Honoré de Balzac: A writer for all seasons

Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) is recognized as one of the great French novelists. Gustave Flaubert, Marcel Proust, and Henry James all acknowledged their debt to this prodigious observer of social manners and critic of human behaviour. Continue reading Honoré de Balzac: A writer for all seasons

Advertisements

More on the quirkiness of English spelling

It is a paradox that English has become a global language while being so difficult to learn. English is widely studied as a second language as well as being the official language of several countries and world organizations. It is now the third most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. Continue reading More on the quirkiness of English spelling

When is a young man really a young woman?

The world of classical music is no exception when it comes to a good mystery. “Cherchez la femme,” said Alexandre Dumas, in his novel Les Mohicans de Paris (1854), words taken to heart in the search to reveal the identity of Mozart’s “jeunehomme”. Continue reading When is a young man really a young woman?

“Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink”

Samuel Coleridge Taylor may yet be right. World Water Day takes place March 22 and this year its theme is “Water and Urbanization”. International attention will be focused on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization, and the uncertainties caused by climate change. Meanwhile, for the global water companies it’s “business as usual”. Continue reading “Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink”

The Crumpet Wars: Are you for Marmite or Bovril?

In this extraordinary world of ours there are Marmitians and Bovrillians and never the twain shall meet – unless on the field of battle. Marmite is that brownish, glutinous stuff that comes in black jars with yellow lids. Bovril, on the other hand, is an ebony, viscous relish (scrumptious on hot buttered crumpets) that comes in black jars with red lids. Continue reading The Crumpet Wars: Are you for Marmite or Bovril?