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Swan song


swan song
1 白鳥の臨終の歌声.
2 (詩人・作曲家などの)生涯最後の作品, 絶筆.

the last piece of work produced by an artist, a musician, etc. or the last performance by an actor, athlete, etc.

- Word Origin
early 19th cent.: suggested by German Schwanengesang, a song like that fabled to be sung by a dying swan.

Softly and clearly, while the seawind blew in on them, Anne repeated the beautiful lines of Tennyson's wonderful swan song —”Crossing the Bar.” The old captain kept time gently with his sinewy hand. 

ロバートレッドフォードが俳優引退を発表しましたが、これに合わせて公開される映画についてもswan songとなっていました。

Aug 08, 2018
By Amelia Robinson, Staff Writer

HAMILTON —  Hamilton is part of a living legend’s swan song. 

Scenes for the “Old Man and The Gun,” reportedly actor Robert Redford’s last film, were filmed in Hamilton, Cincinnati and Dayton in 2017.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Redford said he is ending his six-decade career. 

今月初め怪我をしてその日の公演が中止になりヒヤヒヤさせたイアン・マッケラン。こちらは引退を表明している訳ではないですが公演中のリア王にswan songが使われています。

Duke of York’s, London
The 79-year-old star shines brightest in play’s darkest moments, in what may be his last big Shakespearean role on stage
Arifa Akbar
Thu 26 Jul 2018 23.30 BST 

A tweet pinned to Sir Ian McKellen’s Twitter account states: “King Lear again.” It is a crisp acknowledgement of his latest tenure in a title role he has performed twice before and reprised as recently as last year. This time, it comes weighted with poignancy after his suggestion that at almost 80, this may be his last big Shakespearean role on stage.

It would make for a perfect swan song if so. There is a sense of an actor putting the finest last touches to his majestic legacy: in McKellen’s incarnation as the arrogant ruler undone by age, infirmity and filial disobedience.


Remember something I hadn’t experienced


随分前から終戦記念日のある週に、終戦記念ドラマが放映されることがほぼなくなってしまいましたね。NHKが戦争関連を取り上げてくれているのが救いでしょうか。戦争を経験している人が少なくなる中で、我々はどのように戦争を記憶していけばいいのか。少し前の記事ですがそんなことを考えるのにいいきっかけとなり得るNew Yorkerの書評をご紹介します。

Jane Yolenという児童文学作家が自身で3冊目となるホロコーストについての作品Mapping the Bonesが出版されたのに合わせて、彼女の3冊の本の内容と共に、ホロコーストのような悲劇を児童向けの本で取り上げることについて扱っています。動画は最初の作品“The Devil’s Arithmetic”です。

July 23, 2018 Issue
While Jane Yolen’s latest work has points in common with her previous Holocaust novels, it reflects the way the genre she helped to create has changed.
By Ruth Franklin

このレビューを書いている人も自身はユダヤ人でおじいさんはポーランドにいたそうで、ひいお婆さんはそこで亡くなってしまったそうです。親戚にも迫害を経験した人がいてその時にthe paradox of being charged with remembering something I hadn’t experiencedと感じたとあります。この表現から今回のタイトルを使わせてもらいました。

The enormity of the losses my relatives had suffered was palpable in the deep lines around their mouths, the tremors in their hands, the sighs they heaved every time the war years came up. Once, my great-aunt, who had Alzheimer’s disease by the time I came to know her, even grabbed my arm in search of the tattoo that she thought she would find there. But they didn’t often talk in detail about their experiences. When they did, the stories they told were confusing and full of gaps, and I’d complain at having to hear them. I was terrified of my relatives’ emotion and of the crushing responsibility it inflicted on me: the paradox of being charged with remembering something I hadn’t experienced.

子供向けの作品なのにそのような歴史の悲劇を取り上げていいのかという問題はあったそうで、Jane Yolenがホロコーストを扱った最初の作品“The Devil’s Arithmetic”を書くまで随分と時間がかかったそうです。

Why, Kimmel wondered, had no writer for children broached “the ultimate tragedy”? He concluded that it had to do with the irreconcilable tension between the subject and our assumptions about children’s literature. To write about the Holocaust realistically, in all its horror, violates the tacit promise of writing for young readers, he maintained: “not to be too violent, too accusing, too depressing.” At the same time, a story that won’t keep young readers up at night contradicts the historical reality. Kimmel continued, “To put it simply, is mass murder a subject for a children’s novel? Five years ago, we might have said no; ten years ago we certainly would have. Now, however, I think the appearance of a novel set in the center of the lowest circle is only a matter of time.”

It took eleven years. In 1988, Jane Yolen, who is best known for picture books, including a popular series depicting dinosaurs as stand-ins for toddlers (“How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?”), published “The Devil’s Arithmetic.” In it, she came up with an ingenious solution to the problem Kimmel had identified: employing a fantastical framing device that stops the atrocities of life in an extermination camp from being utterly overwhelming for her young readers. The book’s protagonist, a rebellious American preteen named Hannah, is magically whisked back to a Polish shtetl and then, along with its residents, transported to a camp. Four years later, Yolen elaborated on the formula with “Briar Rose,” which plays with the tropes of children’s literature by using “Sleeping Beauty” as a template for a survivor’s story. Her new book, “Mapping the Bones” (Philomel), alludes to “Hansel and Gretel” as it follows two siblings from the Lodz ghetto through a period among a group of partisans and, finally, to a death camp.


At a convention for librarians soon after its publication, “The Devil’s Arithmetic” was attacked by an editor at a children’s-book journal who asked why readers should waste time on Yolen’s fiction when true chronicles, like Anne Frank’s diary, were available. To resort to fantasy, he said, trivialized the Holocaust. The science-fiction writer Orson Scott Card struck back in the magazine Fantasy and Science Fiction. Yolen’s book, he wrote, might actually be more powerful for its audience than the diary, not only because Frank’s account ends “where the true horror begins” but also because Yolen’s protagonist is a typical American preteen. “The Devil’s Arithmetic” allows readers to imagine themselves in Hannah/Chaya’s place, Card wrote, in “the most terrible part of the most terrible crime mankind is capable of.”

次の部分でもレビュー者の心情the paradox of being charged with remembering something I hadn’t experiencedが出ています。ここではhow to be an adequate witness to something I haven’t myself experiencedとなっています。

I was fourteen when “The Devil’s Arithmetic” was published. Although it won numerous awards, no teacher or librarian ever gave it to me. I wish someone had, because the book speaks in a profound way to the painful paradox I felt then and still feel now: how to be an adequate witness to something I haven’t myself experienced. The only way to do that is through magic, which is precisely the consolation Yolen gives Hannah. The once-sullen preteen ends the book not only appreciating her relatives and their stories but for the first time truly understanding them.

彼女の作品の成功によって似たような作品が出てきたようですが、アイルランド人作家の“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”という作品に対しては手厳しく批判しています。事実に基づいていないことも書いてあり、しかもユダヤ人ではなくドイツ人の方を主人公にしているというのです。Yolenがリサーチに時間をかけ、想像を絶する体験を表現するための仕掛けとしてファンタジーを導入しているのと対照的だと言います。

Boyne, who is not Jewish, has said that he spent only a few days writing the book. He has defended his approach by saying that the writer’s obligation is to the “emotional truth” and that it’s “presumptuous to assume that from today’s perspective one can truly understand the horrors of the concentration camps.” This seems disingenuous. Whether or not it’s possible to understand another person’s horrific experience, writers and readers of fiction operate under the assumption that such an understanding is worth trying to achieve. Holocaust novels—for adults as well as for young readers—tend to include extensive afterwords detailing the stories on which they are based and the ways, if any, in which they deviate from their sources. Such research alone isn’t sufficient to make a novel effective, but at least it assures the reader that the novel has a basis in reality. Worryingly, Boyne’s book is now often included in Holocaust-studies curricula at schools, and many teachers say that young readers who first learn about the Holocaust by reading it form a drastically ahistorical impression of what took place.

The comparison with Yolen is telling. Not only are her Holocaust books extensively researched, and their departures from historical fact scrupulously noted, but her fantasy framing devices also reflect a kind of imaginative humility about the difficulty of “truly understanding”—something to which Boyne pays only lip service. A book that involves time travel deliberately relinquishes the possibility of being taken as historical fact.

我々日本人の場合は被害者だけではなく、何よりも加害者という立場もあるので、どのように語るのか、は一層難しいものになるかもしれません。とはいってもレビュー者の言うhow to be an adequate witness to something I haven’t myself experiencedという問いかけはより切実な問題として受け止めないといけないのでしょう。





Trinidad-born author won both acclaim and disdain for his caustic portrayals, in novels and non-fiction, of the legacy of colonialism
Richard Lea
Sat 11 Aug 2018

Mail on Sunday editor and friend Geordie Greig told BBC Radio 4 that he was at Naipaul’s bedside when he died. “Nadira talked about a poem by Lord Tennyson, Crossing the Bar, which had great resonance and meaning to him and I just turned on my phone and found it and we read it.”

He added: “He drifted off and it was peaceful and very sad but what a life, what an achievement, what a legacy.”

英文学に詳しい方だったら"Crossing the Bar"という題名を聞いただけでどんな内容か想像でき死期が迫った作家が共感するものだとわかるのでしょうね。

"Crossing the Bar" is an 1889 poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It is considered that Tennyson wrote it in elegy; the poem has a tone of finality and the narrator uses an extended metaphor to compare death with crossing the "sandbar" between river of life, with its outgoing "flood", and the ocean that lies beyond [death], the "boundless deep", to which we return.


Crossing the Bar
Alfred Tennyson

Sunset and evening star
   And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
   When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
   Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
   Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
   And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
   When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
   The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
   When I have crossed the bar.


The poem contains four stanzas that generally alternate between long and short lines. Tennyson employs a traditional ABAB rhyme scheme. Scholars have noted that the form of the poem follows the content: the wavelike quality of the long-then-short lines parallels the narrative thread of the poem.





Nevertheless, Naipaul’s particular point of view on the travails of colonialism and post-colonialism – both in his novels and in travel books such as Among the Believers (1981) – earned him severe criticism. The Palestinian intellectual Edward Said found his picture of Islam unforgivably ignorant and cliched, and accused him of absorbing and repeating pernicious and misleading colonialist mythologies. As a man, Naipaul’s sheer naked honesty about his own unpleasant, sometimes violent behaviour was bracing, and threatened at times to overwhelm his purely literary reputation. He told his biographer, Patrick French, for example, about how he had beaten his lover, Margaret Gooding, so badly around the face that she was unable to appear in public. He did not seek to hide the endless humiliation he visited upon his first wife, Patricia Hale. Lesser sins included being magisterially hypocritical about fellow authors, revering Anthony Powell, for example, to his face while deprecating him in private; and an overwhelming arrogance about his own gifts that, while justified, was not exactly attractive.


Naipaul’s legacy will never be entirely straightforward – which does not mean he should not be read, enjoyed, debated and critiqued. Salman Rushdie’s brief tribute to Naipaul indicates the complexities: “We disagreed all our lives, about politics, about literature, and I feel as sad as if I just lost a beloved older brother,” he wrote on Twitter. In an era that yearns to render life in black and white, the complications of VS Naipaul are a reminder that it is more wisely seen in shades of grey.

それに斎藤 兆史さんもお勧めの現代作家の3人のうちの一人にナイポールを選んでいるんですよね。

斎藤 兆史

私自身が現代日本の英語学習者 - とくに教養ある英語を身につけたいと願う上級の学習者 - に勧めることにしている現代の作家・作品を紹介しておきます。


L’État, c’est moi



"Just remember: what you’re seeing and what you're reading is not what’s happening."というトランプ発言なんかも念頭にあるのかも知れませんが、The Truth, C’est Moiというタイトル。

48 hours in the Trump campaign against independent information.
By David Leonhardt Opinion Columnist Aug. 2, 2018

This is one of those weeks when President Trump’s campaign to discredit any independent source of information has been especially chilling.

It’s a classic tactic of autocrats. While he has not succeeded to anywhere near the degree that true autocrats in other countries have, his continuing attempts at disinformation are still deeply alarming.

He has persuaded large numbers of Americans to believe almost anything that he or his allies say, regardless of how disconnected from reality it is. 

C’est Moi(It's me)のような簡単なフランス語ならそのまま使われるのでしょう。気づくのが遅すぎでしたが、ふと「朕は国家なり」 のバリエーションだと分かりました(汗)


The reign of France’s Louis XIV (1638-1718), known as the Sun King, lasted for 72 years, longer than that of any other known European sovereign. In that time, he transformed the monarchy, ushered in a golden age of art and literature, presided over a dazzling royal court at Versailles, annexed key territories and established his country as the dominant European power. During the final decades of Louis XIV’s rule, France was weakened by several lengthy wars that drained its resources and the mass exodus of its Protestant population following the king’s revocation of the Edict of Nantes.

ここでは“L’État, c’est moi” (“I am the State”)とフランス語も一緒に書いてくれています。

After Mazarin’s death in 1661, Louis XIV broke with tradition and astonished his court by declaring that he would rule without a chief minister. He viewed himself as the direct representative of God, endowed with a divine right to wield the absolute power of the monarchy. To illustrate his status, he chose the sun as his emblem and cultivated the image of an omniscient and infallible “Roi-Soleil” (“Sun King”) around whom the entire realm orbited. While some historians question the attribution, Louis is often remembered for the bold and infamous statement “L’État, c’est moi” (“I am the State”).


Pursue of French Absolute Monarchy
After Mazarin died, loui XIV's began to rule France. he declared the theory of divine right of kings(王権神授説).He also invited the sovereign right and absolute power of the ruler of the universe. It is often said that he declared "The state, it's me.(朕は国家なり)". Thus his state is called absolute monarchy (absolutism(絶対主義)), but it does not mean the king had absolute power. He took definite mercantile policy by establishing bureaucracy and a full-time army and named Colbert(コルベール) as the treasury secretary, then challenged against Netherlands' hegemony of commerce. Louis XIV, called the "Sun King(太陽王)", built the gorgeous Versaille Pallace(ヴェルサイユ宮殿) to demonstrate his power and enjoyed a splendid palace life. Other countries followed suit, and French was used as the diplomatic language. Thus France became a center of European court culture.


L’État, c’est moiがバンドの曲名になるくらいなので短いフレーズならフランス語でもいいのでしょう。


Did You Know?
At the Palace of Versailles, aristocrats were expected to compete for the privilege of watching Louis XIV wake up, eat meals and prepare for bed.


こういう知識は後回しにしていいのですが、L’État, c’est moiというのが広く知られていると思われているから言葉遊びをする訳です。英語学習の次のステップとして意識してもいい分野ですね。



ビックショートやマネーボールなどで有名なマイケル・ルイス。これまでVaniti Fairで記事を書いてきましたが、今後はAudibleで発表するとか。第一弾が先月末出ていました。

By Thu-Huong HaJuly 31, 2018
A battle is quietly being waged over the United States’ weather data—and its ability to predict its future.

In his first exclusively audio story, Michael Lewis dives into the wonk-filled world of weather forecasting: the researchers who collect and study the data; the citizens who benefit from, or actively ignore, forecasts; and the powers that threaten the entire flow of information. His conclusion: The US’s publicly funded weather forecasting agency, the national weather service, and the data it collects, are under threat from a pro-business, anti-open-data administration.


Lewis emphasizes the importance of this little-publicized agency: “[NOAA] had collected all the climate and weather data going back to the recordings made at Monticello by Thomas Jefferson. Without that data, and the weather service that made sense of it, no plane would fly, no bridge would be built, and no war would be fought—at least not well,” he says. The weather service’s data is free to the public,  and proprietary models used by private weather companies, including Accuweather, are powered by its raw data.

“By the 1990s, Barry Myers was arguing with a straight face that the national weather service should be, with one exception, entirely forbidden from delivering any weather-related knowledge to any American who might otherwise wind up a paying customer of Accuweather,” says Lewis. “The exception was when human life and property was at stake.”


By Alexandra Alter
June 2, 2018

When Michael Lewis had an idea for his next book, a contemporary political narrative, he decided he would test it out first as a 10,000-word magazine article, as he often does before committing to a yearslong project.

But this time he made a surprising pivot. Instead of publishing the story in Vanity Fair, where he has been a contributing writer for nearly a decade, he sold it to Audible, the audiobook publisher and retailer.

“You’re not going to be able to read it, you’re only going to be able to listen to it,” Mr. Lewis said. “I’ve become Audible’s first magazine writer.”


Mr. Lewis is part of a growing group of A-list authors bypassing print and releasing audiobook originals, hoping to take advantage of the exploding audiobook market. It’s the latest sign that audiobooks are no longer an appendage of print, but a creative medium in their own right. But the rise of stand-alone audio has also made some traditional publishers nervous, as Audible strikes deals directly with writers, including best-selling authors like the historian Robert Caro and the novelist Jeffery Deaver.

After years of stagnation in the industry, audiobooks have become a rare bright spot for publishers. While e-book sales have fallen and print has remained anemic, publishers’ revenue for downloaded audio has nearly tripled in the last five years, industry data from the Association of American Publishers shows. This has set off a new turf war over audio rights, pitting Audible, owned by Amazon, against traditional publishers, who are increasingly insisting on producing their own audiobooks, wary of ceding more territory and revenue to the online retailer. The battle over who will dominate the industry’s fastest growing format is reshaping the publishing landscape, much as e-books did a decade ago, driving up advances for audio rights and leading some authors to sign straight-to-audio deals.


By Alexandra Alter
July 26, 2018