Yesterday night I came across a beautiful incident posted in a blog where a literary scholar named Douglas Hofstadter had published a translation of Russian Poet Pushkin’s famous literary work – the poem called “Eugine Onegin”. However, it got a very ugly and unfortunately prominent review in New York Times, by a critic named Richard Lourie. We can imagine the situation Hofstadter was in after reading the review. But when someone gets criticism, this is the very time the person is put forward to a test, a test that measures his/her mental integrity, true potential, capability. Next day a reply from Hofstadter was published in NYTimes.
To the editor:
I write to counter Richard Lourie,
Who tried to trash my Pushkin verse,
“Eugene Onegin.” In his fury,
He called it “flat,” and even worse,
He claimed my English was deficient,
My Russian weak and insufficient —
Quoting my own disclaimers as
His proof my poem lacks pizzazz.
I have to question why a critic
Would crudely crow, “There’s not a line
That sings or zings,” yet quote but nine
From o’er five thousand. Such acidic
But feckless words to flout my rhymes
Did not well serve The New York Times.
While you wonder and smile inside that “Yes! Now we are talking! This is the way to respond to a criticism!”, let me point out few more things:
“First and form-most, it is written as a precise and strict Onegin stanza — obviously a metatextual move in itself. Second, it includes a few carefully-aimed guilt-by-association rhymes, notably “Lourie / fury” and “acidic / critic.” Third, it rather fairly sums up all two of the reviewer’s rather flimsy criticisms…”
Let me end this article by giving another incidence of literary Easter egg that is present in this very world we live in: the technology world. I assume you all know what CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) means. Curiously, the CSS 2.0 specification appendices is written in alphabetical order.See for yourselves if you don’t believe me:
- Appendix A. Aural style sheets
- Appendix B. Bibliography
- Appendix C. Changes
- Appendix D. Default style sheet for HTML 4
- Appendix E. Elaborate description of Stacking Contexts
- Appendix F. Full property table
- Appendix G. Grammar of CSS 2.1
- Appendix I. Index
What? Oh! yes, the H is missing!