Posts Tagged ‘literature’

Jane Ayre

April 15, 2020

National Theatre production of Jane Ayre.

Live streamed last week, only a few hours left, as only retained for a week.

A very avant garde production, nigh impossible to follow, not helped the cast keep morphing into different characters, leaving one with glimpse of what is happening.

Excellent music.

A very powerful and moving production.

This week Treasure Island followed by Twelfth Night next week.

Hard to believe long long time ago I read Jane Ayre, humanities faculty English literature, university first year.


April 19, 2014
Dante and Beatrice speak to Piccarda and Constance

Dante and Beatrice speak to Piccarda and Constance

Dante and Beatrice speak to the teachers of wisdom

Dante and Beatrice speak to the teachers of wisdom

Led by Virgil through Inferno and Purgatorio. Virgil was born before Christ and can go no further. Dante is led through Paradiso by the beautiful Lady Beatrice.

Souls who made Holy Vows but failed to keep them.

Souls who sought Glory, but forgot the end does not justify the means.

Souls who enjoyed the sexual pleasures, but also remembered spiritual love.

Can we question the Will of God? If not, then we lack Free Will.

Finally, Dante is led into the presence of God, but before, he is questioned by Peter, James and John.

A very beautiful and moving dramatisation by the BBC of Paradiso, the third part of The Divine Comedy. All the more the pity only on-line for seven days.

The Count of Monte Cristo

December 7, 2012
seaman Edmond Dantès

seaman Edmond Dantès

The effect of the serials, which held vast audiences enthralled … is unlike any experience of reading we are likely to have known ourselves, maybe something like that of a particularly gripping television series. Day after day, at breakfast or at work or on the street, people talked of little else. — Carlos Javier Villafane Mercado

At the age of nineteen, seaman Edmond Dantès has a charmed life – about to be promoted to Captain, and engaged to the beautiful Mercédès. But Marseilles in 1815 is a dangerous place, and three of Dantes’ acquaintances set in train a chain of events that will lead Edmond to fourteen years of solitary confinement in the notorious Chateau D’If.

Our story starts at Chateau D’If, with a body being tipped into the sea. Edmond Dantès has managed to escape by exchanging places with a dead man.

Just at the moment his escape is discovered, a bloated body of a dead Maltese seaman floats by. Dantès quickly exchanges his prison garb with that of the seaman. From now on, he will be known as Maltese.

The reason for his escape, revenge, revenge on those who betrayed him and caused him to be cast into prison.

Lucky for Dantès, a passing ship rescues him, thinking he is a survivor from the Maltese ship wrecked on the rocks. The passing ship are smugglers.

Fourteen years earlier, Dantès has brought a ship home as First mate after the Captain died. The dying wish of the Captain, was to divert to Elba and deliver a package to Napoleon. It is this act that leads to his betrayal, this is France, with a restored king post-revolution.

Brilliant 4-part dramatisation of The Count of Monte Cristo by BBC Radio 4.

Alexandre Dumas was born in 1802. His father, the illegitimate son of a marquis, was a general in the revolutionary armies, but died when Alexandre was four years old. His most successful novels were The Count of Monte Cristo (serialised between 1844-1846) and the Three Musketeers (1844).

The Count of Monte Cristo (French: Le Comte de Monte-Cristo) was originally published in the Journal des Débats in eighteen parts. Publication ran from 28 August 1844 to 15 January 1846.

Dumas wrote that the idea of revenge in The Count of Monte Cristo came from a story in a book compiled by Jacques Peuchet, a French police archivist, published in 1838 after the death of the author. Dumas included this essay in one of the editions from 1846. Peuchet told of a shoemaker, Pierre Picaud, living in Nîmes in 1807, who was engaged to marry a rich woman when three jealous friends falsely accused him of being a spy for England. Picaud was placed under a form of house arrest, in the Fenestrelle Fort where he served as a servant to a rich Italian cleric. When the man died, he left his fortune to Picaud whom he had begun to treat as a son. Picaud then spent years plotting his revenge on the three men who were responsible for his misfortune. He stabbed the first with a dagger on which were printed the words, “Number One”, and then he poisoned the second. The third man’s son he lured into crime and his daughter into prostitution, finally stabbing the man himself. This third man, named Loupian, had married Picaud’s fiancée while Picaud was under arrest.

To coincide with the broadcast of The Count of Monte Cristo, the Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 Tom Reiss’s account of the life of Alexandre Dumas’s father – General Alex Dumas, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo.

The Pilgrimage 25th Anniversary Edition

December 1, 2012
The Pilgrimage 25th Anniversary Edition

The Pilgrimage 25th Anniversary Edition

I was not aware there was a special 25th anniversary edition of The Pilgrimage (2012) with a special introduction by Paulo Coelho until I spotted one on display in Waterstone’s in Farnham today on a cold winter afternoon.

Most people think The Alchemist was the first book written by Paulo Coelho. It wasn’t, the first was The Pilgrimage.

It was walking El Camino de Santiago that inspired Paulo Coelho to write The Alchemist.

Many of his early books have their origins somewhere along El Camino de Santiago.

When he walked El Camino de Santiago, it had fallen into disuse, maybe 400 pilgrims a year. Since publication of the Pilgrimage, the numbers have risen exponentially, with peaks in Holy Years, such that by 2005 there were 400 a day passing a bar on the halfway point.

El Camino de Santiago is medieval pilgrim’s route that runs along northern Spain. The destination is Santiago de Compostela where lies the remains of Apostle James the Greater, St James.

“Twitter is art”

July 7, 2012
Paulo Coelho Zeit Online

Paulo Coelho Zeit Online

Pirated copies of his books, he welcomes the intellectual shock old died for him, the Internet, it is a global village. Brazil’s best-selling author Paulo Coelho celebrates the Skype call, the digital revolution – with all its consequences for the book market.

Zeit Online: Mr. Coelho, what you mean bookstores?

Paulo Coelho: Book stores are temples for me. You are viewing books , you can browse, you can talk to the booksellers. This is great.

Zeit Online: Mr. Coelho, what you mean bookstores?

Paulo Coelho: Book stores are temples for me. You are viewing books , you can browse, you can talk to the booksellers. This is great.

Zeit Online: Are you not afraid that this temple must close when selling authors like to e-books to sell junk for 99 cents?

Coelho: Let me put it this way: When Gutenberg invented the printing press, the monks shouted: “O God, we prefer to pull back from this world, it has become too fast. Previously, we have made drawings, our books were works of art, and now we have these cheap Gutenberg printing “But each technological revolution creates a platform for a cultural revolution. And I really do not think that this temple, the bookstores will disappear. The film has not even the theater killed.

Zeit Online: How does the revolution of which you speak, from the publishers?

Coelho: I have over eight million fans on Facebook, my blog read two million people a month. I get to speak directly to my readers. The publishers have no idea how important something is. Nevertheless, the power of traditional marketing is publishers and bookstores continue to be indispensable. We can not lift authors alone.

Zeit Online: Many writers grumble about the social networks : They would eat only the amount of time it took for writing books. And the readers deserve to read the snout and hold dear.

Coelho: I find that strange. I always have time for that: I have time to write my books, I have to work period, I have time to do a bit of sport. So I think: One of the most important parts in the life of an author is to directly interact with its readers in touch. This refers to herself better. It helps me as a person, not only as a writer. Yesterday I spoke with a friend from Montenegro, who told me of Montenegrin legend, I’ve chatted with a Chinese man. They are my friends, even though I never met physically. I talk with them, I’m learning very much and have very much fun. It’s like you go to a bar. Writers should definitely go to bars!

Zeit Online: Why not go for many writers in the digital bar?

Coelho: You are afraid of the direct contact that is very human. What you do not know, until you come and see.

Zeit Online: Do we need to actually before Amazon fear? And the network logic The winner takes it all?

Coelho: This is not the logic of the network. This is the logic of our world. Now just the European football championship. Does it matter who is in second or third? No, it’s all about who wins. And I am sure that Germany wins. But honestly, now it looks as if Amazon would take over everything. Only: Morning invents a rival anything else, and the situation changes completely. We can not stop it’s progress. We can adapt, but the change must go on. Let us use it all the possibilities of new technologies.

Zeit Online: How do you do that?

Coelho: I have a few weeks ago I asked my publisher if he all of my e-books can be downloaded progressively to 99 cents, but the alchemist, he did it for three weeks because there is no distribution and no printing costs for e-books. there. Then we have stopped the promotion. What has happened? The 99-cent books have pulled the alchemists. He climbed the New York Times bestseller list from, I do not know, 39 on the 7th Place up. For me this means: If you’re not stingy, your application will be rewarded.

“If you are a victim of piracy, then it is an honor, a medal!”

Zeit Online: This only works with successful authors. What is writing to all the little writers, important books, but have only a small readership? How to survive in this new world?

Coelho: If you start writing or dancing, then you do it with conviction. You do it because you have to do it. I’m Brazilian, I never thought that I could get rich with my books. On the contrary, each time told me that it was impossible. Money comes only after work, that’s for sure. And if you make money, it’s because your whole heart is in your work. And even if you earn no money, what with me for many years was the case, then you’re working on anyway.

Zeit Online: It is in your system, but one problem: If the readers get used to it, e-books to get for 99 cents, they are less and less willing to pay $ 30 for a hardcover. With the 30-dollar sellers but publishers support the other major writers who are economically not so successful.

Coelho: This is what the publishers. But what the authors say?

Zeit Online: The Same?

Coelho: Really? Ask four or five writers, and they say, selling authors are terrible. They are of poor quality, they are stupid, blah, blah, blah. Indeed, with these writers but selling authors would if they brave enough were and say, best-selling authors are great, because I may publish with the money my book, if they would then say: selling authors are great because they touch the hearts of many people, then it would be different. But I know their views on best-seller. And I tell them: Your time is over, ha!

Zeit Online: No sympathy for these authors?

Coelho: Yes. You have an aristocratic opinion of bestsellers. Camus was a bestseller, was a bestseller Baudelaire, Henry Miller was one, and Shakespeare. So if the authors want to publish lamenting with the help of best-sellers, they should only say a few times nice things about bestsellers.

Zeit Online: What do you think of piracy? Bestseller books are often illegally copied and distributed. Many fear: If people get used to it, they eventually pay nothing for books.

Coelho: Yes, there is a risk. But after I put down my price to 99 cents, there was no more piracy. Only I did not say that piracy is bad! The ultimate goal of my life is to be read. And if it is piracy, then they are just there, in front of you may have no fear. Honestly, if you are a victim of piracy, then it is an honor, a medal! Pirate copy but only illegal books that people really want to read. When I walk through the streets of India, a child can see the smallest bookstore in the world, has only ten tracks, and two of which are pirated copies of my books, I’m proud! I am so proud, because that means that these are all people who want to read me. When I was in Lima, I have all my books in pirated editions discovered. I was happy and wanted to talk to the boy who sold them. But when I told him that I was the author, he ran away. He thought that I would complain terribly. But I did not complain. I wanted to thank him.

Zeit Online: If you find piracy not so bad – what do you think it over intellectual property ?

Coelho: Copyright is a creation of the business world, not the authors. It protects the business and not copyright. My idea is the idea of ​​sharing. Meister Eckhart, the German mystic, said, belongs to the parts of human beings. If you are not sharing, then you do not exist too. Now we share this interview via Skype. I see you, you see me. It costs nothing for you, and it costs nothing for me. Is not that wonderful?

Zeit Online: The advantage of Skype is that we can look into your office. What’s that picture on the wall behind you?

Coelho: It is the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a subject of my first book. My wife painted it, and now it hangs in my office. Actually I was supposed to have a large bookcase crammed impressive as the old intelligentsia, to show how cultured I am. I’m very cultured, but I do not have to show people. Simplicity is the new thing, the Internet is simplicity. So I think that the classic intellectual is dead. He is replaced by the “internetual,” the Internetuellen.

Zeit Online: And what role does this new character?

Coelho: The Internetuelle will change the style of writing. It will be much straighter without hollow. It will be much more directly, without being superficial. You just need to tell and to penetrate to the heart of the matter. The imagination of the reader keeps alive. The revolution is still this: Today you have several ways to express as a writer for you. You can write 140 characters on Twitter or five paragraphs on the blog, or you can put out a book. I see a future in which “the title of” writer is no longer reserved for people who write books. We have a very wide range of possibilities.

Zeit Online: So you would see your blog entries as part of literature as art?

Coelho: Of course! And my tweets too.

Google translation from an article “Twittern ist Kunst” in Zeit Online.

Copyright and patents are for the protection of intellectual property rights of the individual but in reality protect the monopolies of Big Business. It is Big Business that complains the loudest about sharing, not creative artists.

Writers want to be read, musicians heard.

Sites like bandcamp encourage sharing, make sharing easy.

E-books have what is in essence zero costs. There is also an infinite store. No matter how many are downloaded or sold, there are still more in the store, the store does not run out of stock.

A Conversation With Paulo Coelho

June 30, 2012
A conversation with Paulo Coelho

A conversation with Paulo Coelho

As Lady Gaga says: Hello little monsters. — Paulo Coelho

James Joyce is such a boring writer. — Paulo Coelho

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. — 2 Peter 3:8

Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho in live video conference.

I recently posted an interview Paulo Coelho did with DLT about making use of social media.

There are those who know how to make use of social media and those who do not. Paulo Coelho has taken it into a whole new dimension with a live video conference with over 600 participants. A few minutes in and it was at 678.

The previous day I listened to a dramatisation of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Much reappeared in the conversation with Paulo Coelho.

I was so busy posting on the net that Paulo Coelho was on live, that I was caught completely unawares when Paulo Coelho was talking to me.

What is your question Keith? I had no question. I commented on Christina’s painting in the background.

People were meant to post a question. I assume Paulo saw someone he knew.

I was busy with all the controls. Along the bottom tiny thumbnails of a sample of the people in the video conference. Some were who I knew.

What is the problem in failing? We all fail. Better to have failed than to have never tried. Failing is part of life. It is through failing we learn.

Aleph is an account of a journey in 2006 on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Advice on writing: Start writing. As Imogen Heap said in a recent webcast the artist’s best friend is procrastination. If you delay, you are not following your dreams.

Paulo Coelho started writing when he was 40. That was his dream. He had no idea if it would be a success.

Most important thing is to start. Second is to share. It is not just about writing, it is sharing your soul.

Economic crisis is paranoia, it is easy to spread panic. Fear is the most powerful tool to control our minds.

Nearly twenty years ago Paulo Coelho made the mistake of selling the film rights to The Alchemist. A book that has now sold over 65 million copies. Once you sell the rights, you lose control.

Thoughts on young people: Am I at 64 in a position to comment? There is a lack of values. Less adventurous. Lack of creativity.

A personal legend is a term from alchemy, your mission in life. Who am I? What am a doing here? God will help you follow the right path in life.

You may not be writing a biography, but your writing will be biographical, it will draw on your life experience.

We are surrounded by symbols.

Inspired by interacting with people on internet, reading, walking in the woods, archery.

Archery is a method of meditation.

Inspiration for writing Aleph: Journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Aleph is a point in space and time.

Aleph not an easy book to write. How can you explain a moment that explains all moments?

Talking to Monica, she suggested writing about the experience on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Then one week later, saw how to explain Aleph. Explain in a way that others could understand.

Aleph No 1 in Brazil. An international best seller. A surprise!

Very proud to be published [in US] by Knopf.

The Alchemist was first contact with Islamic culture. Travelled from Tarifa in Spain from where you can see Africa.

Is modern literature going into decline like music?

Music is not dying. The major record labels are dying, who do not realise there has been a paradigm shift.

Earlier in the day I signed two young lads to a record label. I explained to them it was more important to be on twitter than be on a record label.

I gave three examples of people who know how to use social media: Paulo Coelho, Steve Lawson and Imogen Heap.

Writers are not making use of social media to communicate with their readers.

Who is going to read Ulysses by James Joyce?

Three weeks ago BBC Radio 4 dramatised Ulysses. A five and a half dramatisation to coincide with Bloomsday. There was discussions on Ulysses. Academics for who it was their subject matter admitted it was incomprehensible.

If the role of a writer is to communicate, how can James Joyce be considered a great writer? It is claimed he is influential. Influenced who?

Aleph is about reincarnation. A problem in the Catholic Church.

Put in a mental institution. Arrested by paramilitaries, tortured. Paranoid. Time heals. Don’t let the person who hurts you destroy you.

In writing a book, have an ending in mind, and a beginning, the question is how to get to one from the other. The Alchemist is taken from a short story in the Arabian Nights. Aleph is known as it is what happened on the Trans-Siberian Railway. The Pilgrimage is also autobiographical.

The writer has to create what happens between the beginning and the end.

As a writer you are on a journey and it is the journey is what counts. A new book is a new journey.

A gardener takes care of the plants but depends on many things out of his control.

New book, Manuscrito encontrado em Accra, published in Brazil in one month, rest of the world end of this year and early next year.

Draw on all your senses including sixth sense. Intuition.

Mystery. There are things we cannot define, but we recognise when we see or experience, for example love. We cannot explain love, but we can experience love.

In Zen and the Art of Maintenance, Phaedrus cannot define quality, but we all recognise quality. Eventually it drives him insane.

Aleph is a point that contains every single point. You can experience, how can you explain?

Deja vu, synchronicity?

Time is a mystery, time is elastic.

When I am with my lovely friend Lena, time stands still. We were in a restaurant having a drink. The staff came to us at midnight, said goodnight, and left us a candle. I noticed it was very quiet. I asked Lena what time did she think it was? It was gone 2am in the early hours of the morning.

What books are you reading? Currently reading In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. Hitler’s ascent to power. No one saw or understood what was happening.

Peace is state of mind, We have to fight injustice. Read Bhagavad Gita

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Nothing is as good at being a book as a book is

April 22, 2012
The Book of the Future

The Book of the Future

Nothing is as good at being a book as a book is. — Douglas Adams

You can’t hand a Kindle to a friend and say give it back to me in six months. -– Steve Lawson

If you think about it, a very profound statement.

You can sit on a book. You cannot sit on a Kindle, it breaks.

You can share a book. How many people do you see sharing a Kindle?

You see people doing this all the time. They read a book, then pass it on either to a friend or to a charity shop.

I must admit I tend not to. My house is a black hole for books. And as the mass of books increases, more books get sucked in.

What though I do do, if I know a book to be good, I pick up extra copies and pass to friends and people I meet.

The more people share books, then it follows more people will read the books.

Sharing is thus a good thing.

Books are very good at being books!

The worst fear of a writer is not piracy, it is obscurity, remaining unknown or sinking into obscurity.

A writer writes because he wishes to be read.

When you hear whining about piracy, be it books or music, it is not the writers or musicians, it is global corporations. And since when have they been concerned about artists starving in their garrets?

Paulo Coelho wanted to be a writer, he always wanted to be a writer.

When he first wrote The Alchemist, it did not sell very well. He would hand out flyers to cinema audiences.

The Alchemist is now one of the Top Ten most read books in the world.

Paulo Coelho was dropped by his publisher in Russia. Then a strange thing happened. A pirate edition was published. He is now a very popular writer in Russia.

Give a person a good book and they will curl up and read it.

What is destroying books, what is destroying music, is the greed of global corporations.

The search for the next me-too, copycat blockbuster.

Publishers, in their search for a fast buck, offering best-sellers to chains, are killing off the small independent booksellers, leaving nothing left.

What a pleasure it was in Bassano del Grappa, a small town, and yet it had four independent bookshops, bookshops where they cared about books.

World Book Night: Monday 23 April 2012, a million books, 25 titles to be given away.

Paulo Coelho: How I Write

February 16, 2012
Paulo Coelho - Philip Volsem

Paulo Coelho - Philip Volsem

Paulo Coelho has long been one of my writing inspirations.

His work, of near universal appeal, spans from The Alchemist to the most recent Aleph and has been translated into more than 70 languages.

Few people know that The Alchemist, which has sold more than 65 million copies worldwide, was originally published by a small Brazilian publisher to the tune of… 900 copies. They declined to reprint it. It wasn’t until after his subsequent novel (Brida) that The Alchemist was revived and took off.

I, for one, have always been impressed with consistent writers. Paulo, who averages one book every two years, is staggeringly consistent. As I type this, I am under the pressure of book deadlines and often feel as Kurt Vonnegut did: “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”

My output is erratic at best, and I wondered: how does Paulo write? What is his process? How does he think about it?

I reached out to him, and he was kind enough to reply with the attached/linked audio. In it, he provides some gems and answers the following questions, which I posed to him (I provide my own abbreviated answers in brackets):

When on deadline, what is the first thing you do in the morning? What does your daily schedule look like? Do you take any days off, and what determines if you’ve had a “successful” writing day?

[TIM: 2-3 hours of fasted writing in the morning to Mozart and pu-ehr tea. Success is two shitty pages of drafts.]

How do you capture ideas that might be helpful in your writing? These days, what software and tools do you use for writing?

[TIM: Evernote, Moleskine notebooks]

How much of your books do you visualize/outline upfront vs. writing organically piece-by-piece? In other words, how much of the story arc have you decided before you start writing? Let’s take two books as examples — The Alchemist and Aleph. Otherwise, how did your process differ for these two books?

[TIM: Though it changes as I write, I outline everything before starting. I suspect organic writing is more common in fiction.]

What are the most common mistakes that you see first-time novelists making? Most common weaknesses?


Do you base your characters on real people? Why or why not? If not, how do you develop those characters?


What are the 2-3 things you personally find most invigorating or helpful when you’re stuck or feel stagnated with writing/ideas? Do you have a team of any type (researchers, etc.) who help you?

[TIM: Rereading Bird by Bird when I doubt/loathe/chastise myself, deadlifting, and doing sprint workouts.]

Paulo Coelho talking to Tim Ferriss on soundcloud

Paulo Coelho in interview with Tim Ferriss.

Paulo offered a few additional notes and resources further exploration:

As for the sentence in Alice in Wonderland: “Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Paulo Coelho discussing his writing process:

Paulo Coelho on writing IV

January 23, 2012

Paulo Coelho talking about writing using Aleph as an example.

We have a book, in our soul, in our head, how do we get it into a book that we can share with others to read?

Writing a book is hard work, it requires dsicipline, but once we start, we find it easy.

The book is then published. It is a free agent.

Will readers like it, will bookshops stock it, will reviewers use the platform of a review to launch a vicious personal attack on the author?

Last year, Aleph shot to No1 in all countries of publication within days of release. The one noticeable exception was the UK where Waterstone’s bookshop chain for whatever perverse reason refused to put Aleph on display and so the passing reader was not aware of its existence.

Top Story Ask the English Teacher Daily (Monday 23 January 2011).

Paulo Coelho on writing I
Paulo Coelho on writing III

Paulo Coelho on writing III

January 16, 2012
boat on the sea - Ken Crane

boat on the sea - Ken Crane

boat on the sea - Ken Crane

boat on the sea - Ken Crane

If you enjoy what you are doing you are going to be inspired to share with other people. — Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho talking about writing using Aleph as an example.

When we write we let inspiration guide us. If we try to guide inspiration we write mechanically, as though we have been to writing school. Maybe ok to write a technical manual, but produces bad writing, no flow, lacks a soul.

Hildegard von Bingen when she wrote her beautiful, haunting music said she was ‘a feather on the breath of God’.

When Handel wrote the Messiah, he thought he was being inspired by angels. On completing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ Handel is reported to have exclaimed ‘I think I did see all Heaven open before me and the great God Himself.’

Illustrations by Ken Crane.

Paulo Coelho on writing I
Paulo Coelho on writing II
Paulo Coelho on writing IV

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