Monday, 6 October 2014

Kingsley Amis

Sir Kingsley William Amis, CBE was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. He wrote more than 20 novels, six volumes of poetry, a memoir, various short stories, radio and television scripts, along with works of social and literary criticism. According to his biographer,Zachary Leader, Amis was the finest Englishcomic novelistof the second half of the twentieth century. He is the father of British novelistMartin Amis.

Thursday, 28 February 2013


A letter is a written message containing information from one party to another. The role of letters in communication has changed significantly since the nineteenth century. Historically, letters (in paper form) were the only reliable means of communication between two people in different locations.

As communication technology has diversified, posted letters have become less important as a routine form of communication; they however still remain but in a modified form. For example, the development of the telegraph shortened the time taken to send a letter by transferring the letter as an electrical signal (for example in Morse code) between distant points. At the telegraph office closest to the destination of the letter, the signal was transferred back into a hardcopy format and sent as a normal mail to the person's home. 

This allowed the normal speed of communication to be drastically shortened for larger and larger distances. This required specialised technicians to encode and decode the letter. The facsimile (fax) machine took this one step further: an entire letter could be completely transferred electrically from the sender's house to the receiver's house by means of the telephone network as an image.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


A letter is a grapheme in an alphabetic system of writing, such as the Greek alphabet and its descendants. Letters compose phonemes and each phoneme represents a phone (sound) in the spoken form of the language.

Written signs in other writing systems are best called syllabograms (which denote a syllable) or logograms (which denote a word or phrase).

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Anton Chekhov: March 11, 1889

A letter to Alexei Suvorin.

. . . What do you know? I am writing a novel! I am keeping at it, but can't see the end in sight. I have begun doing it, i.e., the novel, all over again, revising and abridging considerably what had already been written. I have already clearly sketched in nine individuals. What a plot! I have called it "Tales from the Life of my Friends" and am writing it in the form of separate, complete stories, tightly held together by the common basis of plot, idea and characters. There is a special chapter for each story. Don't think that the novel will consist of odds and ends. No indeed. It will be a real novel, a complete whole, in which each person will be organically indepensable. . . .

I am having a hard time coping with technical problems. I am still weak in this quarter and have the feeling I am making loads of mistakes. There are going to be overlong passages, and inanities. Faithless wives, suicides, kulaks, virtuous peasant, devoted slaves, moralizing old ladies, kind old nurses, rustic wits, red-nosed captains and "new" people I shall endeavor to avoid, although in spots I do stray into conventional types . . . .

By the way, amongst your papers and magazines there was a quotation from some newspaper praising German housemaids for working all day long, like convict labor, and getting only two or three rubles a month pay for it. "New Times" endorses this praise and adds as its own commentary that one of our misfortunes is that we keep many unnecessary servants. In my opinion the Germans are scoundrels and bad political economists. In the first place one should not talk about servants in a tone implying they are criminals; in the second place, servants are worthy people and composed of the same flesh and blood as Bismarck; they are not slaves, but free workers; in the third place, the better labor is paid, the happier the country is, and each of us should strive to see that labor is paid better. Not to speak of the Christian point of view! As to unnecessary servants, they are kept only where there is plenty of money and are paid more than the heads of departments. They should not be taken into account, for they constitute an accidental phenomenon and not an organic one.

Why don't you come to Moscow? How well we would get along together!

A. Chekhov