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Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Contrast in Literature in the News


Charles Dickens

I thought the following news reports this weekend about what's happening in the literary world were interesting.  Are they a sign of what our culture has become or simply an odd juxtaposition of contrasting news stories?

For example, one news report stated that while Charles Dickens might have written that he wanted no “monument, memorial, or testimonial whatsoever” to be erected in his name, the UK‘s first ever statue of the great author is nonetheless set to be created next year to mark the bicentenary of his birth. Do you think he'll be rolling over in his grave or slightly pleased?

Designed by sculptor Martin Jennings, known for his bronzes of John Betjeman in St Pancras and of Philip Larkin in Hull, the statue will be placed in Guildhall Square in Portsmouth, the town of Dickens’s birth.  

 Another report that I found amusing said that a group of Franciscan friars furious at the theft of bibles from their church in Florence several days ago have taken the unusual step of praying for the thief to be struck down by diarrhea. Friars at the 15th century church of San Salvatore al Monte, which was a favorite of Michelangelo, were irritated when a rare and expensive bible disappeared from the lectern, and they flew off the handle when a replacement bible donated by a worshipper also went missing and within a few hours.

And finally, the concise Oxford English Dictionary (OED) just released its newest updates, The Daily Mirror reported. They include the word made famous by Sasha Baron Cohen‘s “Borat“: Mankini, as well as jeggings (leggings that look like jeans) and sexting (sending sexual text messages).  Now would Charles Dickens being rolling over in his grave?