2013 February meeting

March meeting announcement

March’s meeting will be on March 27th, and we will discuss “Jeeves and the Old School Chum” by P.G. Wodehouse. P・G・ウッドハウス. This story, first published in 1930, appeared in the volume titled “Very Good, Jeeves” でかした、ジーヴス (森村たまき訳、国書刊行会より刊行) (2006年7月)

February meeting report


A smaller group than usual today, and less discussion than usual, but that was mostly because of the kind of text we were reading: “The Elephant’s Child” by Rudyard Kipling.

I mentioned the sad story of Kipling’s only son, Jack, who died in World War I.  There is an excellent movie about this, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Rudyard’s “My Boy, Jack“. Daniel Radcliffe gives an excellent performance as Kipling’s son. David Craig (Kipling) looks so much like the real Kipling, it’s spooky. I heartily recommend the film マイボイジャック


Some famous quotes from Kipling:

  1. the white man’s burden” 「白人の責務」which is the title of a poem Kipling wrote in 1899 (a Japanese translation of it is here – thanks to T.O. for the link). The poem has often been taken as a justification for colonization, and arouses strong emotions in people, both for and against. Wikipedia says“At face value it appears to be a rhetorical command to white men to colonise and rule other nations for the benefit of those people (both the people and the duty may be seen as representing the “burden” of the title). Because of its theme and title, it has become emblematic both of Eurocentric racism and of Western aspirations to dominate the developing world.[8][9][10] A century after its publication, the poem still rouses strong emotions, and can be analyzed from a variety of perspectives.”
  2. “If” (a poem written for his son, John or “Jack”, then 12 years old. In 2009, it was voted Britain’s favourite poem. Here is the text of the poem with Japanese translation (I haven’t checked it). What do you think?
  3. OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet” –
    from “The Ballad of East and West” 「東と西のバラード」. (Complete English text is here Couldn’t find a complete Japanese translation; can you help?) The first line of the ballad is the most famous and often quoted, but the story tells of two brave and honourable men, one British, one Indian, who come to respect each other for their courage and honesty, despite their difference in culture. しかし東もなければ西もない、国境も、種族も、素性もない、
    二人の強い男が面と向かって立つときは、両者が地球の両端から来たとしても。(from http://crd.ndl.go.jp/reference/modules/d3ndlcrdentry/index.php?page=ref_view&id=1000069592)


2013 January meeting

In today’s session, we discussed “The Man in the Passage”, a short detective story by British author G.K. Chesterton. The mystery is solved by one of Chesterton’s memorable characters, Father Brown, a Catholic priest. Father Brown has taken his place in the pantheon of famous detectives, alongside Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

Chesterton was born a generation before C.S. Lewis. They were both Christians and both wrote about Christianity for the general public. They also both wrote fiction which helped to make them nationally, then internationally, famous.

In today’s session, I mentioned something about the “rules of detective stories”. I was referring to the “Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories” (1928), by S.S. Van Dine, the pen-name of Willard Huntington Wright, an American journalist and fiction writer. If any of you can find a Japanese translation of this online, please let me know. Do you think Chesterton obeyed all these rules in “The Man in the Passage”?

Update: a reader has found a Japanese translation here 探偵小説を書くときの二十則

Here are the first 3 rules:

  1. The reader must have equal opportunity with the detective for solving the mystery. All clues must be plainly stated and described.

2. No willful tricks or deceptions may be placed on the reader other than those played legitimately by the criminal on the detective himself.

3. There must be no love interest. The business in hand is to bring a criminal to the bar of justice, not to bring a lovelorn couple to the hymeneal altar.

For February’s session, we will read a shorty story for children written by Rudyard Kipling: “How the Elephant Got its Trunk” (also called “Elephant’s Child”)  from the Just-So stories. Kipling was the first English-language author to win the Nobel Prize for literature, in 1907 (he was 41 years old). He was a contemporary of Mark Twain, and friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Henry James.