- I liked this appreciation of Dickens:
I’ve never been personally passionate about Dickens the way I am about George Eliot. If for some strange reason I had to choose between them, no question: she gets my vote. But happily, as I’ve said before, literary greatness is not a zero-sum game, and it’s also not something for which there are or need to be common measures or standards. (There are also people who don’t think either of these writers is great — and while I feel kind of sorry for those people, I’m sure they are perfectly happy with their Proust or their Henry James or their Virginia Woolf or their precious Jane Austen, and we’ll just leave them be.) For me personally, Dickens is fabulous precisely for all the things he does that aren’t what Eliot does, and that’s the magic of it all. Dickens is fantastic at being Dickens, and if you get caught up in that Dickensian spirit (which, I know, not everybody does) it’s sheer delight. And sheer horror. And sheer pathos. And … well, you get the point — his is not a particularly subtle world, but gosh, it’s such a lot of fun.
That’s from Rohan Maitzen at Novel Readings, one of many excellent blogs I’ve learned about through Wuthering Expectations.
- I also liked this interview with Muireann Maguire, here as the translator of the early twentieth-century Gothic collection Red Spectres. The program, Russian BookWorld on Voice of Russia, is apparently in some trouble, and I wish I’d known about it long ago.
- Does the expression “по шлягу с рала” mean anything to you? If not, Languagehat has the etymologies, and his commenters have some extra historical lingusitics.
- “Tolstoy is the Tolstoy of the Zulus.” (Source of that quote here.)