I've never believed that people can transition between races the same way we can transition between genders, but I haven't been able to express why. I did some reading today and now I think I understand. Though both are socially constructed, the process of construction is different in each case. You fall into racial categories … Continue reading

Thoughts on Fathers and Sons, Chapters I-XI

Turgenev's Fathers and Sons involves the following characters: Nikolai Petrovich, barin (literally master) of the estate Marino; Paul Petrovich, his bachelor brother, a retired soldier; Arkady, Nikolai's son, a recent graduate; Bazarov, his friend and fellow graduate; and Thenichka, Nikolai's young wife (about the same age as the graduates), to whom he's been married just … Continue reading Thoughts on Fathers and Sons, Chapters I-XI

Introducing Turgenev (and Russia before the Bolsheviks)

I started reading Fathers and Sons today. It's a novel by Ivan Turgenev, published in 1862. The introduction reminded me that I must learn more about nineteenth century Russia, or pre-Bolshevik Russia more generally. It said that they abandoned serfdom in that century and that Turgenev, though associated primarily with the left, had some sort … Continue reading Introducing Turgenev (and Russia before the Bolsheviks)

Learning Languages through Poetry: Giuseppe Ungaretti

So here we are again with another exploration of translation. This time I'll be working with two languages, Italian and French. I first heard of Giuseppe Ungaretti in Strasbourg, France. I took a class in modernist poetry and studied him along with Charles Baudelaire and Paul Eluard. I say I studied him, but I never … Continue reading Learning Languages through Poetry: Giuseppe Ungaretti

The Price of Growth: Childhood and Maturity in Highsmith’s Carol

Today's book is Carol, the second novel by Patricia Highsmith. It was published in 1952 as The Price of Salt by a small press in New York. Harper's published her first novel, the classic thriller Strangers on a Train. They declined to publish The Price of Salt because of its lesbian content. To protect her … Continue reading The Price of Growth: Childhood and Maturity in Highsmith’s Carol

Adventures in the Romance Languages: Reading Dante

Photograph by Pixabay For some reason, several years ago, I got myself a copy of The Divine Comedy in Italian. I like translating stuff, so I wanted to start with what was, to me, a brand new language. I recently got further than the first page and I'd like to talk about that today. So … Continue reading Adventures in the Romance Languages: Reading Dante