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Friday, 29 August 2014

The Lines Before the Score: A Reflection on "Jaws" the novel

Jaws (novel)
Jaws (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently picked up my copy of “Jaws” and I have to admit that the opening passage is very hard to beat. Consider these very famous lines: 

“The great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail. The mouth was open just enough to permit a rush of water over the gills. There was little other motion: an occasional correction of the apparently aimless course by the slight raising or lowering of a pectoral fin -- as a bird changes direction by dipping one wing and lifting the other. The eyes were sightless in the black, and the other senses transmitted nothing extraordinary to the small, primitive brain. The fish might have been asleep, save for the movement dictated by countless millions of years of instinctive continuity: lacking the flotation bladder common to other fish and the fluttering flaps to push oxygen-bearing water through its gills, it survived only by moving.”

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Sheridan La Fanu Honoured on Google

“But dreams come through stone walls, light up dark rooms, or darken light ones, and their persons make their exits and their entrances as they please, and laugh at locksmiths.”
― Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, “Carmilla”

I am delighted to see that Google has decided to celebrate the 200th birthday of the Irish author, Sheridan Le Fanu, today. Le Fanu was a prolific writer who is best remembered for his mystery and horror fiction. Unlike other several other Gothic writers of the 19th century, such as Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker, Le Fanu was totally dedicated to a career in writing. He studied law at Trinity College, Dublin and was called to the bar in 1839, but already had his mind on journalism. A year previously his first ghost story, “The Ghost and the Bone Setter” signposted where Le Fanu’s literary influence would lie. From 1840 he would become the owner of several newspapers and would go on to write many books and short stories. 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Folklore as a Tool

I am currently reading "Dracula: Prince of Many Faces - His Life and Times" by Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally and I came across this wonderful passage:

"Although folklore has to be used with caution by the historian, it can be a legitimate tool. There are perhaps more reason to trust collective folk wisdom, because people can be more discriminating on what they chose to remember, than the memoirs of statesmen, diplomats, and kings, who often to chose to deceive posterity to enhance their reputation."