Reading David Hajdu’s take for the NYRB on “comics for grown-ups”, the Babu’s attention was snagged by the first paragraph alone. “Comic books, the rock ‘n’ roll of literature, have always been a rigorously disreputable form of junk art for adolescents of body or mind. Hyper-energetic, crude, sexually regressive, and politically simplistic, comics—like rock (and, in recent years, hip-hop)— give fluent voice to their audience’s basest and most cynical impulses. These are their virtues, arguably, as outlets for emotional release and as social counteragents.” Replace “comic books” with “science fiction” and you have the standard argument levied against that genre too.

“Not only is it illegal, not only is it pirated, it’s a really bad translation.” Job Notice: Translators willing to render Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix into Spanish as she should be spoke, please apply to the Chilean book piracy industry forthwith.

We’re not the only ones having trouble with the school curriculum. In Russia, it’s no go for Dr Zhivago.

Decades ago, Gertrude Stein proclaimed: “A rose is a rose is a rose.” (That line is fun to type, incidentally–try it sometime.) Now we have Zadie Smith: “People are people are people, and the sooner the London novel gets to grips with that and stops writing the Indian-English novel or the Black-English novel, just to let the novel be itself.”

“I have known John Slater all my life. Perhaps you remember the public brawl with Dylan Thomas, or even have a copy of his famous book of “dirty” poems. If it’s an American edition you’ll discover, on the inside flap, a photograph of the handsome, fair-haired author in cricket whites. Dewsong was published in 1930. Slater was 20 at the time, very nearly a prodigy.” The first chapter from Peter Carey’s My Life as a Fake.

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