Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Jean Genet (1910-1986)

August 10, 2016

Jean Genet (19 December, 1910-15 April, 1986) was a French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and political activist.

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Early in his life he was a vagabond and petty criminal, but he later took to writing.

Throughout his five early novels, Genet works to subvert the traditional set of moral values of his assumed readership. He celebrates a beauty in evil, emphasizes his singularity, raises violent criminals to icons, and enjoys the specificity of gay gesture and coding and the depiction of scenes of brutality and betrayal.

NOVELS:

By 1949, Genet had completed five novels, three plays, and numerous poems, many of them considered controversial for their explicit and often deliberately provocative portrayal of homosexuality and criminality.

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Our Lady of the Flowers (Notre Dame des Fleurs, 1943) is a journey through the prison underworld, featuring a fictionalized alter-ego by the name of Divine, usually referred to in the feminine, at the center of a circle of queens with colourful sobriquets such as Mimosa I, Mimosa II, First Communion and the Queen of Rumania.

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The Miracle of the Rose (Miracle de la rose, 1946) is a fictionalized autobiography which describes Genet’s time in Mettray Penal Colony.

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The Thief’s Journal (Journal du voleur, 1949) is also a fictionalized autobiography and it describes Genet’s experiences as a vagabond and prostitute, as he wanders across Europe.

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Querelle of Brest (Querelle de Brest, 1947) is the story of a murder set in the midst of the port town of Brest, where sailors treat life with brutal carelessness.

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Funeral Rites (Pompes funèbres, 1949) is a story of love and betrayal across political divides, inspired by the death of the narrator’s lover, Jean Decarnin, who was killed by the Germans during the Second World War.

PLAYS:

Jean Genet’s plays present highly stylized depictions of ritualistic struggles between outcasts of various kinds and their oppressors. Social identities are parodied and shown to involve complex layering through manipulation of the dramatic fiction and its inherent potential for theatricality and role-play.

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In The Maids (1947), the eponymous maids imitate one another and their mistress.

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In Deathwatch (Haute Surveillance, 1947), three prisoners are locked up in the same cell. One is to be guillotined. Confinement traps each of them in solitude and immense unhappiness, which lends them a certain dignity.

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Splendid’s (1948) is a full-length drama, and

Her (Elle, 1955) is a one-act play.

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In The Balcony (1957), the clients of a brothel simulate roles of political power before, in a dramatic reversal, actually becoming those figures, all surrounded by mirrors that both reflect and conceal.

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In The Blacks (1959), Genet offers a critical dramatization of what Aimé Césaire called negritude, presenting a violent assertion of Black identity and anti-white virulence framed in terms of mask-wearing and roles adopted and discarded.

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The Screens (1961), Genet’s most overtly political play, is an epic account of the Algerian War of Independence.

NON-FICTION:

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Genet wrote an essay on the work of the Swiss sculptor and artist Alberto Giacometti entitled The Studio of Alberto Giacometti (L’Atelier d’Alberto Giacometti, 1957).

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It was highly praised by Giacometti himself and by Pablo Picasso. Genet wrote in an informal style, incorporating excerpts of conversations between himself and Giacometti.

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Prisoner of Love (Un Captif Amoureux, 1986) is a memoir of Genet’s encounters with Palestinian fighters and Black Panthers. In 1970, he had spent two years in the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. Visiting Beirut in September 1982, Genet found himself in the midst of the Israeli invasion of the city. He was one of the first foreigners to enter Shatila refugee camp after the massacre of hundreds of its inhabitants.

POETRY:

Genet also wrote several poems.

  • “The Man Condemned to Death” (“Le Condamné à Mort”) (written in 1942, first published in 1945)
  • “Funeral March” (“Marche Funebre”) (1945)
  • “The Galley” (“La Galere”) (1945)
  • “A Song of Love” (“Un Chant d’Amour”) (1946)
  • “The Fisherman of the Suquet” (“Le Pecheur du Suquet”) (1948)
  • “The Parade” (“La Parade”) (1948)

These poems have been translated into English by Jeremy Reed and George Messo and published as Jean Genet: The Complete Poems.

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Jean Genet developed throat cancer and was found dead on 15 April 1986, in a hotel room in Paris. He is buried in the Spanish Cemetery in Larache, Morocco.

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ca. 1980-1997, Larache, Morocco --- Jean Genet's Grave on the Coast --- Image by © K.M. Westermann/CORBIS

Jean Genet’s books are available at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jean-Genet/e/B000APBLYE

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

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No Echoes by R J Dent

August 4, 2016

Villa Anamaria is an ornate Art Nouveau-style villa in Pefkos, on the Greek island of Rhodes. It is at the end of a beach road overlooking Askeftos Bay. The villa used to belong to Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour, who sold it to an Italian couple several years ago.

 

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Villa Anamaria 1990

 

On Pefkos maps, Villa Anamaria is still referred to as the ‘Pink Floyd Villa’.

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It has been on the market for nearly five years, and is currently valued at 1.1 million Euros. So far, no one has offered to buy it, and Villa Anamaria is gradually beginning to look like an unloved, derelict building.

 

No Echoes

 

Once, Villa Anamaria, an ornate house

above a rocky, remote Rhodian bay,

was neat, discrete, resplendent in hot sun,

with turquoise wrought-iron gates and walled garden,

olive tree-lined stone drive and marbled paths

that led to subtly-arranged glades of shade,

past Grecian urns, manicured lawns, statues.

 

Now, just a millionaire’s discarded toy,

empty, abandoned, unwanted, disowned,

no echoes of the distant past resound

or sound in rooms now empty but for dust.

Silence, shutters askew, sun-faded walls,

cracked paving, overgrown groves, creeping weeds,

an empty swimming pool, lawns gone to seed.

 

 

Villa Anamarie 2016

Villa Anamaria 2016

 

No Echoes

by R J Dent

 

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

 

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

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facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

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The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe by Nigel Humphreys

July 3, 2016

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A review by R J Dent

The Love Song of Daphnis and Chloe

by Nigel Humphreys

Edited by Catherine Edmunds

Published by Circaidy Gregory Press

ISBN: 9781906451882

 

 

Daphnis and Chloe (Greek: Δάφνις καὶ Χλόη, Daphnis kai Chloē) is the only known work of the 2nd century AD Greek novelist, Longus.

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The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe began when Nigel Humphreys read George Thornley’s 1670 English translation of Longus’ Greek novel, Daphnis and Chloe, written on Lesbos.

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Nigel Humphreys became obsessed with the task of re-interpreting Longus’ pastoral romantic novel into an epic modern poem that would appeal to twenty-first century readers and retain the beauty, charm, romance and humour of the original.

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First and foremost, The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe is the story of a boy (Daphnis) and a girl (Chloe), each of whom is exposed at birth along with some identifying tokens. A goatherd named Lamon discovers Daphnis, and a shepherd called Dryas finds Chloe.

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Each decides to raise the child he finds as his own. Daphnis and Chloe grow up together, herding the flocks for their foster parents.

And so it was preordained –

decreed by divine intercession –

that they raise them as their own.

And having shared their dreams…

they introduced their children

to their work as herdsmen…

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Inevitably, Daphnis and Chloe fall in love, but being naïve, do not understand what is happening to them.

Yet among them Daphnis

was unable to settle since

he had seen Chloe naked,

honeyed, tender, scented

and more lovely than Venus

in all her sensuousness.

Philetas, a wise old cowherd, explains to them what love is and tells them that the only cure is kissing. They do this.

All they saw was that kisses

had endangered Daphnis

and day-dreaming Chloe

in that mazy month of May.

Eventually, Lycaenion, a woman from the city, educates Daphnis in the skills of love-making.

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And so Lycenia…

finding him primed and greedy,

slipped slickly beneath him

and shepherded his limbs

to where they longed to be.

What followed came naturally…

Throughout the book, Chloe is courted by suitors, two of whom (Dorcon and Lampis) attempt with varying degrees of success to abduct her. She is also carried off by raiders from a nearby city:

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Yet Chloe was with her herd

and fled from the invaders

to the Nymphs’ Cave begging

them to spare her and her kin

in the name of the Goddesses.

And she is only saved by the intervention of the god Pan.

Oh, you most cruel dissolute

of mortals! … restore

Chloe to the Nymphs with all

her flocks. Awake therefore

and send the maiden ashore

with her sheep and goats,

and I will steer her home,

and guide her to her lands.

The story concludes with both Daphnis and Chloe being recognized by their birth parents, after which, the couple get married and happily live out their lives in the country. On their wedding night:

… the stars,

moon and planets hurrahed.

The married pair were squired

to their room in rush light

by pipes and flutes, and Daphnis

lay with Chloe skin against skin.

Cuddling tightly and kissing,

entwining and twisting…

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Nigel Humphreys’ The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe is a beautifully written modern epic version of an Ancient Greek classic. Humphreys has taken Longus’ prose and given us a delightful poem of incredible warmth, wit and wisdom.

 From the back cover:

Bucolic shenanigans on the Island of Lesbos

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Poet Nigel Humphreys has done something unique and surprising with the ancient text of Daphnis & Chloe, taking a rambling 2nd century prose narrative and transforming it into an epic poem in the oral tradition of Ancient Greece.

Daphnis & Chloe is complemented in this edition by five new Daffyd ap Gwylim translations, which Humphreys has returned to the original cywydd form in order to recapture the colour and humour of the 14th century Welsh troubadour poet.

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THE LOVE SONG OF DAPHNIS & CHLOE

by Nigel Humphreys

Edited by Catherine Edmunds

Published by Circaidy Gregory Press.

ISBN: 9781906451882

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Follow Nigel Humphries:

Website:

http://nigelhumphreyspoet.webs.com/daphnis-and-chloe-2015

Circaidy Gregory Press:

http://www.circaidygregory.co.uk/nigel_humphreys.htm

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Song-Daphnis-Chloe-Dafydd/dp/1906451885

 

Skiathos

August 8, 2015

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Skiathos is a small Greek island in the northwest Aegean Sea.

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Skiathos is the westernmost island in the Northern Sporades group.

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It is located east of the Pelion peninsula in Magnesia on the mainland, and west of the island of Skopelos.

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The modern major road on Skiathos runs along the eastern and southern coast.

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Narrower roads, some paved and some dirt, reach the interior and the northwest coastline.

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There is regular, and during tourist season, very frequent bus transit from the main town to the Koukounaries beach in the southwest. There are three bus routes on the island.

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The core route is from the main town to Koukounaries beach which travels along the south coast of the island. There are in total 26 bus stops, with Koukounaries Beach being the last stop, number 26.

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This route operates a fleet of five coaches as frequently as five times an hour during the summer peak season throughout the day, but is significantly reduced during the winter.

 

 

Skiathos

Copyright © R J Dent (2015)

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

website: http://www.rjdent.com/

blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/RJDent

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On Translating Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal into English – by R J Dent

January 10, 2015

flowers of evil - r j dent - baudelaire

One of the frustrations, the challenges, the problems – and probably the joys – of translating Baudelaire’s poetry is choosing the correct idiom to translate into.

Taking the words, sentences, phrases, lines, from the language of one country and translating them into the corresponding or equivalent language of another country is the type of work that can be done by almost anyone.

However, choosing the absolutely perfect cultural, social, geographical, spatial, historical, temporal and linguistic framework to put the translated words onto is another matter entirely, and will very much depend on the translator’s intentions and the receptive vocabulary of the proposed readership.

And when it’s poetry that is being translated, the task becomes even more complicated; the problems suddenly multiply. Read more…

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R J Dent says: ‘I found translating Charles Baudelaire’s influential poetry collection Les Fleurs du Mal from French into modern English to be a rewarding, but challenging experience. This essay outlines some of the challenges and joys of the translation process.’

 R J Dent’s English translation of The Flowers of Evil is available at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Evil-Artificial-Paradise-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

flowers of evil - r j dent - baudelaire

 

On Translating Baudelaire

Copyright © R J Dent (2007 & 2016)

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

 

website: http://www.rjdent.com/

amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

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Dungeness

April 10, 2014

by R J Dent

 

Dungeness is a headland on the coast of Kent, England, formed largely of a shingle beach in the form of a cuspate foreland. It shelters a large area of low-lying land, Romney Marsh. Dungeness is also the name of the power station and a few buildings near the beach, and of an important ecological site at the same location. The name Dungeness derives from Old Norse nes: ‘headland’, with the first part connected with the nearby Denge Marsh.

 

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Dungeness is one of the largest expanses of shingle in Europe, and is classified as Britain‘s only desert by the Met Office. It is of international conservation importance for its geomorphology, plant and invertebrate communities and birdlife. This is recognised and protected mostly through its conservation designations as a National Nature Reserve (NNR), a Special Protection Area (SPA), a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and part of the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) of Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay.

 

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There is a remarkable variety of wildlife living at Dungeness, with over 600 different types of plant: a third of all those found in Britain. It is one of the best places in Britain to find insects such as moths, bees and beetles, and spiders; many of these are very rare, some found nowhere else in Britain.

 

One of the most remarkable features of the site is an area known as ‘the patch’ or, by anglers, as ‘the boil’. The waste hot water and sewage from the Dungeness nuclear power stations are pumped into the sea through two outfall pipes, enriching the biological productivity of the sea bed and attracting seabirds from miles around.

 

 

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There have been five lighthouses at Dungeness. From the mid-19th century, the lighthouse was painted black with a white band to make it more visible in daylight; similar colours have featured on the subsequent lighthouses. This lighthouse was demolished in 1904, but the lighthouse keepers’ accommodation, built in a circle around the base of the tower, still exists.

 

 

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The building of the fourth lighthouse, the High Light Tower, started in 1901. It was first lit on 31 March 1904 and still stands today. It is no longer in use as a lighthouse but is open as a visitor attraction. It is a circular brick structure, 41 m (135 feet) high and 11 m (36 feet) in diameter at ground level. It has 169 steps, and gives visitors a good view of the shingle beach.

 

 

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As the sea receded further, and after building the nuclear power station which obscured the light of the 1904 lighthouse, a fifth lighthouse, Dungeness Lighthouse was built.

 

 

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There are two nuclear power stations at Dungeness, the first built in 1965 and the second in 1983. They are within a wildlife sanctuary deemed a Site of Special Scientific Interest and despite high safety risks posed by the station, birds do flourish in the warmer water created by the station’s outflow.The older power station closed on 31 December 2006, while the newer station has had its licence extended to 2018.

 

 

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In addition to the power station and lighthouse, there is a scattered collection of dwellings. Some of the homes, small wooden houses in the main, many built around old railway coaches, are owned and occupied by fishermen, whose boats lie on the beach; some are occupied by people trying to escape the pressured outside world.

 

 

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The shack-like properties have a high value on the property market. Perhaps the most famous house is Prospect Cottage, formerly owned by the late artist and film director Derek Jarman.

 

 

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Prospect Cottage is painted black, with yellow window and door frames. There is a poem, part of John Donne’s ‘The Sunne Rising’, written on one outside wall in black lettering.

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But the garden is the main attraction: reflecting the bleak, windswept landscape of the peninsula, Derek Jarman’s garden is made of pebbles, driftwood, scrap metal and a few hardy plants.

 

 

A Dungeness house known as Garden Cottage is featured on the cover of Pink Floyd’s album A Collection of Great Dance Songs.

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Dungeness now appears quite often in music videos, album covers and adverts. The shingle beach and fishermen’s shacks feature extensively in the Lighthouse Family promotional video for their 1998 song ‘High’. The acoustic mirror at Dungeness is featured on the cover of the album Ether Song by the British indie band Turin Brakes.

 

Dungeness appears on the covers of albums as diverse as So Much for the City by The Thrills and Aled by Aled Jones. The Prodigy’s single ‘Invaders Must Die’ video was filmed in Dungeness, and shows both the acoustic mirrors and the lighthouse. The BBC filmed episodes of Doctor Who in Dungeness during the 1970s.

 

The 1981 fantasy film Time Bandits shot its ‘Time of Legends’ sequence on the beach, and Dungeness was used to film a scene in Danny Boyle’s Trance. Much of the Michael Winterbottom’s 1998 film I Want You was set in and around Dungeness: the lead character’s home was one of the wooden beach dwellings.

 

 

 

 

Dungeness

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

All photos by R J Dent

Photos Copyright © R J Dent (2014)  

 

www.rjdent.com

 

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Bookbuster – a great bookshop in Hastings

November 5, 2013

Bookbuster is a wonderful book shop in Hastings that is open 7 days a week.

 

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The proprietor of Bookbuster is Tim Barton, a St. Leonards-based cultural entrepreneur with many years experience in the book trade.

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Tim has opened his cheekily-named bookshop, Bookbuster, in premises formerly occupied by a gone-bust Blockbuster DVD rental store.

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Tim believes in bookshops and what bookshops offer customers: “I don’t think you can beat a physical bookstore, where you are free to browse,” he says.

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Bookbuster is generating a lot of interest among book-lovers. Tim says: “The fact that there has been so much interest so far is fantastic.”

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Although the shelves offer many new titles, the shop has an extensive and eclectic range of books that seem to appeal to all ages and interests.

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With new stock arriving daily, a calendar full of author signings, readings, poetry slams and other literary events, and an ambient soundtrack playing to ensure customers linger longer, Bookbuster is proving to be a valuable business that gives a great deal to the Hastings reading community.

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There is also a significant second-hand book section that – along with a selection with some well-chosen perennial titles – offers collectors the chance to obtain copies of rare editions and signed delights from Iain Sinclair, the late Iain Banks and Tom Sharpe, amongst others.

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BookBuster is an independent bookshop in Queen’s Road, Hastings. There is a huge range of stock. Bookbuster is full of literary treasures and, because of Tim Barton’s depth of knowledge regarding authors and books of every type and genre, the shop is something of a cultural oasis. It is very good news for Hastings and for book-lovers and bibliophiles.

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BookBuster is at 39 Queen’s Road, Hastings. Opening hours: 9.30am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday; 11-5 Sundays.

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There are author readings, author signings, lectures, poetry readings and live music at BookBuster throughout the year.

 

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BookBuster

39 Queen’s Road

Hastings

TN34 1RL

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BookBuster facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/BlueGreenEarthBooks

 

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

In R J Dent’s Library – Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron

October 11, 2013

A look in R J Dent’s library at a 14th Century Italian literary masterpiece – Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron:

In R J Dent’s Library – Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron

Text (c) R J Dent (2013)

Film (c) R J Dent (2013)

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Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil translated by R J Dent

October 7, 2013

 

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Baudelaire’s seminal classic, The Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du Mal) is now available in R J Dent’s modern English translation:

 

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R J Dent discusses his translation of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil:

 

 

R J Dent reads ‘I give you these verses…’ from his translation of Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil:

 

 

A promotional book trailer for R J Dent’s modern English translation of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil:

 

 

 

R J Dent’s translation of The Flowers of Evil is available from the University of Chicago Press:

http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/F/bo10734555.html

and from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Evil-Artificial-Paradise-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=la_B0034Q3RD4_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381152776&sr=1-2

 

 

http://www.rjdent.com

 

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Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments translated by R J Dent

October 7, 2013

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R J Dent’s English translation of the ancient Greek Poems & Fragments of Alcaeus is now available in paperback and e-book formats.

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R J Dent discusses the inspiration behind his translation of Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments:

R J Dent reads ‘The North Wind’ from Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments:

R J Dent reads ‘To be weighed down…’ from Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments:

A promotional book trailer for Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments, translated into modern English by R J Dent:

Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments is available from Circaidy Gregory Press:

http://www.circaidygregory.co.uk/alcaeus.htm

and from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alcaeus-Fragments-R-J-Dent/dp/1906451532/ref=la_B0034Q3RD4_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381150009&sr=1-3

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