Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Never judge a book by its title. The cover is probably the better bet.

We owe a lot to Shakespeare including many a famous book title. Aldous Huxley borrowed from him, if memory serves, at least two titles for his novels (Brave New World, Time Must Have A Stop). On 6 September 2003, I had written in my weekly column about a BBC opinion poll. Poor Willie had to play fourth fiddle to Newton, Churchill and Princess Diana in it. http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_361190,00030007.htm. Then I stumbled on another gross miscarriage of justice when Stephen King walked away with The United States' National Book Foundation’s 2003 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. This puts him on par with John Updike, Philip Roth, Saul Bellow and Toni Morrison. I like the way Yale University Professor Harold Bloom sums up the situation in his comments to The New York Times: "He is a man who writes what used to be called penny dreadfuls. That they could believe that there is any literary value there or any aesthetic accomplishment or signs of an inventive human intelligence is simply a testimony to their own idiocy." http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s946535.htm. One is tempted to say at this point: “What did you expect from the moronic Britons and Americans?” The temptation is a passing phase, though. Soon, one remembers it happens all the time anywhere and everywhere. The entire human race is subject to the hypnotic influence of top-of-mind icons and images – irrespective of caste, creed, gender or nationality, I guess. But wait a second, there's solace for those who're discouraged by the ignoble defeat. Read No doubts about his genius at http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/mag/stories/2003083100270400.htm. Did you know that 'the genius' used as many as 9,36,433 words in his literary output in the 16th Century – which works out to five times the number of words in modern German!

More about Shakespeare from my personal QuiteATake.com Archives [Issue #76]

AS YOU LIKE IT. Sites-for-types department.

For Shakespeare aficionados, Hamlet: an executive summary (and S-W-O-T analysis) in PowerPoint at bmillar1.users.btopenworld.com. For nitpickers and one-person fault finding missions, Movie Mistakes, Hollywood's Big Brother movie-mistakes.com and for movie goers in a hurry, Ruined Endings ruinedendings.com. For surfers who prefer to pose their queries in plain English, French, Spanish, German, Italian or Portuguese, Answer Bus (it doesn't work at times, though) misshoover.si.umich.edu. For disbelievers of the 'real' computer bug, NMAH Object 1994.0191.1 americanhistory.si.edu.

No comments: