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Mark Twain

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Art to Hear: The Total Artwork in Expressionism 1905-1925
Art to Hear: The Total Artwork in Expressionism 1905-1925
by Ralf Beil
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.17

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware, 20 May 2013
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This publication is touted as the audio accompaniment to the exhibition and hefty catalogue "The Total Artwork in Expressionism". For anyone who has seen the show or has the full catalogue, they know that it is full of images and text on film, opera, music, dance, etc. In other words, works of art which were themselves visual and aural.

One expected, then, this CD to contain musical or film excerpts from these works of art. It contains nothing of the kind. It is, quite literally, the audio accompaniment to the exhibition - a ghastly guide for a collection of images, for those, presumably, who cannot read. The entries are, in the best tradition of didactic exhibition guides, inane and obvious. But even worse is the voice of a drone like american voice, resembling a mass transport tannoy system, modulated for idiots, as if individual words were first recorded and then digitally collaged together.

This entire publication is worse than useless for me, and I am hard pushed to think of anyone who would want to buy it.

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún
by J R R Tolkien
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.14

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 7 May 2009
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It has to be said that this is one of the most excellent and important of Tolkien's publications. The Verse (or Elder) Edda is, of course, one of the most significant pieces of home-grown Northern literature. The legend of Siegfried (i.e. Sigurd), and that of the Nibelungs have been immortalised in the Nibelungenlied as well as Wagner's operatic cycle of the Ring.

This is exactly the kind of literature which inspired Tolkien to his own mythology. If his own mythology is as sound as brass, this is as brilliant as gold. In his version, Tolkien has captured the incandescent power and energy, and brutality, of Northern verse. Lacking in particles as well as rhyme, the alliteration and rhythm punch out of the pages like the pagan warriors it depicts.

Glimpses of Tolkien's genius appeared in his Sir Orfeo and Gawain and the Green Night; but this is concentrated verse of hoary origin and terrible power. It may be too strong a stuff for many, and certainly this is not for children. This is Tolkien the academic, the philologist, and poetic visionary. These are NOT his own myths and stories (which in fact merely seved as a backdrop for his linguistic adventures, which are indeed derived from sources such as the Edda) - these are, to be pictorial, the loins from which the very civilisation of the North had sprung.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2010 11:08 AM BST

Orlando Furioso (Oxford World's Classics)
Orlando Furioso (Oxford World's Classics)
by Ludovico Ariosto
Edition: Paperback

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Fall of Language, 13 Sept. 2007
I am giving this book 3 stars only because it is Orlando. A work central to European culture and our understanding of love, war, passion, and dignity.
The translation is no good. If it was a new translation, using new phrases and imagery to appeal to a new, younger audience, that would have been fine. If it was a 'classic' translation, one that employs archaisms in the most common words, that too would have been fine.
As it stands, Waldmann's translation is a hideous beast, cobbled together from turns of phrases that I would be ashamed of using in conversation and lofty archaisms that in such company simply appear absurd. I don't know what Waldmann was trying to do. But making Orlando Furioso unreadable is surely the accomplishment of a genius.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 26, 2012 9:34 PM BST

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