Reading: Jane Austen

Austen is consistently recognized as one of the most important English-language literary voices in history. She is the author of famous books, such as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Here are seven interesting facts you may not know about Austen’s life.

•    Austen was one of eight children – she had six brothers and one sister, Cassandra, who was one of her closest friends.
•    When she was young, she caught typhus and almost died.
•    By age 23, Austen had finished the original versions of Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice.
•    Austen never married, but she once accepted a marriage proposal from the wealthy brother of a close friend. She turned him down the following day after understanding that she didn’t love him.
•    Austen died at age 41 of illness. The type of illness is unknown.
•    In Austen’s lifetime, all her works were published anonymously. Her first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, was credited “By a Lady.” Her next book, Pride and Prejudice, was credited to “The Author of Sense and Sensibility.”
•    The title of Pride and Prejudice was inspired by the book Cecilia by Fanny Burney. 

(Original article can be found here:

consistently: неизменно, стабильно

caught typhus: обращаем внимание на слово “caught”. ИМенно так в английском и обозначается “заболел”. Аналогично - to catch a cold (простудиться. Не “поймать простуду!”).

By age of 23, Austen had finished the original versions: очень наглядное использование времени Past Perfect. Вспомием правило - обычно это время используется для обозначения “прошлого в прошлом”. В данном случае, предлог “by” сигналит об использовании времени Perfect, а, так как действие произошло в прошлом - используется именно Past. 

wealthy: богатый

turned him down: отвергла его, отказала ему

anonymously: анонимно

to credit: в данном случае можно перевести как “приписывать” авторство). Так же, это слово часто используется в контексте “указать автора” (to credit someone), допустим, если вы выставляете его работу в Интернет. Очень полезное слово. особенно учитывая актуальные сегодня дебаты  о пиратстве и плагиате. :)

April 10th 1925: Great Gatsby published

On this day in 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ was published. The book takes place in New York City during the Roaring Twenties and focuses around the mysterious character of Jay Gatsby who throws lavish parties. 'The Great Gatsby’ was very well received and remains one of the most popular American novels of all time. It has frequently been made into films, with the most recent version coming out in May 2013.

This is so great, I'm stealing it from Warren to make it rebloggable

printedvelvet asks:

“Aside from stuff Phillip K. Dick and Neal Stephenson, what’s on your must-read cyberpunk novels and comics list?”

Warren says

Okay.  Deep breath.

Cyberpunk, also known as Radical Hard SF or The Movement, was born around 1980 and didn’t survive that decade.  (Some people map the end to 1992, with Neal Stephenson’s SNOW CRASH.)  Philip K Dick had no affiliation with the movement, and was dead by 1982, two years before William Gibson published NEUROMANCER.  People tend to associate Dick with cyberpunk because of BLADE RUNNER, particularly its visuals, which had nothing to do with the novel, but were so strikingly of the speculative zeitgeist that in 1982 William Gibson had to get out of his cinema seat and leave the screening because it looked too much like what was in his head.

Phil Dick was pre-cyberpunk.  He, JG Ballard and Alfred Bester were major touchstones for the movement.  Ballard’s CRASH and Bester’s STARS MY DESTINATION and THE DEMOLISHED MAN are essential.  Also John Brunner’s STAND ON ZANZIBAR, THE SHEEP LOOK UP, and, most importantly for cyberpunk’s ancestry, THE SHOCKWAVE RIDER.

Of the cyberpunk period itself, you will need William Gibson’s first trilogy, NEUROMANCER, COUNT ZERO and MONA LISA OVERDRIVE.  Also, Bruce Sterling’s THE ARTIFICIAL KID and ISLANDS IN THE NET.  Richard Kadrey’s METROPHAGE.  Rudy Rucker’s SOFTWARE and WETWARE.  Pat Cadigan’s TEA FROM AN EMPTY CUP.  That should keep you going for a bit.

FWIW, I agree with all of what Warren says, and please consider this another vote for METROPHAGE, which is amazing.

A Babylonian Princess Poet

Enheduanna, the daughter of King Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BCE), composed numerous poems and hymns, such as the one above written in Sumerian and dedicated to the goddess Inanna (the Sumerian counterpart to Ishtar). During her lifetime, Enheduanna served as a high priestess of the moon god, Nanna, in the city of Ur. A genuine creative talent, she is also remembered as one of the first named authors in history. Although the tablet above is somewhat damaged, it provides a good example of a later copy of one of her hymns, which shows that her work continued to be read and taught in scribal schools well into the second millennium BCE. (Source)

Schoyen Collection, MS 2367/1.


July 11th 1960: To Kill a Mockingbird published

On this day in 1960, the novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee was published by J.B Lippincott & Co. The novel tells the story of the trial of a young African-American man in Alabama in the 1930s, and is told from the perspective of the daughter of the defendant’s lawyer, Scout Finch. Lee was partly inspired by events she recalled from her own childhood growing up in Alabama in the days of Jim Crow segregation. 'To Kill a Mockingbird’ was released during a turbulent time for American race relations, as the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement was beginning to get underway with sit-ins and Freedom Rides in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education (1954). The novel was originally going to be called 'Atticus’ for Scout’s father and the moral centre of the story, but was renamed for one of Atticus’s iconic lines. The novel was an immediate success, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. In 1962 it was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck and featuring the film debut of Robert Duvall as the elusive Boo Radley. Harper Lee never published another novel and remains reclusive from the press, though she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. The influence of 'To Kill a Mockingbird’ has never faded in the 54 years since its release, and is a favourite of many for its warmth and humour while tackling some of the most troubling issues of its day.

“Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”


Dante’s Divine Comedy

Nearly two hundred years after its original publication, Dante’s Divine Comedy was republished in 1502 with Italian Renaissance flair. The Renaissance brought about a greater desire for erudite texts; individuals who collected such works were seen as worldly and refined. To meet this growing demand, books became smaller and less cumbersome, which explains why this edition of Divine Comedy almost fits in the palm of your hand.

The first illustration above is the title page of Divine Comedy, and the second illustration is an introduction the Inferno section that serves as the starting point of Dante’s journey. Dante then travels to purgatory and paradise. Much scholarship has focused on Inferno, which has proven to be the most captivating of the three realms Dante visits.

The full article about Dante’s Divine Comedy can be read at:

Today is the birthday of Beatrix Potter, born on this day in British history, 28 July 1866. She is most remembered for her work as an author and illustrator of children’s books. Her most famous creation, Peter Rabbit, is still a popular and well loved character today.


First Edition of The Hobbit is Published

21 September 1937

The first edition of The Hobbit was published on this day in British history, 21 September 1937. Published by George Allen & Unwin Ltd. of London, the first edition was printed in a run of 1,500 copies, all of which had sold by December 1937. This first printing was illustrated in black and white by Tolkien, who designed the dust jacket as well.


The Chapbook: Jack the Giant Killer

The story of Jack the Giant Killer (or Slayer) has been told for several centuries. Published in London, this chapbook edition is undated.

“Jack, the valiant boy, who had made up his mind to rid the land of Giants, was one day in search of adventures; when he fell asleep by the wayside, and was surprised by the Giant Blunderbore, who carried him home to his Castle.”
A Literary History of the Siren

The siren’s wail is as pervasive and deceitful in modern life as it was in ancient literature—the nymphs that nearly ensnared Odysseus’ wandering heart are more like the caterwauling devices atop police cruisers than you might assume. Both distract to the point of danger, yet evoke a titillating allure. “The question of the nature of the siren’s face and of the siren’s true role in human affairs,” writes Cabinet’s George Prochnik in an intriguing literary history of man’s relationship with sirens, “haunts both the mythological creatures from which the mechanical sirens derive their name and the history of siren technology alike.” Read more …

September 21st 1937: ‘The Hobbit’ published

On this day in 1937, 75 years ago, J.R.R Tolkein’s 'The Hobbit’ was published. It tells the story of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins who tries to claim treasure guarded by the fearsome dragon Smaug. He originally wrote the fantasy adventure book for his children, but upon publication it became popular with adults as well. The novel was a great success, and Tolkein’s sequel became his most famous work: The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

In thinking about whether women, as outsiders, might be best placed to oppose war she reveals the systemic and structural inequalities in public life. Each issue she raises seems uncannily prescient: access to higher education and the role of the university as a democratic space of intellectual freedom; the number of women in public life; violence against women and girls; women in the church; working motherhood; pay inequality.
—  Anna Snaith, author of Virginia Woolf: Public and Private Negotiations, on Virginia Woolf and the relevance of her writing in the twenty-first century