Saturday, June 01, 2013

Gliding Over the World of Literature – Issue 5

Spoils of War

Greetings everyone, and welcome back to the fifth issue of Gliding Over the World of Literature. To be frank, I am kind of surprising myself at this point with how easy it is to find interesting news from the world of books; it seems there is always something worthwhile happening.

For instance, on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of York of the War of 1812, the Sackets Harbor Group came from their little village to present the Toronto Library with books that were stolen centuries ago by American military forces. The books originated from the XVIII to the XIX century, with one of them being “The Works of Dr. Jonathan Swift” by the dean of St. Patrick’s, Dublin.
Sackets Harbor group returns books stolen from Toronto library

"SACKETS HARBOR — A village delegation went to Toronto last weekend to present a set of vintage books representing a collection taken by American military forces during the War of 1812’s Battle of York.

The 200th anniversary of the battle, which took place April 27, 1813, was marked in the city throughout the weekend. The village representatives presented the books at a ceremony at the Toronto Reference Library on Sunday.

Constance B. Barone, Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site manager, said the plan to return the books was the result of six years of planning.

“It’s really pleasant to see it get enacted and everything went well,” she said.
The books presented during the ceremony were “The Works of Dr. Jonathan Swift,” dean of St. Patrick’s, Dublin, from 1754; the Pope’s “Poetical Works,” from 1752, and James Fordyce’s “Sermons to Young Women,” from 1803.

Read full article: Watertown Daily Times - Sackets Harbor group returns books stolen from Toronto library

Stealing or Borrowing?

Known around the world as the author of The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling is without a doubt one of the most celebrated writers of both the 19th and 20th centuries. Countless adaptions were made of his stories, ranging from stage plays all the way to silver screen blockbusters.

He is pretty much the last author you would expect to plagiarize from other people’s efforts, but as a recently-discovered letter from the author himself shows it, he had to “steal” from a number of different writers and stories to complete The Jungle Book.
Kipling Admitted Plagiarizing 'Promiscuously'

"A short letter from the (amply mustachioed, possibly imperialist) English author Rudyard Kipling is up for auction. Addressed to an unknown woman, the letter says, referring to a portion of The Jungle Book, that "a little of it is bodily taken from (Southern) Esquimaux rules for the division of spoils. In fact, it is extremely possible that I have helped myself promiscuously but at present cannot remember from whose stories I have stolen.""

Read full article: NPR - Kipling Admitted Plagiarizing 'Promiscuously'

English poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling poses in 1925.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Though some may believe that the versions of the religious books we have today are the most absolute ones, it can be hard to remember that after all, they were written by humans using scrolls, many of which have been lost to time and decay.

In other words, we may never be able to complete the major holy books at our disposal, at least in terms of recreating the original version. Nevertheless, the search goes on, and recently an Italian expert discovered the oldest complete Torah Scroll of the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses), and the most amazing part is that all this time, the scroll was right under his nose.
Expert discovers ancient Torah scroll in plain sight

"An Italian expert in Hebrew manuscripts said Wednesday he had discovered the oldest known complete Torah scroll, a sheepskin document dating from 1155-1225. It was right under his nose, in the University of Bologna library, where it had been mistakenly catalogued a century ago as dating from the 17th century.

The find isn't the oldest Torah text in the world: the Leningrad and the Aleppo bibles - both of them Hebrew codexes, or books - pre-date the Bologna scroll by more than 200 years. But this is the oldest Torah scroll of the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses, according to Mauro Perani, a professor of Hebrew in the University of Bologna's cultural heritage department.

Such scrolls - this one is 40 yards long and 64 centimeters 25 inches high - are brought out in synagogues on the Sabbath and holidays, and portions are read aloud in public.

Read full article: CBS News - Expert discovers ancient Torah scroll in plain sight

In this undated photo provided by Alma mater Studiorum Universita' di Bologna, a document that an Italian expert says to be the oldest known complete Torah scroll. AP PHOTO/ALMA MATER STUDIORUM UNIVERSITA' DI BOLOGNA

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