Lit Links (In Which I Prove That Shivaji Was Shakespeare)

1. More Shakespeare biographies: Shakespeare wins the prize for the most biographized person about whose life almost nothing is known. (The only person who comes close is Shivaji; indeed, what if Chhatrapati Shivaji were Shakespeare? It might explain why no one has ever really agreed on how to spell Shakespeare's name. And it might also explain how we got from Shakespeare (Chhatrapati) to Thackeray (Balasaheb)!

Yes, yes, I know the dates are all wrong, but consider the pictures closely:

There's a resemblance, is there not?

2. Great post at Locana about Amartya Sen's The Argumentative Indian. Anand takes issue with Ramachandra Guha's review of the book, which he says distorts some elements of Sen's argument, and miss the point. At issue, as always, is the purchase of the past over the present. Who determines history? To what extent do events in the distant past determine social relations in the present?

It's too simple to simply promote presentism, and dangerous (especially in India) to give the past too much weight.

3. Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber linked to an interview with Orhan Pamuk in Der Spiegel over the weekend. It's a great interview. Both there and in the discussion at Crooked Timber, I get the sense that Pamuk is trying to show is that Turkey has undergone a sea-change over the past ten years. It is more open, more tolerant, and less Kemal-ist while still being secular.

Then why is Pamuk facing a trial for saying that "Armenians were killed"?

Another piece on Pamuk in The Guardian.

4. Pirates in the Indian Ocean. I know that lives are being lost and this is a very serious criminal problem, but somehow I always find it a little bit exciting that there are still pirates.

5. Ms. World meets Mumbai.After months of planning, our web-buddy Ms. World has finally landed in India. She's looking for people to have coffee with in Indian metros.

6. The Communist Party in Bengal. I hadn't browsed Delhi Belly in awhile. This time I was happy to see the text of an article Jason Overdorf published in Newsweek International, on the divide within the Communist Party-Marxist in Bengal. Apparently they are not against globalization across the board; in Bengal, for instance, the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has been quite successful in wooing foreign investors.

So they are pro-foreign investment when it's in Bengal, but against it at a national level. Oy.

7. RIP Shirley Horn. We won't forget you.

8. Coup de whaaa?. Connaissances has an interesting post on the French word "coup," which often refers to sudden or unexpected events:

Here are a few examples of the 'coup' phrases where the word 'coup' usually denotes events that happen suddenly or briskly.

Coup d'état: overthrow of a government by a small group, often being part of the same power structure. Distinct from a revolutionary overthrow of the government. Lots of examples on Wikipedia here.

Coup de gueule: Letting off steam (literally a 'blow of the gob').

Coup de main: in French this phrase means 'a helping hand'. In English, however, according to Wikipedia the phrase has the more negative significance of 'a sudden and swift attack'. How the former transformed into the latter is difficult to comprehend. (avoir le coup de main: to have the knack)

Coup de grâce: means a 'blow of mercy', or a death-blow. It refers to the mercy killing which ends the suffering of a mortally wounded creature. It can also refer to an act that brings about drastic change. There's an amusing little comment on Wikipedia concerning the mispronunciation of this phrase by English-speaking people here.

Coup de boost: what you do to increase the traffic on your blog...

Ah yes, the Coup de boost.

Incidentally Taupe is looking for more variations on "Coup de ...." in his comments.