David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

26 April 2009

A Tibetan Blogger, Always Under Close Watch, Struggles for Visibility


By Andrew Jacobs
The Saturday Profile:

A graceful, soft-spoken woman whose disquieting tales are often punctuated by nervous laughter, Ms. Woeser has become an accidental hero to a generation of disenfranchised young Tibetans. Like many of her peers, she was schooled in Mandarin, part of a policy of assimilation that left her unable to write Tibetan, and she grew up embracing the official version of history — that the Communist Party brought freedom and prosperity to a backward land.

Her pedigree is all the more notable because her father, the son of a Han father and a Tibetan mother, was a deputy general in the Chinese Army who oversaw Lhasa.

It was only at 24, after seven years studying Chinese poetry and literature, that she reconnected with her Tibetan DNA. During a visit to Lhasa, an aunt dragged her to the Jokhang Monastery, one of Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest sites, and she found herself overwhelmed by the emotional intensity of the faithful. “I was crying so loudly a monk told my aunt, ‘Look at that pathetic Chinese girl, she can’t control herself.’

“It was that moment I realized I had come home,” she said.
( Read full article here )