Sunday, November 21, 2010

Media Week (Vol 3) 47: Tolstoy's Family, Hornby's Kids, King James Bible, Brighton Rock.

Leo Tolstoy's impressive family tree (Independent):

But it’s not just his work that has spread across the globe – it’s also his descendents. Leo and his wife Sofia had, during their long and tempestuous marriage, 13 children (five of whom died young). During the revolution, members of this large family fled Russia. In the hundred years since his death, the Tolstoy diaspora – now numbering over 300 – has fanned out, with family clusters in France, Italy and Sweden, and descendants to be found as far afield as Uruguay, Brazil and the United States.

The importance of family to Tolstoy was enormous, according to Orwin. “For him, the family was the lynchpin that brought together nature and civilization, happiness and duty.” Tolstoy’s work itself often features pretty hefty family dynasties: War and Peace includes characters based on Tolstoy’s own relations (Princess Mary and Nicholas Rostov, for example, were modelled on his parents). Orwin adds that “he could never have written Anna Karenina without his family experience. When Tolstoy describes Anna’s clandestine visit to her son Seryozha, he is drawing on his personal observations of the love between mother and child at Yasnaya Polyana.”

Rosamund Bartlett, author of new biography Tolstoy: A Russian Life, adds: “In his earlier life, family meant everything to Tolstoy - although he withdrew from family life in his later years. He was forever seeking in his fiction to recreate the lost paradise of his early childhood, which is one reason why his family estate Yasnaya Polyana was so important.”

Tolstoy in Worldcat

Inside Nick Hornby's Ministry of Stories (Observer)
Author Nick Hornby and art entrepreneurs Ben Payne and Lucy Macnab open the first Ministry of Stories centre in east London. Based on Dave Eggars' San Francisco project 826 Valencia, the volunteer-run Hoxton Street Monster Supplies aims to inspire children in creative writing. It has already found favour with David Cameron and his 'big society' agenda.
Robert McCrum in the Observer takes a look at the King James bible as it turns 400 (Observer):

As well as selling an estimated 1bn copies since 1611, the KJB went straight into our literary bloodstream like a lifesaving drug. Whenever we put words into someone's mouth, or see the writing on the wall, or go from strength to strength, or eat, drink and be merry, or fight the good fight, or bemoan the signs of the times, or find a fly in the ointment, or use words such as "long-suffering", "scapegoat" and "peacemaker" we are unconsciously quoting the KJB.

More astounding, compared to Shakespeare's prodigal 31,000-word vocabulary, the KJB works its magic with a lexicon of just 12,000 words.More than this enthralling matrix of linguistic influence, there's the miracle of the translation itself, a triumph of creative collaboration (54 scholars in six committees), outright plagiarism and good old English pragmatism. The Authorized Version's mission statement was a masterpiece of lowered expectations. Its aim, it declared, was not "to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one, but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one, that hath been our endeavour".

Movie trailer for the remake of Graham Green's Brighton Rock (Guardian)

Lonely Planet has identified their list of the world's greatest bookstores (LP):
Bookshops are a traveller’s best friend: they provide convenient shelter and diversion in bad weather, they’re a reliable source of maps, notebooks, and travel guides, they often host readings and other cultural events, and if you raced through your lone paperback on the first leg of your trip, the bookshop is the place to go for literary replenishment. Taken from Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2011, here are our picks for the best spots to browse, buy, hang out, find sanctuary among the shelves, rave about your favourite writers and meet book-loving characters.
From the twitter (@personanondata)

Elvis Costello's list of the 500 Greatest Albums Ever:

iPad 'newspaper' created by Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch

UWash Report - How Students Use of Information in the Digital Age

Can't Pick a College Major? Create One -

Wolters Kluwer buys Lexis Nexis Germany from Reed

And in sports a great article charting the launch of the (un)Manchester United team FC United of Manchester (Observer). Things are looking good for Man Utd at the moment (BBC) though we should have won at least four more games.

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