(Pictured above: Virginia Woolf’s Italian notebook)
An excerpt from Surprised by Joy: C. S. Lewis on his process of learning Greek in preparation for reading at Oxford:
I arrived at Gastons (so the Knock’s house was called) on a Saturday, and he announced that we would begin Homer on Monday. I explained that I had never read a word in any dialect but the Attic, assuming that when he knew this we would approach Homer through some preliminary lessons on the Epic language… At nine o’clock we sat down to work in the little upstairs study which soon became so familiar to me. It contained a sofa, a table and chair a bookcase, a gas stone, and a framed photograph of Mr Gladstone. We opened our books at Iliad, Book I. Without a word of introduction Knock read aloud the first twenty lines… He then translated, with a few, a very few, explanations about a hundred lines. I had never seen a classical author taken in such large gulps before. When he had finished he handed over Crucius’ Lexicon and, having told me to go through again as much as I could of what he had done, left the room. At first I could travel only a very short way along the trail he had blazed, but every day I could travel further… He appeared at this stage to value speed more than absolute accuracy. The great gain was that I was very soon able to understand a great deal without (even mentally) translating it; I was beginning to think in Greek. That is the great Rubicon to cross in learning any language. - C S Lewis, Surprised by Joy (1955:163)
While C. S. Lewis’ idyllic years of reading the classics with a private tutor in the English countryside are an exception, and can’t be made to fit into our modern schedules, we can still garner some valuable advice from his methods. In particular, we must bear in mind that language is more than a matter of translating as though guessing at a code or puzzle. In order to truly understand, we must think in that language, and recognize its rhythms. I find it a useful exercise sometimes just to read aloud, or to transcribe into a notebook what I have just read. Other times I write down words which appear again and again, which I am unfamiliar with. But I certainly don’t stop to search for every single word, as that can actually be distracting.
This stunning 8-paneled screen, more than 18 feet long, symbolizes the universe in microcosm. Moon and sun refer to the dualistic forces of yin and yang, respectively, while the five mountain peaks correspond to the primary elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The water cascading into a pool of turbulent waves represents the constant circulation of these elements, while the lush pines to either side imply a wish for prosperity.
Don’t miss the chance of a lifetime to see this and other rare delights in “Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392–1910”
“Sun, Moon, and Five Peaks,” 19th century, Korea (Private Collection)
Korean folk art.
Jee Young Lee (South Korean) turns her tiny studio (roughly 12 feet by 13 feet) into massive-looking works of art. 1: Nightscape 2: I’ll Be Back, 2010 3: Treasure Hunt 4: Monsoon Season 5: The Little Match Girl 6: Black Birds 7: Resurrection
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Song So-hee, Korea’s living national treasure.
송소희 is a traditional gugak singer who specializes in minyo, or folk songs (to be differentiated from pansori, which is more a narrative style of folk music). In this collection she sings her trademark Arirangs as well as displaying the beauty and vibrancy of Korea’s national costume, the ever elegant hanbok.
On the bias and imbalance of Western media reporting on peripheral, “other” countries.
Politics of News: Third World Perspective
edited by J. S. Yadava
…”the flood of Western media constitute a modern form of cultural imperialism…a facet of neocolonialism.”
"The largely one-way flow of information, with marked preference for [insert tabloidy, sensationalized, omg look at the "other" stories]…to the point of obsession…"
As Dmitri Nabokov writes in issue 175 on Vladimir Nabokov’s poem “Revolution,”
An investigation into the history of this poem begins as a simple path but then its meanders peter out in a mysterious morass. It is not entirely clear whether the young Nabokov wrote it in 1916 or 1917. Even in the second case it would have been eerily clairvoyant for its proximity to the outbreak of the Bolshevik revolution, while its juxtaposition of the tender past with the grisly present would have been even more poignant. A version of the poem in Russian, containing three major errors and various minor lapses, appeared in 1989 in the journal Nashe Nasledie, and was cited by Maria Malikova in her 2002 Russian edition of Nabokov’s poems. The original manuscript is now in the Berg Collection of The New York Public Library. My translation of the poem, which appears here, marks its first publication in English.
Uncharted Village II. In this exhibition, Lim, dialogues with the fading cultural memory of mountain Caribou. She learned of this memory on a previous visit to North Vancouver when she encountered a text by Marilyn James, the appointed spokesperson of the Sinixt or Arrow Lakes People, a living First Nation long declared extinct by the Canadian government. What emerges is a trans-pacific, inter-textual conversation between inheritors of colonial legacy regarding collective loss and wounded memories mediated through gentle landscape/dreamscape paintings executed with traditional and contemporary Korean painting and paper making techniques.
The weird and wonderful sculptures of Yee Sookyung:
"…the newest works are her Translated Vase series which are sculpture composed of pieces derived from actual ceramic works, but the finished product of her work is something unfamiliar and unusual. The method she uses to attach the pieces together correspond to the restoration of valuable ancient ceramics and these works are distinctive in the sense that they allow the viewer to become mindful of notions of the what is highly valued versus what is abandoned, what is historical versus what is modern, and what is art versus what is non-art. The artist questions the viewers as to who is the artist. The act of the ceramists destroying their failed works can be read as cliché in a sense of an artist wanting a flawless piece of work but at the same time it is also a gesture of contributing scarcity to commonly made ceramics. On the other hand, the artist’s act of collecting the broken pieces to make a new piece of work, and the circus acrobat (featured in the artist’s drawings) trying her best not to break the ceramics can be seen as the exact opposite gesture of the ceramists.”
Jiha Moon, Big Pennsylvania Dutch Korean Painting, 2011, ink and acrylic with mixed media on Hanji, 57 x 64 inches
Something a little more contemporary.