can recite at least two verses from any poem by Alexander Pushkin, one of Russia’s greatest poets....more
This BBC story goes into fascinating detail about the way the degenerate art was displayed alongside insulting graffiti, and, of course, what role Hitler’s youthful art education played in all this. (Via.)
In 1937, the Nazi regime staged two simultaneous art exhibitions, one with art they supported (“statuesque blonde nudes along with idealized soldiers and landscapes”) and one with “degenerate” art (“modern, abstract, non-representational”) that they felt represented a threat to the German state.
Richard III, whom Shakespeare portrayed as deformed and murderous, has been dug up not in a cathedral or mausoleum but underneath a parking lot.
The BBC reports that after extensive research and DNA testing, archaeologists are sure “beyond reasonable doubt” that the remains belong to the fifteenth-century king....more
At the BBC, writer Sarah Hall explores “the popular motif in science fiction of an all-women society surviving without men.” In the two-part program, Hall talks with authors, professors, and science fiction historians, looking at how science fiction “has been used to examine relationships between the sexes,” and how the genre “has examined the different ways of continuing the human race.”
“The images were graphic – they showed genitals and countless sex positions – but they were also artistic, and tasteful.”
BBC takes a closer look at The Joy of Sex forty years after its publication. The piece examines how publishers sought to avoid obscenity charges by using hand-drawn illustrations rather than photographs, focusing on creating quality artwork, and including ancient pictures as “foils” to offset the explicitness of the illustrations....more
In 1958 Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler discussed each other’s writing in this BBC interview. Being seasoned wordsmiths on the subject, they discuss what makes a British thriller versus an American thriller (apparently “thriller” is an elusive term), heroes and villains and frustrations with bestseller lists....more
I love Philip Larkin’s “An Arundel Tomb.” He hated it. On a side note, I really love that the BBC is willing to spend 30 minutes on the story behind a single poem.
This is, I think, a good way to approach an online poetry journal–make it something other than a paper journal transferred onto a website....more
That’s the claim of a BBC News article which quotes the study’s lead researcher, Bill Heil, as follows: “Twitter is a broadcast medium rather than an intimate conversation with friends,” and “it looks like a few people are creating content for a few people to read and share.” That’s no great surprise, but there are a couple interesting items in the data....more