Vasko Popa’s Poetry and the Endless Circle of Creation

Luna Gradinšćak discusses the work of Serbian poet Vasko Popa (1922-1991)


Blue and golden
Last brim of perception
Last apple of the sun

How far does your sight reach

Can you hear the night’s cavalry
La illaha illalah Read the rest of this entry

November 24 in Literary History: Black Beauty is Published

The most significant events in the history of books on the 24th of November

1394: Charles of Orléans, Duke of Orléans and accomplished poet, is born. He wrote poems in both French and English, largely as a result of the 24 years he spent imprisoned in English castles, following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. It was an exciting time in English poetry, with Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, John Gower, and the author of Pearl and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight having helped to create a canon of great English poetry in the late fourteenth century. The first English king to use English at his royal court was Henry IV, who usurped the throne in 1399, when Charles of Orléans was five. Read the rest of this entry

Five Fascinating Facts about Jane Austen

A very short biography of Jane Austen told in five pieces of great trivia

1. Many writers have hated her. D. H. Lawrence called Jane Austen a ‘narrow gutted spinster’, while Mark Twain didn’t pull any punches: ‘Everytime I read “Pride and Prejudice” I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone,’ he wrote in a letter to Joseph Twichell in 1898. (Twain’s attitude to Austen is a little more complicated than this line suggestions, however.) Virginia Woolf later wrote that ‘I’d give all she ever wrote for half what the Brontës wrote—if my reason did not compel me to see that she is a magnificent artist.’ She had a difficult time getting her novels into print: Pride and Prejudice was eventually published in 1813, but its earlier incarnation (as First Impressions) had been turned down by a leading London publisher when Austen’s father offered it to them. Read the rest of this entry

November 23 in Literary History: John Milton Publishes Areopagitica

The most significant events in the history of books on the 23rd of November

534 BC: Thespis of Icaria – from whom we get the word ‘thespian’ – becomes the first recorded actor to portray a character on the stage. According to legend, Thespis was the first person to appear on stage and perform a role, rather than speak as himself, which had been the norm until then (where storytellers would perform as themselves, rather than in character). The ’23 November’ date is more traditional than factual, of course…

1644: John Milton publishes one of the most famous – and eloquent – defences of free expression ever written, the Areopagitica. A polemical tract in prose, published during the English Civil War, Areopagitica is an attack on censorship and an argument in favour of the freedom of the press – as relevant now as it has ever been. Read the rest of this entry

November 22 in Literary History: C. S. Lewis Dies

The most significant events in the history of books on the 22nd of November

1819: George Eliot is born. She was born Mary Ann Evans (sometimes known as Marian) and adopted the name George Eliot in 1856, when she launched her career in fiction. Eliot was the author of seven full-length novels, including Middlemarch and The Mill on the Floss, and was also the first person to refer to modern tennis and to ‘pop’ music.

1869: André Gide is born. This French author, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947, once observed: ‘With each book you write you should lose the admirers you gained with the previous one.’ Read the rest of this entry


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 20,471 other followers