Tuesday, March 02, 2010
  Nice but nubbly!
I love reading stories aloud, and our kids are a bit beyond that now (just a bit, all being thoroughly adult), so I enjoy Librivox as a hobby. As well as the William book Barbara and I are (slowly) reading together: More William by Richmal Crompton I have started a version of the Just So Stories. LV already has more than one, but since I had made my readings of the book available online before LV started I felt it was not unfair to do a LV version now.

If you'd like to see what it sounds like the first story: How the Whale Got His Throat is available in draft form (please report any problems or errors).

Appeal for help: there is a thirteenth Just So Story, added to the US edition in 1903 (which was absent from the 1902 UK edition, and most subsequent editions) called "The Tabu Tale" if anyone can source a copy (published before 1926) that I can use I coulld read all thirteen. (There is also a fourteenth but it is in copyright and does not have the wordplays that make the "real" ones fun.

PS: The heading is a quote, it is how the 'Stute fish describes humans, I think the fish was spot on, we are (usuallly) nice, but (often) nubbly!

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Sunday, November 15, 2009
  PG Wodehouse novel in Librivox audio
Wodehouse in 1904 (aged 23) from Wikipedia
Along with all the marking and paper preparation getting ready for leaving for SBL I have finished my latest Livrivox project. An early PG Wodehouse novel, Uneasy Money, pure escapism!

Uneasy Money is a romantic comedy by P.G. Wodehouse, published during the First World War, it offers light escapism. More romantic but only a little less humorous that his mature works, it tells of the vicissitudes of poor Lord Dawlish, who inherits five million dollars, but becomes a serially disappointed groom.

When the story opens Bill (Lord Dawlish, a thoroughly pleasant man) is engaged to a demanding actress. His first thought when hearing of his massive legacy from a stranger whose tendency to slice he once cured on a West Country golf course is of the disappointed relatives. His trip to the USA attempting to give back the windfall results in complication after complication, including firearms and burglaries as well as the usual human misunderstandings that accompany any human life.

Uneasy Money was first published as a serial in the Saturday Evening Post in the USA from December 1915, and in the UK in Strand Magazine starting December 1916. It first appeared in book form on March 17, 1916 by D. Appleton & Co., New York, and later in the UK (on October 4, 1917) by Methuen & Co., London.

A silent, black-and-white film version was made in 1918.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009
  Hard Times for Bible Readers
Julia M. O'Brien has another thoughful and provoking post, on Reading Novels, Reading the Bible. In it she notices a phenomenon that has long interested me. Extremists about the Bible, both fundamentalists and minimalists (with apologies to Jim W who does not fit this label in this context), make the same mistake, both reduce the Bible to information.1 In doing so they are thoroughly modern.

Modernity worships factuality. It reduces life to facts. Mystery and wonder are relegated to "entertainment". Moderns know "the price of everything and the value of nothing" (as Oscar Wilde2 said).

No wonder, then if the Bible is important it must be full of facts, or if it must be dethroned then it must be full of errors! This is the student's approach to the Bible, examine, test and discuss it's facticity. How different the reader! Julia quotes James Joyce3:
[in reading novels,]  we walk through ourselves meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love.  But always meeting ourselves. 
Readers of the Bible "walk through themselves" and in doing so not only meet themselves, but also meet God. What we need is more readers and less students of the Bible. For all students meet is information. But there's the paradox, our profession produces Bible students smilies/sad.gif

Dare we, dare I, adapt the way we teach so that we may be less good at developing biblical scholars, but better at producing Bible readers?

This post is an expansion of a comment I left on Julia's blog.

1. In "Le texte biblique et le contexte africain" Revue Zaïroise Théologie Protestante II, 1988, 11-17, I argued that "conservative and "liberal" approaches to the Bible "la trahissent au nom de l'histoire" [betray the Bible in the name of history].
2. Wilde, Oscar, and Joseph Bristow. The picture of Dorian Gray. Oxford University Press, 2006, 42.  (Bristow notes that Wilde adapted this pithy saying in Lady Windemere's Fan two years later, so he was perhaps as fond of it as later generations have been ;)
3. James Joyce, Ulysses. The Modern Library Edition.  New York:  Random House, 1934, p. 210

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