More than 500 of the world’s leading authors, including five Nobel prize winners, have condemned the scale of state surveillance revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden and warned that spy agencies are undermining democracy and must be curbed by a new international charter.
The signatories, who come from 81 different countries and include Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Orhan Pamuk, Günter Grass and Arundhati Roy, say the capacity of intelligence agencies to spy on millions of people’s digital communications is turning everyone into potential suspects, with worrying implications for the way societies work.
Each week in Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, all 10 columnists look back at 2013 and answer: What was the most interesting literary development — welcome or lamentable — of the year?
See article in The New York Times.
The Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Library) have joined efforts in a landmark digitization project with the aim of opening up their repositories of ancient texts. Over the course of the next four years, 1.5 million pages from their remarkable collections will be made freely available online to researchers and to the general public.
The first books from this project have just gone online (including 2 Gutenberg Bibles). Browse the texts at the Polonski Foundation digitization Project.
- Book News: Ancient Texts From Vatican And Bodleian Libraries Digitized (npr.org)
- Ancient Bible manuscripts go online (oxfordmail.co.uk)
‘Kent University’s School of English has performed a screeching handbrake turn and professed itself “penitent” after Twitter erupted over a description of their creative writing programme which implied that children’s fiction was a lower form of writing than adult fiction.’
- Who says children’s books can’t be great literature? | Books | theguardian.com (theguardian.com)
- Children’s fiction is not great literature | Jonathan Myerson (theguardian.com)
Arts Faculty Library
(Last phase of moving books begins today.)
For ‘mourning pages’ in early printed books see the images at:
Kill Your Darlings is a drama that plots out the relationship between future beat-poet Allen Ginsberg (played by Daniel Radcliffe) and Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan).
I believe that it has been said that Radcliffe has been trying to distance himself from Harry Potter, but this clip has him looking geeky in something that looks like a boarding school.
- Radcliffe’s relish at tough Beat role (bbc.co.uk)
With exposure times of half a minute, Victorian mothers wanting a portrait of their children had to disguise themselves as chairs, couches and curtains to hold them still. The results are both touching and unsettling.
- Early Victorian family portraits and the disappearing mother (telegraph.co.uk)
- The lady vanishes: Victorian photography’s hidden mothers (theguardian.com)
University PR departments are editing their Wikipedia entries. That’s hardly surprising.
[Jonathan Swift] achieved greatness with a permanent classic for both adults and children in “Gulliver’s Travels,” something matched only by Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe,” and with what is the greatest satire in English (and perhaps any language), “A Modest Proposal,” which proves by careful arguments — statistical, mathematical and social — that the solution to impoverished Ireland’s problems is the eating of babies and the selling of their carcasses.
See a review of Swift’s most recent biography at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/books/review/jonathan-swift-by-leo-damrosch.html?_r=0
A tour of some recent books on monsters and witches from the middle ages to the present.