God’s Chosen People?

The other day, reading a history of Spain by Juan Eslava Galán, I came across the following paragraph:

Spain had become the defender of the honour of God. Theologians and thinkers (not so many of these latter) became convinced that Spain and God were united in a pact. God promoted Spain to the rank of the chosen people, protected her and granted her riches and power (the Americas) in exchange for which Spain acted as his armed arm on Earth, champion of the true faith against the error of the Protestants and the Turks.

España se había erigido en defensora del honor de Dios. Teólogos y pensadores (de estos hubo menos) llegaron al convencimiento de que España y Dios estaban unidos por un pacto. Dios la había promocionado al rango de pueblo elegido, la protegía y le otorgaba riquezas y poder (las Américas) a cambio de que ella ejerciese como su brazo armado en la Tierra, paladín de la fe verdadera contra el error de protestantes y turcos.

This notion of the pact with God and the chosen people put me strongly in mind of the Hun-Hungarian legends which I read as a child.

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Nine Quirky Facts (Nueve hechos raros)

Nine Quirky Facts I Read Last Year

Books are not merely a source of entertainment but also of knowledge… (today’s cliché). How many of the following nine facts do you know?

Nueve hechos raros que leí el año pasado

Los libros no son sencillamente una fuente de entretenimiento, pero también lo de conocimiento… (cliché de hoy). ¿Cuáles de los nueve hechos siguientes ya sabes?

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Last Year’s Best Reads? (Or Self-hosted vs Hosted)

In the past week I’ve been engaged in looking at my statistics… And since the blog moved from being self-hosted to wordpress.com during the year, I had to collate the statistics manually, a task during which I found myself evaluating the pros and cons of…

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“Le bien publique” (The Public Good)

Thought for today, courtesy of Tolstoy:

As long as the world has existed and people have been killing each other, no one man has ever committed a crime upon his own kind without calming himself with this same thought. This thought was le bien publique, the supposed good of other people.

This is Tolstoy’s comment in War and Peace after the governor of Moscow, Rastopchin, offered up a political prisoner to the mob as a scapegoat for his own failures.

“In the interest of the public good.” We all heard this before. History brings countless examples, most of them horrific beyond belief.

Because who decides what’s in the interest of public good? And how far are we willing to go in the name of this public good?

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It’s Not Like Anybody’s Going to Read It

I’m only an accidental blogger: when I started, I didn’t even know that blog was short for web log or what a blog is actually for.

It all started during the summer holidays in 2015 when I had nothing better to do. Exactly one year ago today, in fact. Fed up with the way my family pulled faces at the dinner table whenever I tried to share my clever thoughts about books with them, I typed my latest earth-shattering insight into my husband’s website editor instead…

Pride and Prejudice… manages to be witty about something utterly mundane. Jane Austen is all about character observation and style. The plot is not important.

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How to Fail as a Blogger (In Five Easy Steps)

The other day I carelessly volunteered for  a guest post on Bloggers’ World and feeling that I ought to write something that might actually interests people there instead of boring them with my pet obsessions (such as Herodotus or the continuing Brexit wars), I hit upon the subject of blogging advice: How To Be A Successful Blogger. Between you and me (don’t whisper it outside these walls), I’m not qualified to give such advice; nevertheless, after a year of blogging I’m not entirely without expertise…

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I Read Therefore I Write

Herodotus wrote because he wanted to record the events of the recent past so that great deeds would not be forgotten. The Spanish conquistador, Bernal Díaz del Castillo wrote because he was annoyed by what somebody else wrote about men he knew and fought with. García Lorca wrote because poetry bubbled up and out of him, like water from a fountain on some sun-drenched Plaza Mayor… and Hemingway, you suspect, wrote at least in part because through writing he could live the lives of men whose manliness, courage or sheer bloody-mindedness he admired.

P. G. Wodehouse wrote because it was better than working in a bank. (I’m all with him on that one.)

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Taking Myself Seriously

I decided to take myself seriously as a blogger from now on. (Well, somebody has to.) So I signed up for a basic photography course with the so-called Blogging University – those of you who live your lives on WordPress.com you know what I’m talking about, the rest of you, don’t waste your time looking it up.

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The Pale Green Loeb Volume

Loeb Classics in Foyle's - Greek is green, Latin is red - just like it used to be
Loeb Classics in Foyle’s – Greek is green, Latin is red – just like it used to be

Recently – as you might have noticed – I read the introduction to Ulysses Found by Ernle Bradford. (This sort of thing happens when you update your Amazon wish list for Christmas.) Now I’m not into the OdysseyI’m one of these people who prefer the Iliad. But I’m going to read Ulysses Found (just a subtle hint for family members in case they come passing this way), and maybe, who knows, it might lead onto greater things, like reading the Odyssey in full after all these years. Who knows, I might even end up liking it!

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Blogger Recognition Award

I’d like to thank Vibrant of blabberwockying! for nominating me for this award: I sure don’t know what I’ve done to deserve it but I take any praise that comes my way willingly and with thanks… Cheers, mate.

bloggerrecognitionaward

This is an award that originated with Eve of Edge of Night. In accordance with the rules, here’s my story… followed by my advice to new bloggers and the nominees for the next round.

“It’s Not Like Anybody’s Going to Read It”: How My Blog Started

It started during the summer holidays when I had nothing better to do. I typed my latest earth-shatteringly clever insight into my husband’s website editor because I got fed up with the way my family pulled faces at the dinner table whenever I tried to share my clever thoughts about books with them. At this point, I didn’t actually know what a blog was other than it’s people putting stuff on the internet for reasons best known to themselves… A day or so later I had another brilliant idea and I made another entry. At this point my husband inquired in passing as to what exactly I thought I was doing on his computer with his software… “I’ve started a blog,” I replied grandly and he went away.

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The Lonely Reader’s Lament

I started book blogging because a really important (well, to me) idea would hit me during Sunday dinner and I would try to share it with the family… only to get this look of: “you’re not telling us something about Sophocles again!… surely?” Yes, I’m afraid I am. My family doesn’t share my more obscure tastes, such as Herodotus or Spanish literature… or Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche… or poetry… or Antoine de Saint-Exupéry… or… all right, they just don’t generally share my taste in reading. Full stop.

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