mardi 10 juillet 2018

vendredi 6 juillet 2018

Défi littérature (Day 7)

Défi littérature (Day 6)

La musique adoucit les mœurs dans la presse

Chronique : Killarney 1976 de Joël MACRON (Éditions Nouvelle Bibliothèque) -- Sortie 23 juillet 2018.

Rupert Morgan : book reviews & interview :)


A Picnic on Earth de Rupert Morgan

Chronique
Quand j’ai lu cet ouvrage, j’ai immédiatement pensé à A Million Year Picnic d’Isaac Asimov et ai été interpellée par les similitudes entre ces deux textes.
Rupert Morgan nous propose en effet une version loufoque d’un autre pique-nique qui lui aussi réserve des surprises et donne à voir une vision de l’être humain assez sombre ! L’auteur, tel Asimov, dénonce nos abus et notre manque de respect pour la Terre et la nature. Une belle ode à notre environnement !
Ce roman est également hilarant à la manière des sketchs et films des Monty Python. Un humour britannique mordant ! Les personnages, tout en flegme typiquement britannique, sont farfelus mais touchants.
Ce livre est idéal pour de jeunes lecteurs francophones qui veulent se plonger en douceur dans la lecture en VO.

Review
A delight of sheer British humour. It both reminded me of Asimov’s Picnic as well as of Monty Python’s humour. This novella is an homage to Asimov in which Rupert Morgan revisits the original story while denouncing human beings’ lack of respect for other species and for our planet, as Asimov did in A Million Year Picnic. Students will love the story, the style and will be able to read in the original language almost effortlessly. What else?


The Consultant

Chronique
On retrouve dans cet ouvrage les éléments qui font le style de cet auteur : Humour britannique, satire du capitalisme et du monde du business, amour, dépaysement, … tous les ingrédients sont en place pour plaire à nos adolescents (et pas qu’à eux !)
Ce livre revisite Lord of the Flies de Golding avec brio et nous transporte sur une île paradisiaque qui ressemblera en fin de compte plus à un enfer sur terre qu’à un quelconque paradis !

Review
A jewel of British humour. One more! Rupert Morgan’s satire of business and capitalism is hilarious and his characters are absolutely likeable/treacherous, depending on whose side of capitalism they are!
This novella will provide an amazing first read in English for our students, and a perfect introduction to British humour as it revisits Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

NB: il ne s'agit pas de traductions mais de deux chroniques écrites dans chaque langue :)

Et l'interview de Rupert 


When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I think I was about nine or ten years old. We had an English teacher who used to make us write our own stories in class each week and I discovered that it was something I loved – and so was quite good at! He also used to devote a whole lesson each week simply to reading to us, which was such a pleasure compared to all our other classes. The first book he read was an early sci-fi adventure called A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the man who invented Tarzan. I was absolutely enthralled by it and knew from that moment on that I wanted to write books for a living.

What did you write first? 
My early writing was all science fiction and fantasy stories, heavily influenced by the writers I read in those days such as H.G. Wells (The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man), Robert E Howard (Conan the Barbarian), Greek myths, 1950s sci-fi movies and, of course, Marvel Comics. I have a massive collection of Marvel comics from when I was a kid in the 1970s that today’s fans would die for. I don’t know what to do with them as they take up a massive amount of space but my daughters won’t let me sell them!

Who most influenced you?
In terms of the kind of writer I grew up to become, I’d have to say the American author Kurt Vonnegut (Slaugherhouse 5, Breakfast of Champions). In the '60s and '70s, he was doing a kind of darkly comic science fiction that was totally about our own society but throwing in other elements in a really wild, anarchic way that allowed him to go off in all directions. I found his books incredibly liberating – both as a writer and in terms of how I think about the world. I tend to turn things around in my head and try to look at them from a different angle to see if maybe we’re all understanding it the wrong way. That’s Vonnegut’s influence, I think. The other two books that had a particular impact on me are Catch 22 by Joseph Heller and Vanity Fair by William Thackeray. For me, Catch 22 is the greatest book of the 20th century and I’ve never understood why it isn’t better known in France – it’s a fantastic satire of World War 2 and the craziness of the military, but the points it makes are true of all human organisations at all times. It’s a comedy, but totally serious – which is what I’ve always aimed for in my own writing. Vanity Fair is my favourite book of the 19th century with a brilliant anti-heroine, Becky Sharpe, who is selfish, manipulative and totally reprehensible, but you can’t help but be on her side because the society she lives in is so unequal and snobbish.

Did Monty Python influence your sense of humour?
Not Monty Python, but probably the most Python-ish of English writers: Douglas Adams. He wrote The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy which was, far and away, my favourite comedy as a kid. It’s become a geek classic and its influence is in tech all around us. Siri on iPhone is forever making Douglas Adams jokes.

What would you like to say to French teenagers who do not dare reading in English?
I totally understand your problem! The trouble is that it’s no fun reading if you keep getting stuck on words that you don’t know – reading should be a pleasure, not a chore! But the good news is that English and French are much closer allied than most of us realise – we have about two-thirds of English coming through French and Latin and only a third of it is Germanic or Celt. But that one-third is what makes it seem so difficult! What I’ve tried to prove with the literary collection that I edit and sometimes write for, Paper Planes, is that English authors can write good, stylish literature while staying mostly on the Latin side of our vocabulary. That’s not a constraint for us - we always have about three ways of saying things in English, so it’s never difficult to find a way of expressing yourself that will seem magically clear and simple to a French, Italian or Spanish reader. It’s just that most English writers won’t ever think about doing that because they imagine foreign readers will automatically read them in translation. Read one of the books in the collection and you’ll discover that you know about a hundred times more English words than you think you do – because they’re the same words as in French!

What would you recommend teachers to do in order to help students read more in English?
Mastering a language is all about confidence. So the most important thing is to tell them to relax and not worry if there are things they don’t understand – they should focus simply on what they DO understand. With the right texts they’ll find they are smart enough to guess most of the rest and this will give them more and more confidence the more they read. This is how we learned language as children – we understood some words and we just guessed the rest. Sometimes we got it wrong, but so what?

Who are your favourite writers? Why?
Setting aside the writers I’ve already talked about above, and focussing just on contemporary authors, I have the most respect for writers who don’t consider themselves to be more important than the reader. What I mean by that is that it’s quite easy – and very tempting - to write in an overtly ‘literary’ style where the reader is always conscious of the writer’s voice and clever use of language, but it takes real skill and humility to write in a way where you, the author, disappear behind the characters and their story. Unfortunately, because people are so easily impressed by a certain kind of artistic pretension, it’s usually the most self-indulgent books that win awards! Yet if you take a writer such as, say, William Boyd or Jonathan Frantzen, they are primarily serving their characters – and therefore the reader – while being every bit as intelligent, creative and perceptive as more flamboyant writers.

Why did you accept to join my students’ project?
Because good, inspirational teachers are the most important people in society in that they can influence many, many lives in the course of a single career and so always deserve support.

Anything you’d like to add?
You know that feeling you often have at school that you’re being taught stuff that you’re not going to need as an adult? You’re right. You won’t. And, to make things more complicated, today we have almost no idea what skills will be useful in the world of 15 or 20 years from now because everything is changing so fast. But there is one skill that will definitely, always, in every domain, give those who have it an advantage over other people: the ability to communicate well. That’s why reading and, above all, writing is incredibly useful – it teaches you how to organise your thoughts and how to express them clearly. Most people are very bad at that. It also teaches you to think better, deeper and more originally. It teaches you to know yourself and others better. And, for those who find they like it, it’s a source of great pleasure!


Thanks so much Rupert!