Literary quiz show

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John F
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Literary quiz show

Post by John F » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:35 pm

It's "The Write Stuff" on BBC Radio 4.

This week the featured author is Gerard Manley Hopkins, and in addition to answering quiz questions, each contestant is to make a pastiche or parody in Hopkins's style on a mundane subject - "The Dishwasher," "Peeling a Potato," "Housecleaning," "Washing the Car." The audience is impressively quick on the uptake.
John Francis

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Re: Literary quiz show

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:47 pm

My goodness, what a hysterical show (by which I mean frantically paced with a touch of manic dementia, although it has its funny moments). Even their own audience didn't get the bit about the common theme being records and therefore so-and-so must have died at the age of 78. My feeling about the descriptions from the posthumous novels is that the spirits of the authors can be grateful that they departed before their work became known. Give me the old programs "My Word" and "My Music" any day.

I am grateful for learning that the Brits pronounce Gerard with the accent on the first syllable. I knew this about Bernard, and now my knowledge is complete. :)

I was introduced to Hopkins by my high school English teacher when he recommended him for a term paper involving a writer outside of what we read together as a class. He recommended this because at the time I was a ridiculously devout Catholic whom he liked to call Father John. The West Point Library happened to have as complete a set of Hopkins as existed at the time, so I read a lot of and about him. In fact, I was able to answer several of the obscure questions (Hopkins was 5'2" tall, he was converted by John Henry Newman, his last words were "I am so happy.") A while back John F and I had a back-and-forth on the poem God's Grandeur, and I happily concede to John that his favorable reading is the superior one. Still, to know more about Hopkins than about many greater poets.... What can I say? I was never able after many attempts to figure out sprung rhythm (represented by accent marks in the following). You just read the poem the way it should be read and why that needs a special theory I have no idea.

In honor of the season:

Spring & Fall: to a young child

Margaret [must be pronounced in three syllables--JB], are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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