Colenso Books

COLENSO BOOKS: A selection of titles

Orders and enquiries to the publisher:  colensobooks@gmail.com

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Thursday, 31 October 2019

Corfu In Focus (Some Tourism Statistics)




International and Domestic Airport Arrivals - Corfu 2009-18 (000s)


LARRY - A Friendship with Lawrence Durrell; Une amitié avec Lawrence Durrell; Gemma Salem





A new book from Éditions Baker Street, about a ten year friendship with Lawrence Durrell

With thanks to Anthony Hirst for the information.

From the press release:

"Considéré comme l’un des auteurs anglo-saxons les plus importants du XXe siècle, Lawrence Durrell a exercé une immense fascination sur tout une génération de lecteurs avec Le Quatuor d’Alexandrie. Le plus grand regret du réalisateur Mankiewicz était de n’avoir pu adapter ce chef d’œuvre au cinéma. Souvent pressenti pour le prix Nobel,un temps attaché d’ambassade, artisan d’amitiés nobles et fidèles (dont le plus bel exemple reste celle qu’il noua avec Henry Miller), Lawrence Durrell fut un grand voyageur. Après avoir parcouru la Grèce, l’Égypte, l’Argentine et la Yougoslavie, il pose ses valises en France, à Sommières, une petite ville du Gard où il résida jusqu’à sa mort en 1990. Il y écrira une grande partie de son œuvre sans délaisser ses amours pour Corfou qui inspira à son frère, le naturaliste Gerald Durrell, une fresque chatoyante sur l’exil de la famille Durrell, La Trilogie de Corfou (l’ouvrage a été adapté de nombreuses fois pour la télévision et le cinéma, le plus récemment par Christopher Hall pour la BBC dans la série très populaire La Folle aventure des Durrell.) En 1979, un autre auteur – en herbe, cette fois-ci – s’installe dans le petit village de Gailhan, à quelques kilomètres de Sommières : c’est Gemma Salem. Le hasard lui fait rencontrer Lawrence Durrell. Elle a trente ans de moins. Pudique, elle ne lui dit pas qu’elle écrit l’amorce d’une œuvre qui fera redécouvrir au public, voire découvrir, le talent d’un Boulgakov ou d’un Thomas Bernhard. Mais les deux êtres à la personnalité bien trempée se sont reconnus. Et c’est une amitié de dix ans qui débute, une amitié de voisins placée sous le signe de l’humour et de la complicité. Avec LARRY – collage animé où se mêlent des lettres, des photos et des dessins inédits de Lawrence Durrell – c’est cette période méconnue que Gemma Salem nous invite à découvrir. Avec sa liberté de ton habituelle, elle raconte leurs frasques en dressant de lui un portrait très personnel, portée par une affection et une admiration indéfectibles envers l’écrivain britannique. Un véritable kaléidoscope de souvenirs et de sensations, drôle, évocateur, authentique, plein de charme, où le lecteur s’amuse avec eux, en entendant leurs voix".

À paraître aux Éditions Baker Street:

LARRY Une amitié avec Lawrence Durrell
Relations presse : Cynthia Liebow • cliebow@bakerstreet-editions.com Éditions Baker Street • 20, rue des Grands Augustins – 75006 Paris Tél : 06 87 91 55 59 • contact@bakerstreet-editions.com

"Gemma Salem est Suissesse, née à Antioche en 1943. Autodidacte, elle a fait tous les métiers. Elle écrit son premier roman, Le Roman de Monsieur Boulgakov, alors qu’elle est la voisine de Lawrence Durrell dans le Gard. Publié en 1982, il sera acclamé par la presse. Suivront de nombreux livres : des romans, des biographies, des essais, ainsi qu’une dizaine de pièces de théâtre. Pour son roman L’Artiste, vibrant hommage à Thomas Bernhard, Gemma Salem a reçu le prix Schiller. Elle vit aujourd’hui à Vienne. Ce livre est le fruit d’entretiens que Gemma Salem a accordés à Stéphane Héaume, né à Paris en 1971, auteur de plusieurs romans parmi lesquels Le Clos Lothar (prix JeanGiono), Le Fou de Printzberg ou Sheridan Square (prix de Deauville)".


Jacob Rees-Mogg, avant garde film star (The Guardian)



Jacob Rees-Mogg: my early career as an avant garde film star, Melissa Gronlund, The Guardian

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Botswana, Home of Modern Humans?



From Nature: Human origins in a southern African palaeo-wetland and first migrations

From The Guardian, Ian Sample

From CNN, Ashley Strickland

The Interrogation: the Stasi and the StB


I caught this episode (7) from Tunnel 29 on BBC Radio 4 when I was in my car. It held my attention.

BBC Programme Information:

“That’s the first time I saw her again.” Wolfdieter's show trial begins.

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Helena Merriman tells the extraordinary true story of a man who dug a tunnel into the East, right under the feet of border guards, to help friends, family and strangers escape. The series is based on original interviews with the survivors as well as thousands of documents from the Stasi archives and recordings from the tunnel".

Producer and Presenter: Helena Merriman
Sound Design: Eloise Whitmore
Translation and additional research: Sabine Schereck
Editor: Richard Knight


I was reminded of Edwin Muir's powerful poem "The Interrogation":

"We could have crossed the road but hesitated,
And then came the patrol;
The leader conscientious and intent,
The men surly, indifferent.
While we stood by and waited
The interrogation began. He says the whole
Must come out now, who, what we are,
Where we have come from, with what purpose, whose
Country or camp we plot for or betray.
Question on question.
We have stood and answered through the standing day
And watched across the road beyond the hedge
The careless lovers in pairs go by,
Hand linked in hand, wandering another star,
So near we could shout to them. We cannot choose
Answer or action here,
Though still the careless lovers saunter by
And the thoughtless field is near.
We are on the very edge,
Endurance almost done,
And still the interrogation is going on".

Edwin Muir


My new book of short stories, "This Spinning World" also contains a story about an StB interrogation in Czechoslovakia. The story is called Miroslav's Dream.


UK General Election: Labour to back early general election



From BBC News

Byron: Call for Papers - 46th International Byron Conference, Thessaloniki, 29 June-5 July 2020


46th International Byron Conference, Wars and Words

29 June - 5 July 2020

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Call for Papers

http://www.internationalassociationofbyronsocieties.org/index.php/conferences/conference-announcements/item/83-call-for-papers-46th-international-byron-conference

"Proposals are invited for the 2020 Conference of the International Association of Byron Societies, "Byron: Wars and Words", to be held at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki from 29th June to 5th July.

"The aim of this conference is to look at how war in all its meanings, symbolisms, and manifestations influenced Byron's words and worlds, and shaped his poetic and political sensibility. Drawing on recent scholarship in Romantic studies, it will also explore Romantic authors' preoccupations with war, and how these intersected with Byron's. How are the events of wars transformed into words, images and spectacle? Conversely, how do words become weapons and trigger literary, cultural, and political struggles? What kind of ideological conflicts, dilemmas, and anxieties does the print culture of the time embody when treating the issue of war? How does Romantic-period conflict extend our understanding of modern warfare?

"The conference welcomes 20-minute proposals for papers. Please send 250-word proposals by 31st December 2019 to byronthess@gmail.com, directing any enquiries to Dr. Maria Schoina. Confirmation of acceptance by 31st January 2020".

"The conference welcomes 20-minute proposals for papers on topics including, but not necessarily limited to: – Byron as revolutionary fighter and/or critic of war – Byron and Napoleon – Byron and epic – Warfare as inspiring force for poetic subjects, new genres, language forms and styles – Romantic nationalism – 'Intellectual war': newspapers, magazines, reviews and broadsides – The representation of military action and violence in literature and art – Famous critical wars that Byron's words produced – War and gender – Revolution and knowledge production – Science and war – Media and military technologies".

Maybe I should develop a paper with this poem that I once made from the words of Enver Hoxha as a starting point:

Enver Hoxha on Lord Byron, 1975

“I like Byron…
He sincerely loved my people,
Sang their praises with pure feeling,
Sang of their manliness
And valour.
We love our friends
And welcome them.
For our enemies…these bullets”.


(Published in Corfu Blues, Poems and Songs Inspired by Greece and the Balkans, 1967-2005,
Ars Interpres, 2006)



J'EN AI VU PLUSIEURS.(or A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall?); Jacques Prévert, An Influence on Bob Dylan



Extracts from Jacques Prévert's J'en ai vu plusieurs...


J'en ai vu un qui s'était assis sur le chapeau d'un autre
il était pâle
il tremblait
il attendait quelque chose... n'importe quoi...
la guerre... la fin du monde...

J'en ai vu un qui lisait les journaux
j'en ai vu un qui saluait le drapeau
j'en ai vu un qui était habillé de noir...

J'en ai vu un qui tirait son enfant par la main et qui criait...
j'en ai vu un avec un chien
j'en ai vu un avec une canne à épée
j'en ai vu un qui pleurait
j'en ai vu un qui entrait dans une église
j'en ai vu un autre qui en sortait...


Bob Dylan's song lyric (Lord Randall meets Jacques Prévert?)

It was one of the songs that had impressed the Nobel Committee for Literature at the Swedish Academy.


Brewster Chamberlin: The Durrell Log, A Chronology of the Life and Times of Lawrence Durrell (3rd Edition), Colenso Books



The new Colenso Books edition (October 2019), above

Some more Colenso Books titles


The 2007 first edition.

The new Colenso Books edition book is a much updated, revised, extended, retitled and reorganized edition of the Chronology which the Durrell School of Corfu published in 2007. It's much easier to use than the first edition as it now has running heads and a 16-page “Index of persons”.

Although I already had a copy of the 2007 first edition, I found this new, third edition, from Colenso Books (October, 2019), a compulsive and totally absorbing read.

It has gripped me since I received an advance copy a week ago. It is full of fascinating information, much of which I didn't know, and important corrections of false assumptions or oft-repeated items of misinformation. An essential companion for any reader of Lawrence Durrell's work (and of his contemporaries), it's a rich literary and cultural history of more than a century of diverse international creativity. Brewster Chamberlin's engaging scholarship and personality shine through the 214 pages.

It is the combination of the fascinating bite-sized chunks of information (now set with small spaces between the dated entries), the delightful asides, notes and subtle comments, and the wider literary and historical context, that makes it such an essential volume - a tremendous journey and chronology, full of unexpected surprises. I liked the design and layout too (congratulations to Anthony Hirst).


About Brewster Chamberlin

To order a copy, contact colensobooks@gmail.com

(remember you can also order a copy of my own, just-published book, "This Spinning World" from the same publisher).

https://corfublues.blogspot.com/2019/10/this-spinning-world-43-stories-from-far.html

https://corfublues.blogspot.com/2019/10/this-spinning-world-contents-list-43.html




Sunday, 27 October 2019

Lightnin' Hopkins and Son House



A favourite Lightnin' Hopkins blues recording (issued in the UK on Realm LP, RM-101, in 1963):

I wonder why

Compare with Son House's Preachin' Blues

Original recording

I was lucky enough to see both bluesmen performing live in concert.




Weymouth: Beach Dog Ban Dilemma


From Dorset Echo

"A public consultation on the proposals is expected to start in January and run for 12 weeks before going back to councillors for a final decision".





Update, 6 November: Ledge appears in sand on Weymouth beach due to storms


Saturday, 26 October 2019

From Christie's Magazine; American Gothic; Topographical Paintings



American Gothic — Grant Wood’s Midwestern mystery

Topographical paintings:

Voyaging: Selections from the Kelton Collection

Soyez Polis



An extract from a poem by Jacques Prévert:


Ismail Kadare, Chronicle in Stone; Albania



Read the opening chapter

Also:

An extract from The Siege


Paris Review Interview

The Times Interview

The Independent Interview

FT, Small Talk

Scottish Review of Books Interview

NYT - Ismail Kadare;A Meeting Of the Venerated And Best Known


I have enjoyed reading Kadare's book (in French translation)  about Aeschylus and Ancient Greek influences and cultural survivals in Albania and neighbouring countries in the Balkan peninsula. I bought it at a stall on the banks of the River Seine:




(Asymptote Journal),
translated from the Albanian by Ani Kokobobo -
An excerpt from the essay “Aeschylus, the Lost,” from Essays on World Literature: Shakespeare • Aeschylus • Dante by Ismail Kadare, translated by Ani Kokobobo,  Restless Books.



Dorchester, Dorset: 2019 Dorchester Literary Festival



From The Dorset Echo

"Next year’s festival takes place from Tuesday, October 13 to Saturday, October 17".

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Cranbourne Chase: International Dark-Sky Reserve; Stargazing



From The Independent


From Country Life


From Bournemouth Echo


I always thought that the islands of Sark (Channel Islands) and  Paxos (Greece) were some of the best places to observe the stars and night sky.


Tuesday, 22 October 2019

American Blues Meets Greek Rebetiko, New York University Course


From Greek Reporter: "New York University announced last week that it will offer a new class exploring the historical origins of Greek Rebetiko and American Blues — and focusing on how the two musical genres intertwine in so many different ways. The course, titled “Songs of the Underdog: American Blues Meets Greek Rebetiko,” will be offered for the spring 2020 semester under the auspices of the Consulate General of Greece in New York City".

A pity this isn't an online course.

I didn't think that the jams with Louisiana Red and Stelios Vamvakaris were that successful. Better to appreciate the two genres separately.





Oxford Announces Director of Centre for Byzantine Research; Peter Frankopan



Oxford Announces SNF Director of Centre for Byzantine Research as Part of Broader Expansion

Peter Frankopan was recently at the Corfu Literary Festival.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

A Culture Vulture's Guilty Secret, Paris



Our last night in Paris...a very rainy night. We were at a loose end, so we went to see Downton Abbey at a cinema on the Champs-Élysées. We have to support our local Dorset film producers and screenwriters.

No, we didn't eat at nearby McDonalds after the movie. We got thoroughly soaked when walking back to the hotel. We changed our clothes and went round the corner to eat at a Chinese/Asian noodle-sushi-dumpling fast food diner. Delicious! A great night out, but I kept recalling a poem by Jacques Prévert -

"Il est terrible
le petit bruit de l'oeuf dur cassé sur un comptoir d'étain
il est terrible ce bruit
quand il remue dans la mémoire de l'homme qui a faim
elle est terrible aussi la tête de l'homme
la tête de l'homme qui a faim..."


- and two images, a detail from a painting in the El Greco exhibition (I heard someone remark, "Isn't that a Big Mac, bottom right?"), and a sadly typical scene on the Champs-Élysées (even more disturbing to see someone in that position in the pouring rain)






Also noted:






Achilleion Palace in Corfu in urgent need of repair








Dorset: the oldest population in the country?



Trevor Bevins, Dorset Echo:

We've got the oldest population in the country - now elderly set to put extra strain on services


La Fayette; Marquis de Lafayette









EL GRECO Retrospective Exhibition, Grand Palais, Paris


We were lucky to see the Greco Exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris on the day of opening. It's tremendous.

"This retrospective is the first major exhibition in France ever to be dedicated to this artist. Born in Crete in 1541, Domenico Theotokopoulos, known as El Greco, undertook his initial apprenticeship in the Byzantine tradition before refining his training in Venice and then Rome. However, it was in Spain that his art flourished, firmly taking root from the 1577s. Attracted by the incredible promise of the El Escorial site, the artist brought Titian’s colour, Tintoretto’s audacity and Michelangelo’s heroic style. This eloquent combination, original yet consistent with his own way, gave El Greco (who died four years after Caravaggio) a unique place in the history of painting, as the last grand master of the Renaissance and the first great painter of the Golden Age".

Listen to "L’œuvre du Greco",  France Culture (audio)







 



Musée d'Orsay: Some Sculptures


Sappho, Penelope, Mercury, Liberty: 







Musée d'Orsay: Cattle





Two Musicians, Musée d'Orsay




Athens: the appearance of the city



Why does Athens look so quirky? BBC


Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Romania: why does it import waste from abroad?



BBC News


Corfu: The Modern European Dimension in Waste Management, Enimerosi

On Short Stories


Thanks to Demetris Dallas for this quote from the New York Times book review of Zadie Smith's collection of short stories:

"To consider yourself well versed in contemporary literature without reading short stories is to visit the Eiffel Tower and say you've seen Europe".

When in Paris, one discovers a lot of different views and angles of the Eiffel Tower. I've never actually visited it. But you can now read my short stories - from all over Europe and around the world!






I was able to spend some precious time with my daughter,
and to give her my new book.
She's so busy, I doubt she'll find the time to read it!

No sooner had we arrived, it seemed, than she suddenly had to  reschedule her plans and  travel itinerary. Before she flies from Paris to Istanbul, she has had to add a flight, with the French news film crew, to Barcelona, before returning to Paris again to fly back to Washington DC.

Our last hasty lunch in Paris,  while she re-organizes her flights:


And I thought that I had "a spinning world"!

The sad news is that in Barcelona she was robbed of her credit cards,
passport and much else besides. A nightmare. She had to cancel the trip to Istanbul.




Poppies (Monet's and Mine)





My photograph of poppies at Poundbury was not influenced by Claude Monet's oil painting of poppies, 1873. A compositional coincidence.