Cervantes, Nigel Farage, Twitterbots, Stradivarius, Yiddish Names

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Shakespeare And Cervantes

Salman Rushdie | New Statesman | 8th April 2016

Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date in 1616, though not on the same day; Spain used the Gregorian calendar, England the Julian. The one had probably never heard of the other. But independently they made the same discovery. A work of literature does not have to be comic, or tragic, or romantic, or political, or historical. If properly conceived it can be many things at the same time (1,160 words)

Lunch With Nigel Farage

Henry Mance | Financial Times | 8th April 2016

Liquid pre-Brexit lunch in the City of London with the leader of the UK Independence Party. Entertaining throughout. Straight questions, straight answers, plenty to drink: Six pints of beer, a bottle of claret, and half a bottle of port. “The Lamb serves food but Farage has other plans. We walk down Cornhill to Simpson’s Tavern. I survey the clientele, and conclude that there’s unlikely to be a queue for the women’s toilets” (2,700 words)

Strategies Of Bot Poetics

Harry Giles | 6th April 2016

Twitterbots “are the most important development in contemporary poetry”. They are conceptual poets, obeying instructions, but with constantly surprising results; bot poetry moves through conceptualism and back into meaning. “Because a computer can perform the concept with ease, the concept is now less interesting than what it can specifically express.” Bots are “unruly personalities and disobedient poets” (4,100 words)

The Greatest Violin

Quincey Whitney | Literary Hub | 8th April 2016

As the only undisputed Stradivarius violin in pristine condition, the Messiah sits behind glass in an Oxford museum. It has never been a performing musician’s instrument, so we don’t know how it sounds, which ought to be the test of its value. Instead it is valued for its authenticity — a situation not without irony, since its two 19C owners were themselves notorious violin forgers. What if the Oxford Messiah were their masterpiece? (3,500 words)

Place Names In Yiddish

Ben Sadock et al | In Geveb | 20th March 2016

Scholars discuss the politics of place names. “Take Lviv, Lvov, Lwów, Lemberg, Lemberik. Why accept the current political situation and retroject a Ukrainian identity? But why Russify a city that was never in Russia? Or Polonize a city that was only in Poland for a few decades? Why pick a German name exotic to the point of being opaque, or pick a Yiddish name that few people know and that is not on any accessible maps?” (1,800 words)

Video of the day: The Old New World

What to expect:

American cities of the 1930s brought to life from photographs (3’48”)

Thought for the day

Success generally depends on knowing how long it will take to succeed

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