I can’t recall when I heard that phrase, ‘citing chapter and verse’, whenever someone referred to a line of scripture. It definitely was when I was young, at least as old as my early days of attending religious school at the reform Jewish synagogue I went to in Massapequa in Long Island.
It is the basic key phrase to scholarship and honest recounting of a quotation. The cornerstone of facts and what is true.
If you are discussing the phrase ‘An eye for an eye’, for example then you would say Exodus 21: 24. Then anyone interested in what you are talking about could check it out.
It is obviously, at least to me, useless to say “The phrase ‘an eye for an eye’ is in the Bible.” That doesn’t tell me if you meant the Hebrew Scriptures, in Christian circles this is the so-called ‘Old Testament’, or the New Testament. Either way you are talking about somewhere in around 1000 to 2000 pages! How in heavens name is anyone going to find out the context of what you are talking about without the minimum of a citation, ie. Chapter and verse.
Another useless thing to do is to write something like: ‘A rose by any other name will smell as sweet, Shakespeare.” The man has written millions of words in hundreds of plays and sonnets, how on earth is anyone going to know what you mean, or if you quoted the phrase correctly if all you give is the author’s name?
A quotation without a proper citation is merely something that is supposedly attributed to some author, and it may or may not be true or accurate.
For some bizarre and foolish reason it has been the habit for American publishers, authors, and websites to have this anti-scholarship, anti-education, reverse snobbery. As if it taints you if you at all admit that you can think and read a book. It annoys me no end to see books or any kind, fiction or nonfiction, or websites that just give a quotation without any proper citation. As if the author and or editor is afraid of looking intelligent or implying that the reader is illiterate and embarrassed that they can’t read and can’t look something up in a book!
The whole reason we have Trumpisms and his fake news is because intelligent people are afraid to look intelligent and literate by refusing to present proper citations. Without proper citations as to the source of your facts then they can never be checked. Which is exactly what con men want to have happen!
So stop promoting ignorance and illiteracy!
Stop being afraid of scholars, scholarship, and education.
Put a citation for your quotations!
Be proud of your literacy and your education!
Otherwise all you have is a bunch of useless words on a page.
A great website to help promote literacy and clear thinking: quoteinvestigator.com/
In 1994, we were greeted with something new and different.
Laurie R. King introduced to the world the life and times of Mary Russell.
I imagine it began with a ‘What if’ thought in the mind of Ms. King, when she was contemplating sticking her literary toe into the waters of Holmesian fiction. She clearly wanted to do something new and untried. Hence my ‘what if’. “What if, Holmes did retire, and what if he encountered during this time of a retirement someone who could become his protégé and apprentice?” Interesting. But there is more. “What if that person was younger than Holmes?” Interesting. “What if that person was much younger?” More intriguing. “What if that person was 3 times as young as Holmes at that first meeting?” Very daring! “What if that person was a young woman?”
(I believe her what if was more like: ‘What if Sherlock Holmes was a Victorian Woman….’)
But, would it work?
In the hands of Ms. King it did and it does. Thus, we were given a look in 1994 at Mary Russell who was to become ‘The Bee Keepers Apprentice’, in the first novel concerning the life and times of Russell and Holmes.
For some this may sound like heresy.
For some this may read like heresy.
But I have been following Ms. King’s chronicles of Ms. Russell and they are to me…canonical.
Ms. King has Russell being born on January 2, 1900, probably to make it easy to determine her age. Ms. King then audaciously moves the established age and birth of Holmes from the ‘canonical’, via the scholarship of William Stuart Baring-Gould who had placed Holmes birth in January 6, 1854, from that year to the year 1861. Claiming that Watson and Doyle both agreed that an older Holmes would appeal and be more acceptable to the readers of the published fictionalized accounts of Holmes’s life.
This would make Russell 15 and Holmes 54.
Ms. King clearly adores her Ms. Russell and lovingly and skillfully brings her to life on the pages of the chronicles of Ms. Russell’s life as presented by Ms. King. In the hands of someone with less skill and talents, this could have been a disaster.
Ms. King manages to pull it off and the books just keep on getting better and better.
You should care of about Ms. Russell if you care about Holmes.
Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex announcing the new English translation
1) H. M. Parshley’s edition and translation of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, 1953, Knopf, a division of Random House.
2) ‘While We Wait: The English Translation of The Second Sex’ by Toril Moi, Signs, v. 27 #4, (Summer 2002). Pp 1005-1035
3) Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, the 2009 translators of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex with an introduction by Judith Thurman, 2010, Vintage Books a division of Random House.
4) ‘The Adulteress Wife: a review’ by Toril Moi, London Review of Books, v. 32 #3, February 11, 2010
5) ‘The Grand Rectification: a review’ by Meryl Altman, The Women’s Review of Books, v. 27 # 5 (September/October 2010) pp 3-6
6) ‘Review’, by Dorothy Z. Baker, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, v. 31 #1/2, (Spring/Fall 2012), pp 248-250
7) ‘The Impact of the New Translation of The Second Sex: Rediscovering Beauvoir’ by Christine Daigle, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, v. 27 #3, (2013) pp 336-347
When I was married for the first time in my twenties I had bought a copy of Beauvoir’s book for my wife. She had read many other feminist texts but had never read this one. I knew of Beauvoir as being the companion and founder of the Existential philosophic movement with Sartre. I had not read anything by her, but only some essays and plays of his.
Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I borrowed the book from my wife and started to read it.
It was huge. An encyclopedic work on the topic of the nature and status of the human being that is female. It seemed odd to me. I had expected some more direct references to the philosophic concepts of Existentialism and didn’t really find that. In the introduction and opening chapter there was some philosophic material but overall it was just bereft of philosophy. I was puzzled.
Now after reading about this new translation it all makes sense.
H. M. Parshley who did the first English translation was a retired professor of zoology and not a philosopher nor was he familiar with French literature in general, and not familiar with Sartre or anything else of Beauvoir. It shows. Alfred Knopf the publisher I read in the introduction to the new edition was asking Parshley to ‘condense the text, noting, without undue masculine gallantry, that Beauvoir “certainly suffers from verbal diarrhea,”’ [pg xiii, of the 2010 Vintage book edition] according to Knopf. Parshley mistranslated the whole work by inadvertently removing the technical terms specific to Existentialism by treating them as ordinary words and translating them out of the philosophic terms that Beauvoir used and intended. Hence Parshley’s text was not an accurate translation of Beauvoir’s book – more a paraphrase of the text. As much as 15% of the original text was removed by Parshley.
Thus I was emotionally correct in my reading the prior edition of the book. It was not a philosophic work – all the philosophy and deep thought was stripped out of the prose that Parshley rendered.
Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier the front pages describes them as ‘They are both graduates of Rutgers University and were faculty members of Institut d’Etudes Politiques of France. They have been translating books and articles on social science, art, and feminist literature for many years and have jointly authored numerous books in English and in French on subjects ranging from grammar to politics…’
They were given the commission by Random House to create the new English Translation. They are not academics and do not have their mindset as they were not expected to, nor could they, render an annotated and academic edition of this important philosophic text as was done for Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophic texts.
Toril Moi’s review of the new translation rightly complains long and loudly about this mistreatment of Beauvoir’s important work. Moi s notes many issues with the new translation, as she did with Parshley’s. Though Moi does appreciate the fact that the new version does finally give us a complete and unabridged version of Beauvoir’s work. Moi is not satisfied with the new version and wishes for a proper academic text. ‘Whenever I try to read Borde and Malovany-Chevallier’s translation like an ordinary reader, without constantly checking against the French, I feel as if I were reading underwater. Beauvoir’s French is lucid, powerful and elegantly phrased. Even in Parshley’s translation young women would devour The Second Sex, reading it night and day. It’s hard to imagine anyone doing that with this version.’ This is how Moi ends her review.
Daigle ends her review this way: ‘Am I saying that the shape and form in which we receive her [Beauvoir’s] work do not matter? No. They do matter, I am not preaching for inaccuracy or careless translation work. But what I find most important is for the work to exist in such a shape and form that it can appeal to us. The Parshley translation allowed for some appeal to the reader. The new translation, as flawed as it is, has reinvigorated the appeal by putting the work on the map again, so to speak. It provides the English-speaking reader with a complete edition of the work for the first time. That is really important. It corrects mistakes that have hidden the philosophical and phenomenological import of the work. That is also very important. The new translation, even though it may not be the one we were hoping for, is an improvement over Parhley’s. ..People are paying attention again to what Beauvoir had to offer and are beginning to respond to it anew. The appeal is operating again. For this we must be thankful for the new translation of The Second Sex…As scholars, we need to criticize the new translation and point to its flaws. As scholars, we need to continue to push for a scholarly annotated edition of the work in French and then in English. But, as philosopher, we must carry on and think with and beyond Beauvoir. The world is there in need of changing. Beauvoir is appealing to us to see that and commit to act. We need to respond and not let ourselves be bogged down by what the Nouvel observateur has coined a venomous debate about the translation, as this would only serve to murder Beauvoir and annihilate her appeal.’ (pp 344-45)
I, and some others in the same issue of the London Review of Books, as well as the other academic reviews cited above, all disagree with Moi. I have begun to read the translation and find if fluid, accessible, thought provoking and highly readable. For the first time I feel I am hearing Beauvoir the existential philosopher. Though I agree that the text The Second Sex deserves to be treated as an academic and philosophic masterwork, thus fully annotated, I am not holding my breath. The editorial board of Random House, consciously or unconsciously, I believe will never let this happen. They are not interested in academic tradition and are not interested in seeing that this text be treated as it deserves.
‘The first English edition of The Second Sex was published in 1953. Blanche Knopf, the wife of Alfred Knopf, Beauvoir’s American publisher, had heard of the book on a scouting trip to Paris. Thinking that this sensational literary property was a highbrow sex manual, she had asked an academic who knew about the birds and bees, H. M. Parshley, a retired professor of zoology at Smith College, for a reader’s report. His enthusiasm for the work (“intelligent, learned, and well-balanced …not feminist in any doctrinaire sense”) won his the commission to translate it.‘ (p xiii, 2010 edition) The editorial board of Random House still have no respect for this ‘highbrow sex manual’, nor of its author, that they acquired. The fate of The Second Sex is ironic and a testament to all that Beauvoir was trying to tell us: Women, and the work of a woman, is still being treated as property.
I became a James Bond fan when I first saw Dr. No when it came to our local theater back in May of 1963. I was nine years old and hooked! (That was 56 years ago as of 2019)
Of course, the Bond that I was imprinted with was Sean Connery and he is the touchstone of my image of Bond.
As we all know the conceit behind the film franchise is that though the actors may change they are always playing the ‘same person’. This goes for James Bond, M, Moneypenny, Felix Leiter, etc.
However with the release of Casino Royale in 2006 the franchise took a new turn. They decided to Retcon  the whole ‘history’ of James Bond and being it all anew with Daniel Craig and the year 2006. Each of the following films was built upon the premise that this actor is the ‘birth’ of James Bond as a license to kill 00 agent.
Throughout the Craig films MI6 is constantly under scrutiny by the British Government, especially the parliament, and the 00 agents in particularly are threaten with being shut down. Each movie shows the triumph and the continually need for the 00 agents and MI6 due to the activities of Bond, Q , Moneypenny and M.
We and the franchise are now at a cross roads. Craig is due to retire as the current actor playing Bond. All the effort that has gone in to portraying a ‘realistic’ history for the characters is about to be challenged by the insertion of a new actor into the role of Bond. The usual and obvious move for the Franchise is to simply continue the way it has and keep up the pretense that the fact that new actors play the character we are to pretend that this is still the same man, Bond.
I want to speculate on something radically new and different. Something a bit heretical.
It would violate the conceit that the movie franchise is following the books of Ian Fleming. This is of course a true leap of faith and a true fiction. But, hey, who can truly say that the Roger Moore era of Bond films was an accurate portrayal of the Fleming stories that had those titles?
Why not embrace the fact that the movies are based on and inspired by Fleming’s books but they are not to be confused with an attempt to bring the books to the screen.
My radical new tact would be the following, now remember what I am about to suggest is not how the movie franchise has been run. It is not a re-reading of what had gone before; it is creating a new Retcon of the whole franchise.
MY NEW RETCON
My idea would be that M explains to Bond, portrayed by the actor Daniel Craig, the following:
M explains that to keep MI6 going they needed to make a deal with the Parliament and the Government. The deal is that MI6 will be able to keep one and only one active field agent with a 00 license to kill designation. All other agents will be downgraded and no longer have the 00 license to kill. M further explains that Bond is getting old and needs to be retired from activity duty. The job calls for a younger man to be in the field. Bond will be taken off active duty and given a new code name and identity. He will henceforth be called ‘Daniel Craig’ and a new identity will be given to him. He will be put in charge of the training and running of the new 00 agent. The sole 00 agent of the agency. The deal is that henceforth there will only be one active agent, he will be 007 with the code name of ‘James Bond’.
At this time it is revealed that since 1960 the agency has had a long series of 007 agents who have been in the field and have retired. These are now known as Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, and Brosnan. [In doing this with this new Retcon, all the prior movies become part of the current timeline and history of 007.]
Now, this Retcon means that Bond will always be an agent/actor who is in their late 20’s and active till his mid 40’s. The agent/actor is always replaceable. Each agent/actor is a variation on the theme. Each has their own personal history and bio before taking on the identity of ‘James Bond 007’. Each new movie story can make use of this baggage to add depth and newness to the portrayal of the agent.
Also this means that there is real danger and real threats to the agent 007. He can be killed. He can be critically injured. The agent can be replaced with a new person taking up the identity of 007.
This gives us and the franchise a chance to redo the plot line of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, going into the plot line of You Only Live Twice and flowing into the beginning of The Man with the Golden Gun. Bond can confront a Blofeld who has never seen his face. This new agent Bond can fall in love, marry and have his wife killed by Blofeld. Then the events of You Only Live Twice can play out with this Bond sent on that suicide mission to kill Blofeld and seek revenge. This Bond can be captured and brainwash to return to try an assassinate M. Now, either they stop the attempt by capturing Bond or they kill that agent in the act, either is a possibility since the agent/actor is always replaceable.
I doubt that the movie franchise will take this tact. But I wish it would. It would bring a whole new depth and level of ‘reality’ to the ongoing films.
Long live James Bond 007!
 The Origin of the idea and word: RETCON
The first published use of the phrase "retroactive continuity" is found in theologian E. Frank Tupper's 1973 book The Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg: "Pannenberg's conception of retroactive continuity ultimately means that history flows fundamentally from the future into the past, that the future is not basically a product of the past."
The first known printed use of "retroactive continuity" referring to the altering of history within a fictional work is in All-Star Squadron #18 (February 1983) from DC Comics. The series was set on DC's Earth-Two, an alternate universe in which Golden Age comic characters age in real time. All-Star Squadron was set during World War II on Earth-Two; as it was in the past of an alternate universe, all its events had repercussions on the contemporary continuity of the DC multiverse. Each issue changed the history of the fictional world in which it was set. In the letters column, a reader remarked that the comic "must make you [the creators] feel at times as if you're painting yourself into a corner", and, "Your matching of Golden Age comics history with new plotlines has been an artistic (and I hope financial!) success." Writer Roy Thomas responded, "we like to think that an enthusiastic ALL-STAR booster at one of Adam Malin's Creation Conventions in San Diego came up with the best name for it a few months back: 'Retroactive Continuity'. Has kind of a ring to it, don't you think?" The term then took firm root in the consciousness of fans of American superhero comics.
At some point, "retroactive continuity" was shortened to "retcon", reportedly by Damian Cugley in 1988 on Usenet. Hard evidence of Cugley's abbreviation has yet to surface, though in a Usenet posting on August 18, 1990, Cugley posted a reply in which he identified himself as "the originator of the word retcon". Cugley used the neologism to describe a development in the comic book Saga of the Swamp Thing, which reinterprets the events of the title character's origin by revealing facts that previously were not part of the narrative and were not intended by earlier writers. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retroactive_continuity ]
Gary Jaron's musings.
In my High School Art Department someone had made an ornate sign on hung it on the wall that read: 'Ignore this sign completely.' A paradox couched in sarcasm and irony. This blog is for random musings on anything and everything that comes into my head.