Posts Tagged: BBC

Language: “A Barometer of Society’s Health”

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For the BBC, Hephzibah Anderson explores the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin, two authors who invented languages to color their fictional worlds. In addition, the article considers how words created by novelists are adopted by contemporary culture:

Language, as dystopian novels remind us over and over, is a barometer of a society’s health.

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The End of Bouquinistes?

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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.

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Word of the Day: Agacerie

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(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.

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RoboNovelist

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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.

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Modern Art in Nazi Germany

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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.

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Women-Only Worlds in Science Fiction

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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.”

(Via Bookslut)

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Illustrations in The Joy of Sex

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“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.

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Poetic Lives Online: Links by Brian Spears

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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.

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Poetic Lives Online: Links by Brian Spears

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Alison Flood, writing in The Guardian implores her fellow citizens to vote in the BBC’s poll for the nation’s favorite poet. She’s worried that there will be a rehash of 1995, when Britain chose Rudyard Kipling’s “If” as its favorite poem.

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Harvard Study ‘Punctures Twitter Hype’

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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.

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