Showing posts from 2015

"The Fox and the Lion"

Aesop (620-560 BCE), if he ever existed, was a Greekfabulist. He is said to have lived some time at the court of King Croesus of Lydia in Sardis, what is now modern Turkey. His name is derived from the Greek Aethiop (Ethiopia) and his statue can be seen in Rome's Villa Albani
His fables are characterized by animals and inanimate objects that solve problems, speak and generally have human characteristics. Aesop's fables have been translated into hundreds of languages and most children at school read his tales, from which they are supposed to learn something.  The fables are short stories that illustrate a particular moral and teach a lesson to the reader. The characters of his tales are usually animals which act and talk like people, but keep their animal traits. In addition, a moral is added at the bottom of each fable. Thus, some of the most popular ones are:
1. "Appearances often are deceiving" from "The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing". 2, "Slow and ste…

My friend Ewa has got a dream and needs your help

The dinosaur

One of the most famous micro-stories written in Spanish comes from the pen of the writer Augusto Monterroso. It consists of seven words and reads:
"Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí"

It is not the shortest micro-story of the literature of the language of Cervantes, but it is the most famous. In fact, since its publication in 1959 in "Complete Works and other stories", it has been analyzed and used in different ways.
For example, this micro-story was widely used in Mexico due to the constant victories of the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), that managed to retain power for over seventy years. For its ability to stay in power for so many years, the party was often compared to a dinosaur that did not seem to understand that its time was over.
Many people have tried to explain the meaning of this micro-story in different ways. Some have given it a philosophical explanation, while other stick to the use of metaphors in order to reach an appropria…

The pleasure of reading

I spent last Christmas in Madrid and, apart from spending much time with my family, I went to some second-hand bookstores in the city centre in search of interesting books. I decided to buy one after reading its foreword. I simply fell in love with the foreword written by G.C. Rosser. The book was first published in 1957 and its title is "The Poet's Tale" - An Anthology of narrative Poetry. It is a compilation of poems that nowadays can easily be found on the Internet, but Rosser's words were worth taking the book home.
"There are many ways of reading literature. We can dip into a novel to pass the time away, we can give ourselves to a writer to escape from boredom or the monotony of films and television, we can read plays, short stories, and poems simply because we have developed a habit and would not be without our weekly instalment of reading. We can also read to make ourselves more mature by living through the emotional experience of other minds in this or …

Warsaw by night

Yesterday I watched the Polish film "Warsaw by night". I liked it very much. The film is a clear example of good Polish movie making. The structure of the film is not new, as it reminds the viewer of American films, such as "Crush".

In "Warsaw by night",  a group of several characters' stories interweave during one night in Warsaw. The film is also a great opportunity  to see some parts of Warsaw at night, especially the city centre with its peculiar beauty.

Most of the characters meet by accident in the toilet of a bar, and although they do not know each other, as the film develops,  their lives seem to have plenty in common.

The Polish film deals with issues that are very much in vogue nowadays, and the viewer can easily recognise himself/herself in some of the characters of the movie.

Watch the movie! You will like it.

Nil desperandum

The maxim "Nil desperandum" (Odes, Book I, ode vii, line 27) seems to be in most cultures. "Never despair" is absolutely necessary to overcome problems we all encounter in life.
Horace (65-8 BCE) was a literary critic, a lyric poet, and a great satirist. He was the son of a freed slave and had the opportunity to study in Rome and at the Athens Academy. He met Cicero there. 
Horace may have had many reasons to despair as all his family's belongings were confiscated. Moreover,  most probably he must have had a very hard time after the murder of Julius Caesar, especially when he was exiled. However, his maxim probably helped him face the problems he had. "Nil desperandum" or "Never despair" appears in his famous Odes, where he also uses similar expressions such as "In adversity, remember to keep an even mind" (Book II, ode iii, line 1). 
I think Horace's maxim is very much related to what other authors have written using other words.…