Canada

On Canadian literature and its survival complex

When Canadian author Margaret Atwood first published her study “Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature” in 1972, it drew a lot of attention. A research aimed at a non-academic audience, it highlighted a few basic elements in Canadian literature, also posing the question on the identity or (supposedly) the existence of a Canadian literature.…

latin

Can’t repeat the past: on the Latin language and its unlikely revival

When you start learning a new language you picture yourself understanding that language, you learn how to interact with it and without a doubt you project yourself into a future where this new language gives access to new and exciting possibilities. But Latin looks backwards. And any learner of Latin is forced to look at…

contemporaryrussian

Beyond yesterday’s perspective: Russia and contemporary literature

I hear that “The Master and Margarita” is a brilliant novel, that Dostoyevsky’s works are widely appreciated in Universities and that Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” is an all-time classic of Russian literature. All true. Then, how come new authors from Russia are barely mentioned in the English language? There is a contemporary literature in Russia. One…

marktwain

A well kept secret: Mark Twain’s hidden love for the German language

I am sure most people who are passionate about literature are aware of Mark Twain‘s infamous essay “The Awful German Language“. In his writing, Twain selects a few examples which underline German’s illogical features, one of them being a neutral gender for the article which goes before “young lady” (“das Mädchen“) and the female article…

arabian

The importance of reading Ibn Quzman

When Baron Victor von Rosen first brought attention to the importance of Ibn Quzman‘s manuscript at the library of Saint Petersburg in the 1880s, new studies could finally hail him as the most famous poet of al-Andalus (the territories of Spain, Portugal and France which were under Muslim rule between 711 and 1492, until the Spanish reconquest). Muhammad…