Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Una Fiesta Selecta (Select Party)






Introducción por Marciano Guerrero
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
Breve Biografía
El escritor estadounidense nació el 4 de julio 1804 en Salem, Massachusetts, en una familia de mucha distinción en la región desde la época colonial. Su padre murió cuando él tenía cuatro años de edad, dejando al niño al cuidado de parientes maternos. Más tarde asistió Bowdoin College, donde conoció a figuras bien conocidas en círculos literarios y políticos de la época: el escritor Horacio Bridge, futuro senador Jonathan Ciley, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, y el futuro Presidente Franklin Pierce.
Más tarde se hizo amigo de los mejores intelectuales norteamericanos de la época, como Amos Bronson Alcott y su hija Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau y Ralph Waldo Emerson, que también fue gran figura en el movimiento trascendentalita.
A través de sus amigos influyentes se las arregló para siempre encontrar empleo público.
Principales Obras
En lugar de novelas Nathaniel Hawthorne cultiva ‘romances,’ que permite al escritor una suspensión de la duda más amplia y de más libertad que las novelas; estos romance rayan en fantasías y sueños, y se puede decir que las narraciones como La letra escarlata y La casa de los siete tejados sí contienen elementos del realismo mágico. En particular, la escena final de La casa de los siete tejados en la que el tío Venner pareció escuchar un trozo de música que le hizo creer que Alice Pyncheon... se despedía con un toque de alegría del espíritu sobre su clavicordio mientras flotaba en el cielo la Casa de los Siete Tejados. Esta escena es una reminiscencia de la fabulosa escena de Gabriel García Márquez en la que Remedios, la bella, un personaje de Cien años de soledad asciende al cielo en medio de un aleteo de sabanas.
Cuentos de Nathaniel Hawthorne incluyen “La hija de Rappaccini,” “Mi pariente, el mayor Molineux” ( 1832), “Entierro de Roger Malvin” ( 1832), “Young Goodman Brown” (1835 ), y la colección “Cuentos dos veces contados.”
Acerca de "Una Fiesta Selecta"
En el cuento “Una Fiesta Selecta,” Hawthorne intenta vestir a las virtudes y maldades con un significado simbólico, tanto como lo hizo el poeta isabelino Edmund Spencer en su poema épico “La Reina de las Hadas.” La disparidad entre las dos obras consta en que Hawthorne cuenta su historia con cierta irreverencia y desfachatez; en este cuento nada serio se puede encontrar que llegue a la altura de la gravedad de una epopeya.
Spencer, por ejemplo, es muy serio en su intención —con sus dos caballeros, Redcrosse y Britomart— en el examen de las dos virtudes que considera más importante para la vida cristiana: la santidad y castidad.
El enfoque de Hawthorne a su tema —una fiesta a la que asisten los mitos humanos, leyendas, y un surtido inventario de caracteres mundanos — es algo liviano, alegre, irónico—y hasta inadvertidamente cómico.
El Fabulista es el anfitrión y coordinador de tal fiesta de fantasía. Pero ¿quién es este personaje? Es por ventura el alter ego del autor? Uno sólo puede suponerlo.
El narrador toma su dulce tiempito en la descripción de una mansión que —con suspensión total de la incredulidad— se cuelga en el espacio infinito y en el reino sin lugar. Sin embargo, tal aposento tiene el aspecto de un castillo medieval; es decir, grandes paredes, estructuras masivas, etc. También se llega a saber que la mansión es una arquitectura celestial con enormes pilares de la que se suspenden meteoros.
En este espacio y contexto vemos la lenta y dolorosa interacción de los personajes simbólicos.
Escritores como Rebeláis, Cervantes, Borges y engañan a sus lectores mediante la técnica de bombardear páginas con largas enumeraciones caóticas. Hawthorne utiliza tal truco, tal vez en demasía; por ejemplo, la enumeración de los huéspedes: El habitante antiguo (demasiado agotado, se le ofrece una silla para descansar después de un viaje entre las nubes), Monsieur On- Dit, el Secretario del tiempo, el Judío Errante, una mujer deforme vieja y negra, y muchas otras criaturas de la imaginación. La más notable fue un patriota incorruptible, un erudito sin pedantería, un sacerdote sin ambición mundana, y una mujer hermosa sin orgullo o coquetería, una pareja casada cuya vida nunca tuvo sido perturbado por la incongruencia de los sentimientos, un reformador sin trabas en su teoría, y un poeta que no sentía celos hacia otros devotos de la lira.
Hacia la mitad de la fiesta, el narrador se apiada de sus lectores y pasa el dato de dónde sacó su inspiración, diciéndole a sus lectores —por medio de otra enumeración— que él está tratando de añadir lo que otros escritores habían quedado sin decir:
Para tomar casos familiares, aquí estaban los cuentos inéditos de los Cuentos de los Peregrinos de Canterbury de Chaucer, los cantos no escritas de La Reina de las hadas, la conclusión de Christabel de Coleridge, y el conjunto de la épica proyectado de Dryden sobre el tema del rey Arturo. Los estantes estaban llenos, porque no sería demasiado afirmar que cada autor ha imaginado y formado en su pensamiento más y mucho mejor obras que las que en realidad proceden de su pluma. Y aquí mismo, en las concepciones no realizadas de los poetas jóvenes que murieron por la fuerza misma de su propio genio antes el mundo hubiera alcanzado un inspirado soplo de sus labios.
Esta Fiesta Selecta, de gala, y exclusiva, termina en la confusión y el caos y en medio de una tormenta en el espacio infinito. Los huéspedes se esparcen. Nunca sabremos quien llegó a casa (a la Tierra) o quien no—o en el caso de El Hombre en la Luna, si consiguió regresar a la luna o no.
En la oración que cierra el relato, leemos: “La gente debería pensar en estas cuestiones antes de confiarse en los placeres de una fiesta convenida en el reino sin lugar.”
De hecho, fue una fiesta, una imaginaria y triste parodia con pretensiones de universalidad.
El Hombre Fabulista celebró una fiesta en uno de sus castillos en el aire, e invitó a un selecto número de distinguidos personajes que le favorecieron con su presencia.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Economic Terms for the Impatient Learner: What is ...?

New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New ...Image via Wikipedia

The aggregate demand curve illustrates the relationship between economic goods demanded and the price level, assuming all else is held constant (that is, under a ceteris paribus assumption).


The NYSE

  is the New York Stock Exchange, the largest physical exchange in the U.S. Is in New York City.

An annuity 

is an asset that pays a constant amount each year to the holder until the annuity expires and/or the holder of the annuity passes away.

An arbitrage opportunity is the opportunity to buy an asset at a low price then immediately selling it on a different market for a higher price.

Autarky is the state of an individual who does not trade with anyone.

The average propensity to consume is the proportion of income the average family spends on goods and services.

The average propensity to save is the proportion of income the average family saves (does not spend on consumption).

Average total cost is the sum of all the production costs divided by the number of units produced.

A country's balance of payments is the quantity of its own currency flowing out of of the country (for purchases, for example, but also for gifts and intrafirm transfers) minus the amount flowing in.

A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. Used in the context of interest rates.

A bear market occurs when almost all stock prices are falling. The term bear market comes from the image of a bear pawing something to the ground.

The Black-Scholes equation

is an equation for option securities prices on the basis of an assumed stochastic process for stock prices. The Black-Scholes algorithm can produce an estimate the value of a call on a stock, using as input:
• an estimate of the risk-free interest rate now and in the near future
• current price of the stock
• exercise price of the option (strike price)
• expiration date of the option

The term blue chip usually refers to a stock, but could in theory apply to any financial asset with potential risk. A blue chip stock is one that entails unusually small risk (risk being a subjective judgment). Stocks that are considered "blue chip" are issued by large stable corporations like IBM.

A bond is a fixed interest financial asset issued by governments, companies, banks, public utilities and other large entities. Bonds pay the bearer a fixed amount a specified end date. A discount bond pays the bearer only at the ending date, while a coupon bond pays the bearer a fixed amount over a specified interval (month, year, etc.) as well as paying a fixed amount at the end date.

The Bretton Woods system was a international monetary framework of fixed exchange rates after World War II. Drawn up by the U.S. and Britain in 1944. Keynes was one of the architects. The Bretton Woods system ended on August 15, 1971, when President Richard Nixon ended trading of gold at the fixed price of $35/ounce. At that point for the first time in history, formal links between the major world currencies and real commodities were severed.

A bull market occurs when almost all stock prices are on the rise. The term bull market comes from the image of a bull flinging things into the air with his horns.

The business cycle frequency is considered to be three to five years. Called the business cycle frequency by Burns and Mitchell (1946), and this became standard language.

A buyer's market is a market for a good (stocks, housing, etc.) where prices are falling and there are more parties interested in selling than in buying.

Cartels are agreements between most or all of the major producers of a good to either limit their production and/or fix prices. Cartels are generally illegal in the United States.

Coupon bonds. A bond can be resold into two parts that can be thought of as components: (1) a principal component that is the right to receive the principal at the end date, and (2) the right to receive the coupon payments. The components are called strips. The right to receive coupon payments is the coupon strip.

Ceteris Paribus means "assuming all else is held constant". The author using ceteris paribus is attempting to distinguish an effect of one kind of change from any others.

The Chicago School refers to an perspective on economics of the University of Chicago circa 1970. Variously interpreted to imply: 1) A preference for models in which information is perfect, and an associated search for empirical evidence that choices, not institutional limitations, are what result in outcomes for people. (E.g., that committing crime is a career choice; that smoking represents an informed tradeoff between health risk and immediate gratification.) 2) That antitrust law is rarely necessary, because potential competition will limit monopolist abuses.
A commodity is good that is generally a primary good used in manufacturing such as timber, cotton, wool and copper.

Comparative advantage requires at least two goods and at least two places where each good could be produced with scarce resources in each place. The example drawn here is from Ehrenberg and Smith (1997), page 136. Suppose the two goods are food and clothing, and that "the price of food within the United States is 0.50 units of clothing and the price of clothing is 2 units of food. [Suppose also that] the price of food in China is 1.67 units of clothing and the price of clothing is 0.60 units of food." Then we can say that "the United States has a comparative advantage in producing food and China has a comparative advantage in producing clothing. It follows that in a trading relationship the U.S. should allocate at least some of its scarce resources to producing food and China should allocate at least some of its scarce resources to producing clothing, because this is the most efficient allocation of the scarce resources and allows the price of food and clothing to be as low as possible.
Famous economist David Ricardo illustrated this in the 1800s using wool in Britain and wine from Portugal as examples. The comparative advantage concept seems to be one of the really challenging, novel, and useful abstractions in economics.

The consumer price index or CPI is a measure of the level of inflation. CPI measures how much the price of a basket of consumer goods has changed over a given time period.

A cost-of-living price index measures the changing cost of a constant standard of living. The index is a scalar measure for each time period. Usually it is a positive number which rises over time to indicate that there was inflation. Two incomes can be compared across time by seeing whether the incomes changed as much as the index did.

The CPI or Consumer Price Index is a measure of the cost of goods purchased by average U.S. household. It is calculated by the U.S. government's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As a pure measure of inflation, the CPI has some flaws:
1) new product bias (new products are not counted for a while after the appear)
2) discount store bias (consumers who care won't pay full price)
3) substitution bias (variations in price can cause consumers to respond by substituting on the spot, but the basic measure holds their consumption of various goods constant)
4) quality bias (product improvements are under-counted)
5) formula bias (overweighting of sale items in sample rotation).

The current account balance is the difference between a country's savings and its investment. "[If the current account balance is] positive, it measures the portion of a country's saving invested abroad; if negative, the portion of domestic investment financed by foreigners' savings."

The current account balance is defined by the sum of the value of imports of goods and services plus net returns on investments abroad, minus the value of exports of goods and services, where all these elements are measured in the domestic currency.

Cyclical unemployment occurs when the unemployment rate moves in the opposite direction as the GDP growth rate. So when GDP growth is small (or negative) unemployment is high.

Dumping is an informal name for the practice of selling a product in a foreign country for less than either (a) the price in the domestic country, or (b) the cost of making the product. It is illegal in some countries to dump certain products into them, because they want to protect their own industries from such competition.

Depreciation is the decline in price of an asset over time attributable to deterioration, obsolescence, and impending retirement. It applies particularly to physical assets like equipment and structures.

Deflation occurs when prices are declining over time. This is the opposite of inflation; when the inflation rate (by some measure) is negative, the economy is in a deflationary period.

Derivatives are securities whose value is derived from the some other time-varying quantity. Usually that other quantity is the price of some other asset such as bonds, stocks, currencies, or commodities. It could also be an index, or the temperature. Derivatives were created to support an insurance market against fluctuations.

Discount rate has at least two meanings:
(1) The interest rate at which an agent discounts future events in preferences in a multi-period model. Often denoted r. A present-oriented agent discounts the future heavily and so has a HIGH discount rate. Contrast with discount factor. See also future-oriented.
In a discrete time model where agents discount the future by a factor of b, one finds r=(1-b)/b, following from b=1/(1+r).
(2) The Discount Rate is the name of the rate at which U.S. banks can borrow from the U.S. Federal Reserve

Economies of scale. The cost per unit made declines with the number of units produced. It is a descriptive, quantitative term. One measure of the economies of scale is the cost per unit made. There can be analogous economies of scale in marketing or distribution of a product or service too. The term may apply only to certain ranges of output quantity.

Ex ante is latin for "beforehand". In models where there is uncertainty that is resolved during the course of events, the ex antes values (e.g. of expected gain) are those that are calculated in advance of the resolution of uncertainty.

Ex Dividend Date: Firms pay dividends to those who are shareholders on a certain date. The next day is called the ex dividend date. People who own no shares until the ex dividend date do not receive the dividend. The price of the stocks is often adjusted downward before the start of trading on the ex dividend date because to compensate for this.

Ex post. Latin for "after the fact". In models where there is uncertainty that is resolved during the course of events, the ex post values (e.g. of expected gain) are those that are calculated after the uncertainty has been resolved.
A free trader is a holder of the political point of view that the best policy is to allow free trade into one's own country.

The Friedman Rule: In a cash-in-advance model of a monetary system, the Friedman rule for monetary policy is to deflate so that it is not costly to those who have money to continue to hold it. Then the cash-in-advance constraint isn't binding on them.

Glass-Steagall Act: The Glass-Steagall act was a 1933 United States national law separating investment banking and commercial banking firms. Also prohibited banks from owning corporate stock. It was designed to confront the problem that banks in the Great Depression collapsed because they held a lot of stock.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) represents the total value of the goods and services produced by an economy over some unit of time (a month, a season, a year etc.). The "Domestic" part of the name comes from the fact, unlike GNP, it does not consider imports or exports in the calculation.

The Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all the goods and services produced in an economy, plus the value of the goods and services imported, less the goods and services exported.

International Monetary Fund: IMF stands for the International Monetary Fund -- an international organization with liquidity services to maintain financial stability.
Initial Public Offering: IPO stands for "initial public offering", the event of a firm's first sale of stock shares.

The Keynes Effect: As prices fall, a given nominal amount of money will be a larger real amount. Consequently the interest rate would fall and investment demanded rise. This Keynes effect disappears in the liquidity trap. Contrast the Keynes effect with the Pigou effect.

Labor Theory of Value: "Both Ricardo and Marx say that the value of every commodity is (in perfect equilibrium and perfect competition) proportionaly to the quantity of labor contained in the commodity, provided this labor is in accordance with the existing standard of efficiency of production (the 'socially necessary quantity of labor'). Both measure this quantity in hours of work and use the same method in order to reduce different qualities of work to a single standard." And neither accounts well for monopoly or imperfect competition. (Schumpeter, p 23)

Leveraged Buy-Out: LBO stands for leveraged buy-out. The act of taking a public company private by buying it with revenues from bonds, and using the revenues of the company to pay off the bonds.

The Liquidity trap is a Keynesian idea. When expected returns from investments in securities or real plant and equipment are low, investment falls, a recession begins, and cash holdings in banks rise. People and businesses then continue to hold cash because they expect spending and investment to be low. This is a self-fulfilling trap.

The Lorenz Curve is used to discuss concentration of suppliers (firms) in a market. The horizontal axis is divided into as many pieces as there are suppliers. Often it is given a percentage scale going from 0 to 100. The firms are in order of decreasing size. On the vertical axis are the market sales in percentage terms from 0 to 100. The Lorenz curve is a graph of the sales of all the firms to the right of each point on the horizontal axis.

Marginal revenue is the revenue a company gains in producing one additional unit of a good.
M2 is a measure of total money supply. M2 includes everything in M1 and also savings and other time deposits.

Money is a good that acts as a medium of exchange in transactions. Classically it is said that money acts as a unit of account, a store of value, and a medium of exchange. Most authors find that the first two are nonessential properties that follow from the third. In fact, other goods are often better than money at being intertemporal stores of value, since most monies degrade in value over time through inflation or the overthrow of governments.

The Modigliani-Miller Theorem is that the total value of the bonds and equities issued by a firm in a model is independent of the number of bonds outstanding or their interest rate.
The theorem was shown by Modigliani and Miller, 1958 in a particular context with no fixed costs, transactions costs, asymmetric information, and so forth. Analogous theorems are shown in various contexts. The assumptions made by such theorems offer a way of organizing what it would be that makes corporations choose to offer various levels of bonds. The choice of numbers and types of bonds and stocks a corporation offers is the choice of capital structure. Among the factors affecting the capital structure of a firm are taxes, bankruptcy costs, agency costs, signalling, bargaining position in litigation, and differences between firms and investors in access to capital markets.

Mutatis Mutandis: The necessary changes having been made; substituting new terms.
Oligopoly: A market for a good where a few major suppliers account for a large majority of sales.

An option is a contract that gives the holder the right, but not the duty, to make a specified transaction for a specified time.
The most common option contracts give the holder the right buy a specific number of shares of the underlying security (equity or index) at a fixed price (called the exercise price or strike price) for a given period of time. Other option contracts allow the holder to sell.

Pareto Optimal. In an endowment economy, an allocation of goods to agents is Pareto Optimal if no other allocation of the same goods would be preferred by every agent. Pareto optimal is sometimes abbreviated as PO. Optimal is the descriptive adjective, whereas optimum is a noun. A Pareto optimal allocation is one that is a Pareto optimum. There may be only one such optimum.

The Phillips curve is a relation between inflation and unemployment. Follows from William Phillips' 1958 "The relation between unemployment and the rate of change of money wage rates in the United Kingdom, 1861-1957" in Economica.

The Pigou effect is the wealth effect on consumption as prices fall. A lower price level leads to a greater existing private wealth of nominal value, leading to a rise in consumption.

Predatory Pricing. A company engages in predatory pricing when it sets the price of its goods very low in order to eliminate its competitors and prevent new companies from entering into the marketplace.

Price elasticity is a measure of responsiveness of some other variable to a change in price.

The prime rate of interest is a rate of interest that serves as a benchmark for most other loans in a country. The precise definition of prime rate differs from country to country. In the United States, the prime rate is the interest rate banks charge to large corporations for short-term loans.

Private sector companies are ones that are not owned by the government. This is opposed to the public sector that consists of industries such as education and unemployment insurance.

Productivity is a measure relating a quantity or quality of output to the inputs required to produce it. Often means labor productivity, which is can be measured by quantity of output per time spent or numbers employed. Could be measured in, for example, U.S. dollars per hour.

Progressive tax. A tax on income in which the proportion of tax paid relative to income increases as income increases.

A put option is a security which conveys the right to sell a specified quantity of an underlying asset at or before a fixed date.

Recession. A not very well defined term that indicates a slowdown in economic activity. A particularly long-lasting and painful recession is known as a depression.

Rational expectations is an assumption in a model: that the agent under study uses a forecasting mechanism that is as good as is possible given the stochastic processes and information available to the agent.
Often in essence the rational expectations assumption is that the agent knows the model, and fails to make absolutely correct forecasts only because of the inherent randomness in the economic environment.

Regressive tax. A tax on income in which the proportion of tax paid relative to income decreases as income increases.

Regulation Q is a U.S. Federal Reserve System rule limiting the interest rates that U.S. banks and savings and loan institutions could pay on deposits.

The Ricardian proposition is that tax financing and bond financing of a given stream of government expenditures lead to equivalent allocations. This is the Modigliani-Miller theorem applied to the government.

Risk. If outcomes will occur with known or estimable probability the decisionmaker faces a risk. Certainty is a special case of risk in which this probability is equal to zero or one.

The Robinson-Patman Act is U.S. legislation of 1936 which made rules against price discrimination by firms. Agitation by small grocers was a principal cause of the law. They were under competitive pressure and displaced by the arrival of chain stores. The Robinson-Patman Act is thought by many to have prevented reasonable price competition, since it made many pricing actions illegal per se. For many of its provisions, 'good faith' was not a permitted defense. So it can be argued that it was confusing, vague, unnecessarily restrictive, and designed to prevent some competitors in retailing from being driven out rather than to further social welfare generally, e.g. by allowing pricing decisions that would benefit consumers.

Treasury Bills are short-term bonds issued by the government used to pay to cover government spending.

Uncertainty. If outcomes will occur with a probability that cannot even be estimated, the decisionmaker faces uncertainty.
This meaning to uncertainty is attributed to Frank Knight, and is sometimes referred to as Knightian uncertainty.

The unemployment rate is the percentage of the population who are willing to work for the current market wage for someone of his or her skill level but cannot find employment.

Utilitarianism is a moral philosophy, generally operating on the principle that the utility (happiness or satisfaction) of different people can not only be measured but also meaningfully summed over people and that utility comparisons between people are meaningful. That makes it possible to achieve a well-defined societal optimum in allocations, production, and other decisions, and achieve the goal utilitarian British philosopher Jeremy Bentham described as "the greatest good for the greatest number."

A value added tax is a form of sales or consumption tax that is used in many countries around the world including Canada (GST) , Australia (GST) and all member countries of the European Union (EU VAT).

A Walrasian auctioneer is a hypothetical market-maker who matches suppliers and demanders to get a single price for a good. One imagines such a market-maker when modeling a market as having a single price at which all parties can trade.
Such an auctioneer makes the process of finding trading opportunities perfect and cost free; consider by contrast a "search problem" in which there is a stochastic cost of finding a partner to trade with and transactions costs when one does meet such a partner.

A wage curve is a graph of the relation between the local rate of unemployment, on the horizontal axis, and the local wage rate, on the vertical axis. Blanchflower and Oswald show that this relation is downward sloping. That is, locally high wages and locally low unemployment are correlated.
The World Bank is a collection of international organizations to aid countries in their process of economic development with loans, advice, and research. It was founded in the 1940s to aid Western European countries after World War II with capital

A zero-sum game is a game in which total winnings and total losings sum to zero for each possible outcome.
A yellow-dog contract is a requirement by a firm that the worker agree not to engage in collective labor action. Such contracts are not enforceable in the U.S.

How to Diversify



Debt Financing



Credit Scores



P/E Ratio, Crystal Ball


Fixed Index Annuities

If you are interested in seeing how I achieved personal success in the United States, you may find my book of short stories East of Tiffany's interesting. Some of the stories are based on my life as an executive, investment banker, and financial adviser to wealthy investors in the East Side of Manhattan.
Close to half-million people have read East of Tiffany's so far. Order your copy from either Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

Since English is my second language, Mary Duffy --a master of the English language-- aided me not only with the editing, but she also contributed her own stories. I love her writing in "When You Wish Upon a Star." This is a story based on a personal friend's life.


Current Liabilities



Adam Smith and Wealth



Personal Budgeting


Investing in Stocks


Professor Guerrero Laws for Wealth


Economic Terms for the Impatient: What is ...?


Senada Selmani, model

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

E Rice burroughs, Tarzan of The apes


To re-read a well written book is not only plesant but also inspiring. While the oeuvre of authors such as O’Hara, Hemingway, and Mailer are by now buried in the dunes of oblivion, Burroughs’ Tarzan remains vibrant and beloved. But, why? There may be many reasons, but I think the following two have something to do with it: (1) The presence of a prototype, and (2) Sentence beginnings.

In contrast to the three mentioned authors, Burroughs bequeathed for posterity a prototype character: Tarzan. This feat together with a wise use of English syntax—in particular his sentence beginnings—make Tarzan a masterpiece. A classic.

If one applies this reasoning to lasting authors, one can see that there’s some validity to my thesis. Truman Capote not only created Holly Golightly, but he wrote with great respect for grammar and syntax. The same may be said of Jane Austen (Mr. Darcy), Nabokov (Lolita), Kafka (Gregor Samsa, Joseph K), Salinger (Holden), Fitzgerald (Gatsby), Cervantes (Don Quijote), all of whom created prototypes.

Without a prototype and without due respect for the sound structures of the English language, the dunes will close in. Let’s test this thesis. Who do you think will survive the dunes of amnesia and oblivion: Iris Murdoch, Joyce Carol Oates, Grisham, Tom Clancy, or Capote?



Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
GarciaMarquez,OneHundredYrs
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kafka,Metamorphosis
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse


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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Saint Anselm (1033 - 1109) Archbishop of Canterbury, England.



Introduction to Saint Anselm by Marciano Guerrero

Brief Biography of Saint Anselm

Saint Anselm (1033 - 1109) Archbishop of Canterbury, England.
Born near the border between what are now Italy and France, Anselm entered the monastic school of Bec in Normandy in 1060.
Anselm's interest was captured by the Benedictine abbey at Bec, whose famous school was under the direction of Lanfranc, the abbey’s prior. Lanfranc was a scholar and teacher of wide reputation, and under his leadership the school at Bec had become an important center of learning. Anselm entered the abbey as a novice, but given his intellectual and spiritual gifts brought him rapid advancement, and when Lanfranc was appointed abbot of Caen in 1063, Anselm was elected to succeed him as prior.
He eventually became the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093, and is considered one of the most influential thinkers —together with Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas— of medieval Europe and Christianity.
Although he wrote many books, his Proslogion (1077–78), which includes his ontological proof of the existence of God, is what contributed to his lasting fame.

About Saint Anselm’s ontological proof that God exists

St. Anselm’s motto credo ut intelligam (“I believe so that I may understand”) reflected his intention to explain faith in God through reason. St. Anselm achieved fame for his ontological argument that proves the existence of God:
We understand God to be the greatest possible being, ‘that of which nothing can be greater.” But a God who exists only in our minds isnt as great as one who is in our minds and also who exists in reality. So, since God is, by definition, the greatest possible being, he must exist in our minds and in reality.
From the above premises, Saint Anselm proceeds first to give a proof by reductio ad absurdum, also called indirect proof or proof by contradiction. So, reduction proves something to be true by showing that the opposite is untrue. The form or the argument is as follows:
Major premise: The more sleep one gets, the healthier one is,
Minor premise: Rip van Winkle slept 20 years
Conclusion: Rip van Winkle was the healthier for that.

Such conclusion is obviously untrue since the dozy Rip van Winkle couldn’t account for a long period of life in which he missed the American Revolution, the death of his wife, the marriage of his daughter and the birth of his grandson. Then again, someone may take the argument to an extreme by saying that by having missed his wife’s henpecking for many years, he was the healthier for it.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

How to Become a Writer: Marciano Guerrero (Part 2 of 20)

Batman and Robin (comic book)Image via Wikipedia

When I was eight years old, I recall that life in my small town —Viru, in northern Peru— was droll, and uneventful. Nothing extraordinary ever happened there. Not that it mattered much to me because at that age I lived a rich, exciting life in my imagination. Glorious, with child-eyes I would devour the comics, magazines, and adventure illustrated books that either my mother or my father would bring from their trips from the larger city.

The Count of Montecristo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Three Musketeers, Superman, Batman and Robin, The Shadow, Robinson Crusoe, Jane Eyre, Gulliver, Scaramouche, and many other fictitious beings were my intimate friends. Each and every story ever published by Emilio Salgari —an Italian writer of action, suspense, and swashbucklers — I read and re-read to exhaustion; my reading compensated for the lack of real action in that sleepy town of my childhood.  But all that was to change.

Yet, despite my young years, I felt a sense of apprehension and dread. In a small town where everyone knew each other, adults would abruptly shut up when I walked into their conversations. Even at home, servants and family retainers would whisper, disband, and go about their business. One evening, after supper, I noticed that several women had come to see my mother who wasn’t feeling well. When I saw the priest —father Morelos— hurrying to join the group, my heart seemed to stop. God help me! I knew something was wrong and I didn’t know what. Frightened more than curious, panicked beyond control, I crashed into their meeting and with tears in my eyes I threw myself into my mother’s arms and begged her not die. Without wasting a second, my mother told me that her illness wasn’t serious at all; that it was a different type of pain that she was experiencing.
 “Father Morelos, take him into the other room and explain what is happening,” she said. “He’s old enough to understand. Besides he knows all about political intrigues.”
Good old father Morelos, a rubicund Spanish priest who once or twice a week came to dine with us, told me that my father had left town.
 “But he will come back soon; it’s a matter of weeks,” he hastened to add.
Although his Castilian accent mixed with Latin expressions sounded strange to my ears, I understood every word he spoke. In sum, my father had travelled to Arequipa, in southern Peru, to join General Odria—a coup d’état was imminent.

As expected, General Odria, with the support from other Army officers, was installed as dictator in late 1948.

My first experience with political power and with the power of the written word came when I asked my father to enroll me in the Guadalupe High School. A school of heroes, of personalities, of celebrities, composers, musicians, poets, diplomats, and leaders of the nation was my choice. Yet a public school it was. Children from even the remotest hamlets and villages in the Andes, and from different social strata, were admitted there based on a tough entrance exam. While most well-off families enrolled their children in prestigious catholic and other private academies, I was determined to attend Guadalupe much against my parents' wishes. The school was then run by the military, and the director was a lieutenant colonel. But somehow I managed to win my father's approval, and he sided with me, promising his help.

Despite the years that have gone by, I still recall with much nostalgia the single word the director wrote on the presidential card that my father had handed him. The director wrote: “Approved.” My father had gotten a recommendation from General Odria --by then duly elected president of the republic-- that said: “Please help my nephew Marciano Guerrero who is soliciting admission to your prestigious school. And kindly call my aide-de-camp … when his admission is formalized.”
 
With such recommendation, no entrance examination was required, and for the record: the president of the republic was not my uncle, nor was I related to him in any degree. It was all a power play.



  • How to become a writer Part 3 of 20
  • Oxymoron in Action
  • IanFleming's Intransitive Verbs
  • How to Use Similes
  • What is an Allegory?
  • StephenKing vs StephenieMeyer
  • Updike: Use of Infinitives
  • Possessive Nouns
  • Using Zeugma for Humor
  • HowToBegin Your Novel
  • Truman Capote's Techniques
  • How To Create Great Villains
  • War on Adverbs
  • Using Rhetorical Tools
  • Ed McBain Sold 90 million books
  • Hook Your Reader
  • Dante and Writing
  • Derrida and Writing
  • Literature Transforms Us