larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
Visions and revisions which another will reverse:

Disney princesses as Marvel heroines. SOLD. (via)

Adding selfies to Western art. (via)

Placebo's awesome cover of "Running Up That Hill." Though now I want a cover with an explicitly trans reading. (via) (link fixed)

Join Aikin speculates at length on how Jane Austen might have revised Northanger Abbey if she hadn't shelved the project because of her final illness -- starting with much insightful commentary on Austen's art and methods. (via?)

---L.

Subject quote from "Running Up That Hill," Kate Bush.
larryhammer: Tara from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" with Sappho painted on her back - label: "Greek poetry is sexy" (classics)
Over on DW=poetry, I recently hosted a week where I shared poems too long to share, as in book-length poems that could only be posted as an opening passage with links to the complete texts for further reading. Since it may be of interest to some people here, here's links to the posts. Possibly someone will find something excellent to read, or good enough to.

Psyche by Mary Tighe
The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott
Don Juan by George Gordon, Lord Byron
Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin (trans. Johnston)
Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough
Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Metamorphoses by Ovid (trans. Humphreys)

(I of course have Things To Say about translations of Ovid, though that wasn't one of them, but that was outside my scope.)

---L.

Subject quote from "Half Asleep," School of Seven Bells.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Yotsuba runs)
So about that Tales of Ise fic I got for Yuletide, Cold Autumn Wind: it's based on this part of chapter 82, in which a strayed hunter ends up at the bank of the River of Heaven (aka the Milky Way) and has to find lodgings. Pretty darn close to the tone of the source, and since it's an original Tale, it doesn't require knowledge of the canon (though recognizing the Tanabata bits would be helpful). It even has original poetry, because Narihira. Not to mention because Ise. (I suspect, given the classical Japanese, I know who wrote this -- but it would be fun to be proven wrong.)

As for myself, I wrote a single fic, which I very strongly suspect will be obvious to anyone who actually stumbles across the fandom. Feel free to guess at me if you do. (I tried to write two treats, but one turned out to be overly ambitious given the time I had, while the other just sucked -- I might finish on the former at leisure.)

I have only just begun to scrape the Yuletide archive, but here's my first batch of recs:

Caffeine and Unpaid Overtime - A retelling of Rosemary Sutcliff's Frontier Wolf as a modern-day AU set in a hospital in northern England, with Alex and Hilary as doctors-in-training in over their heads. Very good and very tasty.

Grace and Sally - Lovely, lovely story about a girl and her plesiosaur, and about growing up. The fandom is a 4-panel webcomic linked in the notes, so you have no excuse not to read this.

A Crack in the Wall - A Hadestown / Greek myth fic, in which Hades run an underground mining camp where Persephone is in charge of the speakeasy. Or to put it another way, it has Eurydice breaking Persephone out of the underworld.

There are not one but TWO fix-fics for Marie de France's "Eliduc," taking a third option on the ending -- the same in both cases, and both using further involvement of the canonical magical lesbian weasels. (Yes, "Eliduc" has magical lesbian weasels -- as if you needed any more reason to read it.) Of Woodland Bowers and Cloven Fruit retells the story in the original style, and is possibly more charming for it, while Amaranth aims for a more modern style that digs into the psychologies involved. Both are excellent.

---L.
larryhammer: drawing of a wildhaired figure dancing, label: "La!" (dancing)
Wonderment! Wonderment, I tell you.

Howard Pyle is best known today as the founder of the Brandywine School of artists, and as such the teacher of N.C. Wyeth among others. In his day, he was a bestselling author of pirate histories and novels in medieval settings, and his retelling of the Robin Hood stories, the first to rework the ballads into a unified cycle, remains in print today (all too often without his illustrations, to which I say, Prtt!). But what I grew up on was his fairy tales, rereading them to the point that they are etched into hindbrain as deeply as Just So Stories as exemplifying how wonder stories ought to be told. My first published story is one written in a Pyle-pastiche voice, and it's not the only one I've written. Pepper & Salt is the book of my boyish heart, but The Wonder Clock was also a treasure. And still is.

So imagine, if you will, my astonishment and delight to discover Twilight Land, a collection of tales I had never heard of. The structural conceit of this one is that each story is told in Mother Goose's taproom by a public domain character from another traditional wonder tale, such as Cinderella, the seven-at-one-blow tailor, and so on. Which provides an interesting perspective and commentary on the original stories, as well.

But enough -- if you'll pardon me, I have some wonder to repeatedly immerse myself in. Or, wonderment.

---L.
larryhammer: drawing of a wildhaired figure dancing, label: "La!" (dancing)
Wonderment! Wonderment, I tell you.

Howard Pyle is best known today as the founder of the Brandywine School of artists, and as such the teacher of N.C. Wyeth among others. In his day, he was a bestselling author of pirate histories and novels in medieval settings, and his retelling of the Robin Hood stories, the first to rework the ballads into a unified cycle, remains in print today (all too often without his illustrations, to which I say, Prtt!). But what I grew up on was his fairy tales, rereading them to the point that they are etched into hindbrain as deeply as Just So Stories as exemplifying how wonder stories ought to be told. My first published story is one written in a Pyle-pastiche voice, and it's not the only one I've written. Pepper & Salt is the book of my boyish heart, but The Wonder Clock was also a treasure. And still is.

So imagine, if you will, my astonishment and delight to discover Twilight Land, a collection of tales I had never heard of. The structural conceit of this one is that each story is told in Mother Goose's taproom by a public domain character from another traditional wonder tale, such as Cinderella, the seven-at-one-blow tailor, and so on. Which provides an interesting perspective and commentary on the original stories, as well.

But enough -- if you'll pardon me, I have some wonder to repeatedly immerse myself in. Or, wonderment.

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (vanished away)
If, on account of the political situation,
There are quite a number of homes without roofs, and men
Lying about in the countryside neither drunk nor asleep,
If all sailings have been cancelled until further notice,
If it's unwise to say much in letters, and if,
Under the subnormal temperatures prevailing,
The two sexes are at present the weak and the strong,
That is not at all unusual for this time of year.
If that were all we should know how to manage. Flood, fire,
The desiccation of grasslands, restraint of princes,
Piracy on the high seas, physical pain and fiscal grief,
These after all are our familiar tribulations,
And we have been through them all before, many, many times.

For the Time Being, "Advent," part II, lines 1-13


Every so often I find myself needing to return to Auden for solace.

Sometimes, he also managed honesty.

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (vanished away)
If, on account of the political situation,
There are quite a number of homes without roofs, and men
Lying about in the countryside neither drunk nor asleep,
If all sailings have been cancelled until further notice,
If it's unwise to say much in letters, and if,
Under the subnormal temperatures prevailing,
The two sexes are at present the weak and the strong,
That is not at all unusual for this time of year.
If that were all we should know how to manage. Flood, fire,
The desiccation of grasslands, restraint of princes,
Piracy on the high seas, physical pain and fiscal grief,
These after all are our familiar tribulations,
And we have been through them all before, many, many times.

For the Time Being, "Advent," part II, lines 1-13


Every so often I find myself needing to return to Auden for solace.

Sometimes, he also managed honesty.

---L.
larryhammer: Tara from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" with Sappho painted on her back - label: "Greek poetry is sexy" (poetry)
I was going to report on my Kalevala progress by pastiching the verse form -- but then I got to wondering about the original verse form, which turns out to be a much more fascinating rabbit hole than any of my own noodlings.

In English, the Kalevala meter is known as trochaic tetrameter, DUM-dee DUM-dee DUM-dee DUM-dee, familiar from Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha.* Er, have some terms: meters are quantitative when they measure the line with patterns of the lengths ("quantity") of syllables, as in ancient Greek, and qualitative when they measure with some quality of syllables, such as in English or German poetry where it's whether they're stressed or not ("accentual") or in some classical Chinese forms where it's patterns of tones.

While English poetry was influenced by classical poetry to the extent of adopting the Greek names for metrical feet with the same accentual pattern as the original's quantitative pattern (whence "trochaic"), only one actual meter was borrowed, that of the sapphic stanza.** German poets, on the other hand, borrowed more and nativized several Greek metrical patterns, replacing stress for length. So when they met the Kalevala with its apparently quantitative, if irregular, trochaic tetrameter of four long-short pairs, they translated it doing the same thing they did with Greek -- regularizing the lines as they did so.

However, comma, the Kalevala meter only appears to be quantitative if you aren't paying attention (speculation: or are not as fluent in Finnish as a native speaker). While Finnish does indeed have two quantities (long and short) just like ancient Greek, the meter of these poems works by a mix of quantity and quality. That is, for metrical purposes there are three types of syllables: strong (stressed long vowel), weak (stressed short vowel), and neutral (anything unstressed). In the second, third, and fourth foot of a line, strong syllables can appear only in the initial position and weak only in the final position, and either can and frequently is replaced with a neutral syllable -- and the first foot, which is only weakly restricted to two syllables as it is, seems to be unconstrained.

This is, to put it mildly, interesting: the first mixed quantitative/qualitative meter I've met -- anyone know of any others?

Anyway, the result of these rules (which I've simplified to avoid further rabbit-holes) is a more flexible and less monotonous meter than its German recension.

Which brings me back to Longfellow: he modeled Hiawatha not on the original, despite the way it's usually described, but Schiefner's German translation, giving another layer of adaptation distillation. And speaking of TV Tropes, it's from there that I picked up the tidbit that in the oral tradition this comes from, in performance the last two syllables of each line are drawn out twice as long as the others, an effect "markedly different from the Longfellow version." That would be, yes.

And in case you're wondering, I'm reading the 1907 Kirby translation, which uses Longfellow's meter. Still more adaptation distillation. This is not in itself a bad thing -- it gives the verse a nice dogtrot, which is helpful in a language with far more vowel and consonant sounds and so doesn't consonate or alliterate as easily as Finnish. But it is only marginally accurate to the original meter, and I need to keep that in mind.

FWIW, I'm about halfway through. Note to self: if I ever throw a really big wedding, don't invite everyone except that one troublemaker just because everyone thinks he's a jerk, because he will then come make trouble.


* At least in States -- I know that a century ago Longfellow was popular throughout the Anglosphere, but not how much he is read these days. Hiawatha is still a common but not universal staple of American childhood.

** Longfellow's hexameters in Evangeline are more an attempt at an equivalent effect than adaption of the Homeric original, as he ignored many rules.


---L.
larryhammer: Tara from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" with Sappho painted on her back - label: "Greek poetry is sexy" (poetry)
I was going to report on my Kalevala progress by pastiching the verse form -- but then I got to wondering about the original verse form, which turns out to be a much more fascinating rabbit hole than any of my own noodlings.

In English, the Kalevala meter is known as trochaic tetrameter, DUM-dee DUM-dee DUM-dee DUM-dee, familiar from Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha.* Er, have some terms: meters are quantitative when they measure the line with patterns of the lengths ("quantity") of syllables, as in ancient Greek, and qualitative when they measure with some quality of syllables, such as in English or German poetry where it's whether they're stressed or not ("accentual") or in some classical Chinese forms where it's patterns of tones.

While English poetry was influenced by classical poetry to the extent of adopting the Greek names for metrical feet with the same accentual pattern as the original's quantitative pattern (whence "trochaic"), only one actual meter was borrowed, that of the sapphic stanza.** German poets, on the other hand, borrowed more and nativized several Greek metrical patterns, replacing stress for length. So when they met the Kalevala with its apparently quantitative, if irregular, trochaic tetrameter of four long-short pairs, they translated it doing the same thing they did with Greek -- regularizing the lines as they did so.

However, comma, the Kalevala meter only appears to be quantitative if you aren't paying attention (speculation: or are not as fluent in Finnish as a native speaker). While Finnish does indeed have two quantities (long and short) just like ancient Greek, the meter of these poems works by a mix of quantity and quality. That is, for metrical purposes there are three types of syllables: strong (stressed long vowel), weak (stressed short vowel), and neutral (anything unstressed). In the second, third, and fourth foot of a line, strong syllables can appear only in the initial position and weak only in the final position, and either can and frequently is replaced with a neutral syllable -- and the first foot, which is only weakly restricted to two syllables as it is, seems to be unconstrained.

This is, to put it mildly, interesting: the first mixed quantitative/qualitative meter I've met -- anyone know of any others?

Anyway, the result of these rules (which I've simplified to avoid further rabbit-holes) is a more flexible and less monotonous meter than its German recension.

Which brings me back to Longfellow: he modeled Hiawatha not on the original, despite the way it's usually described, but Schiefner's German translation, giving another layer of adaptation distillation. And speaking of TV Tropes, it's from there that I picked up the tidbit that in the oral tradition this comes from, in performance the last two syllables of each line are drawn out twice as long as the others, an effect "markedly different from the Longfellow version." That would be, yes.

And in case you're wondering, I'm reading the 1907 Kirby translation, which uses Longfellow's meter. Still more adaptation distillation. This is not in itself a bad thing -- it gives the verse a nice dogtrot, which is helpful in a language with far more vowel and consonant sounds and so doesn't consonate or alliterate as easily as Finnish. But it is only marginally accurate to the original meter, and I need to keep that in mind.

FWIW, I'm about halfway through. Note to self: if I ever throw a really big wedding, don't invite everyone except that one troublemaker just because everyone thinks he's a jerk, because he will then come make trouble.


* At least in States -- I know that a century ago Longfellow was popular throughout the Anglosphere, but not how much he is read these days. Hiawatha is still a common but not universal staple of American childhood.

** Longfellow's hexameters in Evangeline are more an attempt at an equivalent effect than adaption of the Homeric original, as he ignored many rules.


---L.
larryhammer: a woman wearing a chain mail hoodie, label: "chain mail is sexy" (chain mail is sexy)
I gotta say, Takeshi Kaneshiro can smirk himself a damn fine Zhuge Liang.

(The ways Red Cliff played with, both using and not-using-with-nods, material from Romance of the Three Kingdoms was also fun. Pity the desire for a climactic personal confrontations crossed with the constraints of history resulted in an ending that made no sense.)

---L.
larryhammer: a woman wearing a chain mail hoodie, label: "chain mail is sexy" (chain mail is sexy)
I gotta say, Takeshi Kaneshiro can smirk himself a damn fine Zhuge Liang.

(The ways Red Cliff played with, both using and not-using-with-nods, material from Romance of the Three Kingdoms was also fun. Pity the desire for a climactic personal confrontations crossed with the constraints of history resulted in an ending that made no sense.)

---L.
larryhammer: Yotsuba Koiwai running, label: "enjoy everything" (run run run)
Dispatches from the Center for the Ad-Hoc Study and Dissemination of Visual Artifacts:*

One of the cuter monkey pictures I've seen in some while -- and ZooBorns is pretty good with the monkeys. Those faces have such an expressive shape.

I think we can all agree that old postcards are more fun when aliens invade them (via).

You probably don't need to look at Cat Vs Internet to know who wins. But just like a Simon's Cat video, you gotta see it through to the end. You know you do.

Alternate presentations of Tom Lehrer's "The Elements": by table (zooming), by table (fill-in), and by sample. No concert clips seem to be available, alas -- Lehrer didn't perform it in his only concert that seems to have been filmed (in Oslo for a television special).


* Translation: "photo and video linkspam"


---L.
larryhammer: Yotsuba Koiwai running, label: "enjoy everything" (run run run)
Dispatches from the Center for the Ad-Hoc Study and Dissemination of Visual Artifacts:*

One of the cuter monkey pictures I've seen in some while -- and ZooBorns is pretty good with the monkeys. Those faces have such an expressive shape.

I think we can all agree that old postcards are more fun when aliens invade them (via).

You probably don't need to look at Cat Vs Internet to know who wins. But just like a Simon's Cat video, you gotta see it through to the end. You know you do.

Alternate presentations of Tom Lehrer's "The Elements": by table (zooming), by table (fill-in), and by sample. No concert clips seem to be available, alas -- Lehrer didn't perform it in his only concert that seems to have been filmed (in Oslo for a television special).


* Translation: "photo and video linkspam"


---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (for you)
The Big Picture covers the annual round-up of Icelandic horses, with plenty of spare, beautiful Icelandic landscape behind them.

Let me rephrase that. YOU WANT TO CLICK THROUGH ALREADY.

Got it? Good.

Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving (via). "Packing all of your belongings into a U-Haul and then transporting them across several states is nearly as stressful and futile as trying to run away from lava in swim fins." Humor writing at its finest.

What Israeli airport security is like for those with privilege (via). Show of hands from those who believe someone Arabic gets the brisk efficiency. Anyone? ... Didn't think so.

A recording of Auden reading "The Shield of Achilles" (via).

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (for you)
The Big Picture covers the annual round-up of Icelandic horses, with plenty of spare, beautiful Icelandic landscape behind them.

Let me rephrase that. YOU WANT TO CLICK THROUGH ALREADY.

Got it? Good.

Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving (via). "Packing all of your belongings into a U-Haul and then transporting them across several states is nearly as stressful and futile as trying to run away from lava in swim fins." Humor writing at its finest.

What Israeli airport security is like for those with privilege (via). Show of hands from those who believe someone Arabic gets the brisk efficiency. Anyone? ... Didn't think so.

A recording of Auden reading "The Shield of Achilles" (via).

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (buh?)
So that series Binchou-tan I mentioned yesterday? Right, well. For the record, I watched it only because [livejournal.com profile] janni asked me to write this.

In which I commit a G-rated fanfic. )

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (buh?)
So that series Binchou-tan I mentioned yesterday? Right, well. For the record, I watched it only because [livejournal.com profile] janni asked me to write this.

In which I commit a G-rated fanfic. )

---L.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (protection)
I was going to continue International Honor Your Influences Week with Howard Pyle (as the author of Pepper & Salt and The Wonder Clock), but my observances were cut off by having my computer stolen. In its place, I offer some short shameful confessions:

I've written my first fanfic, as a sestina, of a novel my wife hasn't finished writing.

Chobits is rilly addictive, despite CLAMP's blatant manipulation and long flowing hair fetish.

I'm intimidated enough by the story I'm working on now that I'm afraid of psyching myself into writing it badly.*

All my old email (and address book) was lost through bad backups.

ETA: Not only is there 17th century tentacle porn, there's 17th century poetry about wearing underwear on one's head. (not a confession)

* ETA2: Since confessing this, today something unexpected happened and suddenly I'm improvising story instead of setting things up. It opens the scope out even more, but I'm feeling a lot better about it now. When in doubt, steal from Aristophanes.

---L.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (protection)
I was going to continue International Honor Your Influences Week with Howard Pyle (as the author of Pepper & Salt and The Wonder Clock), but my observances were cut off by having my computer stolen. In its place, I offer some short shameful confessions:

I've written my first fanfic, as a sestina, of a novel my wife hasn't finished writing.

Chobits is rilly addictive, despite CLAMP's blatant manipulation and long flowing hair fetish.

I'm intimidated enough by the story I'm working on now that I'm afraid of psyching myself into writing it badly.*

All my old email (and address book) was lost through bad backups.

ETA: Not only is there 17th century tentacle porn, there's 17th century poetry about wearing underwear on one's head. (not a confession)

* ETA2: Since confessing this, today something unexpected happened and suddenly I'm improvising story instead of setting things up. It opens the scope out even more, but I'm feeling a lot better about it now. When in doubt, steal from Aristophanes.

---L.
larryhammer: a woman wearing a chain mail hoodie, label: "chain mail is sexy" (chain mail is sexy)
Compulsory Preface

(This Means You)

      Histories have previously been written with the object of exalting their authors. The object of this History is to console the reader. No other history does this.
      History is not what you thought. It is what you can remember. All other history defeats itself.
      This is the only Memorable History of England, because all the History you can remember is in this book, which is the result of years of research in golf-clubs, gun-rooms, green-rooms, etc.
So begins the best history book ever, 1066 and All That. From "[t]his slim volume" (The Bookworm) you can learn all you need to know about English history.*

Or at least, all you need to misremember. Tallying things up, history consists of 114 Memorable Things, 45 Good Things, and 15 Bad Things. All of which are essentially true, even when wrong.
      When Henry IV Part I came to the throne the Barons immediately flung down their gloves on the floor to prove
  1. That Richard II was not yet dead
  2. That Henry had murdered him.
Henry very gallantly replied to this challenge by exhibiting Richard II's head in St. Paul's Cathedral, thus proving he was innocent. Finding, however, that he was not memorable, he very patriotically abdicated in favour of Henry IV Part II.
There are, btw, a lot of lists. What strikes me, reading through now, is how dense the humor is. Most "humorous" pottings *coughBarrycoughArmourcoughLederercough* mangle one detail at a time;** Seller and Yeatman do mash-ups. Just look at the number of references in:
      When Charles I had been defeated he was brought to trial by the Rump Parliament -- so-called because it had been sitting for such a long time -- and was found guilty of being defeated in a war against himself, which was, of course, a form of High Treason. He therefore ordered by Cromwell to go and have his head cut off (it was, the Roundheads pointed out, the wrong shape, anyway). So romantic was Charles, however, that this made little difference to him and it is very memorable that he walked and talked Half an hour after his Head was cut off.
This is the stuff that molds impressionable characters. For all this (and the surfeits of palfreys, living in brackets), I honor it.


* Unless you have a specialty that requires deeper, non-memorable knowledge, like Elizabethan literature, in which case you probably already worship this book.

** Okay, to be fair, Dave Barry does sometimes conflate more than two things together -- but usually only as comic climaxes. Also, The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody sometimes manages an almost Steve Miller density.


---L.

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