7×7: A blog chain mail

Guy Savage from the blog His Futile Preoccupations has nominated this blog to participate in one of those things called “blog memes”, or “blog chain mails”, or whatever. In this, the nominated party has to:

1) tell everyone something about his or her self that nobody else knows

2) link to a post that fits the following categories: most beautiful piece; most helpful piece; most popular piece; most underrated piece; most pride-worthy piece; most surprisingly successful piece; most controversial piece.

And, finally,

3) Nominate 7 other bloggers to participate – presumably having ensured that they have not already been nominated by some other blogger

What larks!

OK, let’s get started.

1) Firstly, something about me that no-one knows, and, obviously, one that I feel appropriate to reveal on this blog: in my spare time, I enjoy having a go at translating poems by Rabindranath Tagore from Bengali into English. This is not in expectation of publication – let alone fame or fortune – but because I enjoy the immersion in Tagore’s poetry that this exercise involves; and also because in attempting to arrange words on a page in order to create something that may be read as a poem in English, I find myself gaining insights into the nature of poetry itself that I don’t think I would have had merely as a reader.

2) Most beautiful post: I don’t know that any of my writing is notable for “beauty” – however one defines it – but the occasional post in which I allow myself to be nostalgic about my childhood years – such as this one – has associations for me personally for which the word “beautiful” is perhaps not misapplied. Even when it is about Dracula.

Most helpful post: Some years before I started on this blog, I had, on an internet book group that has since become defunct, led a group read of War and Peace; and since I still had on my hard disk the detailed part-by-part synopses I had written, I thought I’d put them up here. The number of hits these posts get, as well as some mails I have received on them, indicate that they have been of some help.

Most popular post: According the the statistics, my musings on Wuthering Heights and Romanticism has had the most hits. I wonder if I should revise this in light of my having changed my mind on certain matters since I wrote this.

Most controversial piece: Given that I frequently use this blog to have a rant about something or other, I am frankly surprised how uncontroversial this blog is, on the whole. But I suppose this post, in which I have a go at certain types of genre writing and at claims made by certain genre writers, aroused a fair bit of controversy.

Most surprisingly successful piece: In one of my above-mentioned rants, I made some quite intemperate comments about the importance of teaching literature in schools. Now, I am certainly no educationalist, and I certainly hadn’t expected, at the time of writing this post, that it would beCome one of the most popular in terms of hits.

Most underrated piece: This entire blog started because, to celebrate (if “celebrate” is the word I am looking for) my 50th year, i decided to read through all of Shakespeare’s plays; and, once I had done that, I found I had written copious notes on each of those plays, purely for my own personal reference. It was then I decided it might be a good idea to polish them up a bit, and stick them all up on a blog somewhere. These Shakespeare posts I thought would be the centrepiece of this blog, but they get very few hits. The post on Othello, especially, I remember spending quite a bit of time on – although, as ever, when I re-read it, I feel I haven’t succeeded in saying all I wanted to say.

Most pride-worthy piece: I suppose it’s this one on Joyce’s Ulysses, in which I think I did manage to say most of what I wanted to say.

3) And now to pick 7 others. So, in no particular order, here they are (they’re not all literary ones):

Obooki’s Obloquy

Somewhere Boy

The Cross-Eyed Pianist

Washtenaw Flaneurade

Tales of a Software Engineer


Caravana de Recuerdos

The problem with putting together lists is that one has to leave so many out! If any of these bloggers have been nominated already, please do let me know, and I’ll revise my list accordingly.

But thanks for nominating me, Guy: it’s been great fun!

19 responses to this post.

  1. I can see how translating would end up helping you appreciate poetry more. Are your translations on the blog? If not, would you consider putting some up?


    • The translations were really for my own benefit more than anything, and I haven’t yet have had the courage to put any of them up. I don’t know that I’ll have the requisite courage to do so, but I’ll certainly about it!


      • Well the good thing is that I’d be clueless as to the translation’s merit. But seriously, I think translators take liberties, so there’s no one set way.

  2. I’m glad you did it and about the ones you nominated. I nominated Richard as well and was hoping for seraillon’s and oboquy’s participation.
    I’m very interested in reading your posts and will do so later.
    I can understand why you would want to translate poetry. I have started to do the same, from English to German and it doesn give you a better feel for the way poetry works and the poems you translated. Thans for sharing this.


    • Thanks for that, Caroline. This has certainly been a most enjoyable exercise, although I suppose I should have done a bit of research first on who had already been nominated for this.


      • No, please, don’t worry. Many re-nominate people. It’s just among myself, Emma and Guy that we tried to sort of cover all of our favourites. And there were still people missing whose blogs I appreciate. It’s funny, Richard’s biggest concern was that he wouldn’t find a “beautiful” post. I like his nasty pieces best. Same for obooki.

  3. Thank you! Now done.


  4. Posted by obooki on April 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    When I was about ten, my mother forbade me from replying to a chain letter, and ever since then I’ve always regarded them as being inherently evil or criminal in some way, like a Ponzi scheme for the intellect.

    Besides, I’ve never written anything beautiful, helpful, controversial or popular, I don’t have any secrets and I don’t know seven other people.

    Oh, I might give it go.


  5. Posted by Shonti Mukherjee on April 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I know about 14 people but none of them like me…

    I wrote a novel but nobody read it…

    I only have one secret n nobody cares about it…


  6. First, thanks very much for including me among your seven winners of this challenge. I don’t know whether I’ll take this on (circumstances have conspired to keep my blogging at worse than a minimum lately), but I appreciate the mention, particularly as it gave me a chance to read your lovely Dracula post. The timeliness is excellent: my 9-year-old goddaughter is currently obsessed with all things vampire. I plan to introduce her to Christopher Lee’s version next chance I get.


    • Hello Scott, I am afraid I must apologise both to you and to others for the very late reply. Your granddaughter is, i think, in for a treat! The Hammer films do evoke, at their best, that marvellous dream-like world of the Grimm fairy tales, and if your grand-daughter is already into vampires, she’d love this!

      All the best, Himadri


  7. Belated thanks for the invite, Himadri! I finally posted on this and am fairly confident that I fulfilled Caroline’s expectations at least. By the way, I’m very glad to have this guided tour to your blog via your post above. I haven’t gotten to know your site as well as I’d like to yet, but it’s been particularly fun reading your answers to the set questions and dipping into some of the blog posts you’ve steered us all to here. Fun stuff!


    • Hello Richard,

      First of all, apologies for the late reply. Thank you very much for your kind words. Blogging rallyis such a wonderful activity, isn’t it? Not only do you get to write about what you want – people whom you don’t even know actually read it! What could be more fun?

      All the best, Himadri


  8. Many thanks for nominating me, Himadri, and I will look forward to writing a meme! I love these things as it’s an excuse to write while not having to think too hard….. Enjoyed yours, as always


    • Thanks for that – I look forward to reading your blog (and others) over the weekend: i have got a bit behidn witha ll this.

      (PS I caught up with Monday’s Uchida concert on the radio: I’m sorry I missed it live, but I can still remember Pollini’s recital of teh same programme last year!)

      Cheers, Himadri


  9. Posted by Shonti Mukherjee on April 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm



  10. This should be interesting; it’s hard to think back among a post of mine I found terribly *moving* (I’m a cold-blooded sort when it comes to these), but I’ll definitely give it a shot. My next post (the title of which will be a little ironic given the title of yours above) is going to be on modern fantasy literature (and’ll be up in a couple of days), but I’ll certainly be hitting these the post after that. Thanks!

    Interested to read, too, of your translations. I’d thought of trying to teach myself Spanish (or accompany more orthodox teaching) through doing a few paragraphs of a novel I’d picked up, but maybe poetry’s a less hair-tearing way to go!


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