G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We Cried for Boxer and Shyamchi Aai

Yesterday, January 21 was Orwell day. The great man died in 1950 on that day at the age of 46.

He has appeared on this blog many times but he has been with me ever since my father translated "Animal Farm" into Marathi  "...Aani Kranticha Mudada Padala" (...आणि क्रांतीचा मुडदा पडला) - "...And the revolution's corpse fell"- around 1970.

We read it as  a kids' book. We did not know where USSR was. We did not know what revolution was. We did not know who Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky were.

But we read the book many times. We imagined all those animals using our little imaginations. And we cried for Boxer.  The way we cried for "Shyamchi Aai" (श्यामची आई).

Since then I have read most of Orwell in English but not 'Animal Farm'. My father's translation is still good enough for me.

There is tons of pro and anti-Orwell material on internet but I liked best what  Barry Gewen said recently about him

"...Orwell was against abstractions of every kind: fascism, Communism, especially nationalism; “Americanism,” he once said, was a term that could easily be used for totalitarian ends. His socialism was pragmatic, anti-utopian, perhaps little more than an expression of his hope that the conditions of the poor and the powerless could be improved...He was a friend of the common man who also had an appreciation of James Joyce. He was a socialist with little hope for real change unless decency could somehow prevail..."


Will decency somehow prevail?


New cover of the book

courtesy: Penguin Books, penguin.co.uk. typeasimage.com.

"The deep foreboding red of the Animal Farm cover evokes the political charge of Orwell's allegorical novel of 1945 – the type treatment managing to look jauntily cinematic and cartoon-like, and wholly unnerving at the same time."


Old cover of the book

courtesy: History Today