Летает сверчок
Или ходит пешком?
С усами сверчок
Или с пестрым брюшком?

А вдруг он лохматый
И страшный на вид?
Он выползет на пол
И всех удивит.

An open letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany

Dear President Philip,

Probably the last thing you need at this moment is someone else from outside your university complaining about your decision. If you want to argue that I can't really understand all aspects of the situation, never having been associated with SUNY Albany, I wouldn't disagree. But I cannot let something like this go by without weighing in. I hope, when I'm through, you will at least understand why.

Just 30 days ago, on October 1st, you announced that the departments of French, Italian, Classics, Russian and Theater Arts were being eliminated. You gave several reasons for your decision, including that 'there are comparatively fewer students enrolled in these degree programs.' Of course, your decision was also, perhaps chiefly, a cost-cutting measure - in fact, you stated that this decision might not have been necessary had the state legislature passed a bill that would have allowed your university to set its own tuition rates. Finally, you asserted that the humanities were a drain on the institution financially, as opposed to the sciences, which bring in money in the form of grants and contracts.

Read more )

Certain things indeed I have learnt here: for instance, that my happiness has a sad face, so sad that for years I took it for my unhappiness and drove it away.

Thomas Hood

Nov. 5th, 2007 12:34 pm
annadarya: (cschad)
In they go—in jackets and cloaks,
Plumes and bonnets, turbans and toques,
As if to a Congress of Nations:
Greeks and Malays, with daggers and dirks,
Spaniards, Jews, Chinese, and Turks—
Some like original foreign works,
But mostly like bad translations.
The Cambridge history of Russia, edited by Dominic Lieven. Vol. 2, Imperial Russia, 1689-1917. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2006.
p. 263

In contrast to the intelligentsia, whose condescension toward 'the people' and identification with the methods, if not the policies, of the state continues to this day, rank-and-file professionals together with their paraprofessional and uncertified associates served the everyday needs of real Russians.


Sep. 16th, 2006 02:12 pm
When we first rode down Ettrick,
Our bridles were ringing, our hearts were dancing,
The water was singing, the sun was glancing,
And blithely our voices rang out together,
As we brushed the dew from the blooming heather,
When first we rode down Ettrick.

When we next rode down Ettrick,
The day was dying, the wild birds calling,
The wind was sighing, the leaves were falling,
And tired and weary, but closer together,
We urged our steeds through the faded heather,
When next we rode down Ettrick.

When I last rode down Ettrick,
The wind was shifting, the storm was waking,
The snows were drifting, my heart was breaking,
For never again would we ride together
Through sun or storm on the mountain heather,
When last I rode down Ettrick.
Josephine Tey, The Singing Sands, Penguin 1977, (c)1952, p.18f.

It was a strange thing how much the meaning of a countenance depended on eyebrows...Film magnates took nice little girls from Balham and Muswell Hill and rubbed out their eyebrows and painted in other ones and they became straightway mysterious creatures from Omsk and Tomsk.
"Two figures distinguished by scholars, but confused in popular use....
Examples of syllepsis are: Miss Bolo went home in a flood of tears & a sedan chair. / He lost his hat & his temper....
Examples of zeugma are: Kill the boys & the luggage! / The pineapple was eaten and the apples neglected. / With weeping eyes & hearts. / See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crown'd.

... The difference is that syllepsis is grammatically correct but requires [a] single word to be understood in a different sense with each of its pair ... whereas in zeugma the single word actually fails to give sense with one of its pair .... "

Have Some Madeira, M'Dear )
Моя языковая ситуация I:

русский язык с истекшим сроком годности.
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2003 13:00:38 -0800
From: Diana Wright <dgw1@nyu.edu>
Reply-To: Classical Greek and Latin Discussion Group
Subject: Re: TAN: Spam from Thornton's Bookshop?

> But what I especially enjoy are the messages from barristers in
> variousAfrican countries, informing me that I am the closest known
> relative to
> a fantastically rich businessman who has just perished, with his
> entirefamily, when his small plane crashed. For a modest sum,
> said barrister
> is offering to help me retrieve my unsuspected millions. Since
> some of
> these messages seem to have taken the trouble to give the deceased
> millionaire my rather unusual last name, it seems to me that this kind
> of spam actually cost someone some effort, but PTR will probably
> informus that there are programs that can generate such individualized
> subtleties at the speed of light.

Having grown up in Nigeria, I have had the opportunity to follow the development of this particular form of creative writing ab ovo, & it is why my father took on the responsibility of personally burning all discarded mail from the States instead of having the "houseboy" do it.

It was discovered that you could write to a nice person in the States & ask for a little money to buy a Bible.

This evolved into asking a nice person -- or church -- in the States for help with school fees. Enough school & one would need help for university. Then one might well need help in paying the bride price for a good educated Christian bride. Unfortunately, the baby boy might need expensive surgery.

And so on.

A History of Private Life, Harvard UP, 1987.
I.1 The Roman Empire, by Paul Veyne

As is well known, the so-called maternal or paternal instinct does not exist. In some cases love between parent and child develops from natural affinity (which is neither more nor less likely to occur between parent and child than between any two individuals brought together by chance). More often, no doubt, parental sentiments are "induced" by the prevailing morality.
От вчерашнего автобуса меня отделяла пара сотен метров. Оставалось лишь свернуть за угол, но я замедлила шаг, набирая номер, и тут бабахнуло. Я развернулась и пошла в обратном направлении, и всю дорогу мне навстречу бежала возбужденная толпа любознательных граждан. В своем страхе увидеть все это собственными глазами, не многим уступающем страху взлететь на воздух самой, я была в явном меньшинстве.

Still Bowra

Jun. 7th, 2003 04:08 pm
[France, 1917]
At one point I was told to deal with some Germans who were said to be using the cathedral at Noyon as an observation post. I was sure that they were, but at first I had qualms about firing on the noble Gothic building which was in full view from my post on a small hill. Then I remembered that Noyon was the original home of John Calvin, and my qualms vanished. I felt that nothing could be too bad, even after some four centuries, for this enemy of the human race, and I set to work with care. I fired a plus and a minus, and my third shot fell neatly into the middle of the church.

Bowra again

Jun. 6th, 2003 05:09 pm
[Petrograd, 1916]
I made friends with a young Russian who was an ensign in a Guards Regiment...He took me to dine in his mess, and this solved the problem of food shortage...The only danger was that my friend's fellow-officers would in the course of dinner get so excited that they would shoot the electric bulbs in the chandeliers and plunge us into darkness. The solution was to advance early to the zakoushka and eat all you could before the fun begins. My friend had a sister of remarkable beauty, who from the first moment I saw her obsessed my thoughts. She was extremely intelligent, warm-hearted, natural and quick on the uptake. She had much fancy and humour, and unlike some Russians, did not bother to talk about her soul or even about mine.
The Chinese had the utmost contempt for the Russians, whom they regarded, not as 'foreign devils' like ourselves, but simply as barbarians. For this they had some reason. The Russians not only got drunk far more often and far more gloriously than any Chinese, but suffered from sudden fits of panic, when, for no clear reason, they would round up a number of Chinese and shoot them. The hard-headed Chinese saw and opportunity even in this. The widows, real or self-appointed, of the victims would come weeping to the Russian officers, who would be deeply touched, burst into tears of sympathy, and give them handfuls of roubles. From this a technique was developed, and if any shooting was in the offing, the Chinese grandmothers, who ruled their households, would see that the family ne'er-do-wells were the first to face the firing-squad and that handsome compensation was paid for them.

...Though my father liked the Russians and was on good terms with their commander-in-chief, Alexeyev, he was shocked by their incompetence, their unreliability, and their corruption. He could not bear to see a Russian postman drunkenly scattering letters on the snow at New Year, nor could he dream of offering the bribes which the Russians regarded as indispensable to any services rendered.
Reynolds and Wilson, 3rd ed., 1991.
P. 129

Amid the gay distractions of papal Avignon the young Petrarch once again became the converging point of threads of transmission which stretched back through the Middle Ages to antiquity itself, and forward again, with complex ramifications, into the High Renaissance.
L.D.Reynolds & N.G.Wilson. Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature. 3rd ed. Oxford: 1991.

p. 121
[on translating Greek authors into Latin in the medieval Latin West]

It should be noted that as a rule medieval translations were made word by word, and quite often the translator was out of his depth when dealing with technicalities or the finer points of idiom. Nor was Latin the ideal medium for rendering all the subtleties of the originals. The lack of a definite article made it impossible to deal with many abstract expressions, and from 1266 onwards Moerbeke decided to make good the deficiency by using the French 'le'
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