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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Presque vu XXXIV

The term, functional shift, refers to the way one part of speech is made to serve another; often a verb shifting or altering its nature to become a noun. The line in King Lear for example, where Edgar compares himself to the king: “He childed as I fathered”, sees nouns shifting to verbs. There are many other examples, and Shakespeare also makes much use of shifting adjectives to nouns and vice versa.
In The Shakespeared Brain, Philip Davis describes experiments carried out at the University of Liverpool which seek evidence for his thesis that powerful writing can literally change the ways in which we think.


Jean Hannah Edelstein at Guardian Unlimited rants about Do Ants Have Arseholes? This is the title of Amazon’s current best-seller and one of the projected all-time-greatest-Christmas-hits. Sorry if you want the link. Please don’t give me one of these for Christmas, or any other concept book. I’ve already got serious doubts about Christmas. Something that parades itself as a festival of peace and good will to hide its aggressive, wasteful and essentially cynical commercial nature; what is that? There must be a word for it.


Kirsten Reach in The Kenyon Review reports on a seminar with Margaret Atwood.

Atwood believes some beautiful books become terrible movies because “intrinsic language doesn’t translate onto screen very well.” She gave the example of Inside the Volcano, saying onscreen, it’s about a drunk. She gave Bladerunner as an example of writing that was improved by its conversion to film. On the subject, she also recommended “Introducing The Book.”

One Response to “Presque vu XXXIV”

  1. Er, that “Inside the Volcano” wouldn’t be based on the book “Under the Volcano”, would it?

    jb says: Sounds like it, doesn’t it, Bill. Could be the Canadian title, I suppose. Or maybe Margaret had a wee dram to get her through the seminar. But, anyway, well spotted.