Some time ago I posted about some serious errors in a Greek quotation from A Wrinkle In Time. And yesterday I received this lovely message from a woman who knew L’Engle personally and had this to add about the origins of the quote:

Hello Mr. J. S. Bangs and commenters!

This post was brought to my attention recently and I am most grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Euripides quote discussion.

Madeleine L’Engle was my mentor and friend. Over the years I was in her writing classes and saw her often in NYC.

In 1993, my partners at EliasMusic lsp and I produced the audio version of Madeleine’s reading of A WRINKLE IN TIME in its entirety. It was a challenging project and most inspiring.

In my preparation, I noticed the inaccuracy of the Greek quote. My heritage is Greek and the words didn’t make sense. I asked Madeleine about the source at which point she took a book from her shelf and said ALL of Mrs. Who’s quotes came from this volume……

DICTIONARY OF FOREIGN PHRASES AND CLASSICAL QUOTATIONS

Edited by H.P.Jones
Edinburgh 1910

The book is a treasure. Sure enough, the Euripides quote had fallen victim to two sets of inaccuracies. When Madeleine copied the quote on to her original manuscript by hand, a letter was omitted. When the typesetter chose Greek characters from the manuscript, more mistakes were made. To date, after several requests, the Greek quote has not been corrected with millions of copies of WRINKLE sold.

Our recording of Madeleine’s reading is the only correct version. It is the definitive WRINKLE since her wishes were honored with regard to other issues. For instance, there is variance between the hard bound and paperback versions. (Grammar school vs Grade School, jacket vs blazer)

Currently a new film of WRINKLE is in the works by Ava DuVernay. The timing has prompted me to again let the appropriate parties know that the quote must be corrected. Hopefully it will happen.

In my workshop THE BIG FAT LITTLE GREEK MISTAKE, participants have enjoyed analyzing the process that happened. They are happy to make the discovery and correct their copies.

The Euripides quote from the H.P. Jones volume reads

Αελπτον ουδέν, πάντα δ´ελπιζειν χρεών. Nothing is hopeless, we must hope for everything.

Again, thank you for this post and responses. Please feel free to contact me via email. I would appreciate any information you wish to share.

Well, this just about made my day. Evidently the mistakes in the printed text are known, and have been known for sometime, but publishing being what it is it’s been very hard to get anyone to change it.

Hopefully the new TV version of the film will have the actors pronouncing the quote correctly :).

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This past week, my wife and I went to Budapest with our youngest son. Here are some things we learned:

  1. The Romanian mountains have some of the most picturesque villages you’ll ever see, especially in the autumn.
  2. There’s no need to pay to go into Matthias Church (one of the two major churches that tourists will want to see). Instead, wait until the evening Mass. Then you’ll get to see the interior of the church and enjoy the lovely organ.
  3. The subway has incredibly long escalators going down. It’s also extremely fast, and if you’re trying to visit multiple sites in one day, certainly worth a day pass.
  4. Our hotel, the Buda Castle Fashion Hotel, was an excellent deal, situated right in the heart of Buda Castle Hill, within a few blocks of major tourist sites, and had great staff. Also, we got a free upgrade to a 2-bedroom suite after being selected as the “Guest of the Day”. Highly recommended if you’re thinking of going.
  5. Hungarian spelling is really weird.

Enjoy our pics below!

MailChimpI have a mailing list now, which you can use to sign up for updates and release notices from me. This might be a good option for those of you who don’t use RSS to follow the blog, or want less frequent updates.

(This has actually been in place for a few months, but I barely publicized it at all, so I figured I should mention it to blog readers who might not have noticed.)

Minicon 50
I spent all this last weekend at Minicon 50. Brief summary: best con I ever went to.

To be fair, I haven’t been to very many cons. I attended Potlatch several times, and I traveled to Vancouver for V-Con once. Minicon is actually at an awkward time (Easter weekend), but since I’ll be moving later this summer, and since the guest lineup was amazing, I made time to go this weekend. It was totally worth it.

This was the first con that I’ve gone to as a professional author. This was the attitude I took: I’m not a fan who wants to write; I’m not an aspiring writer; I’m a professional who has published a book and a bunch of short stories and I deserve every part of the credit that this implies. I’m still a writer at the beginning of my career, for sure, but that doesn’t mean I have to sell myself short on what I have accomplished so far.

This turned out to be a really good headspace for attending the con. First, I was there with Big Names. Brandon Sanderson and Larry Niver were the author guests of honor, Michael Whelan was the artist guest, and Tom Doherty was the publisher guest. You’d be hard pressed to find a more illustrious set of four people in the SFF industry than that. And that’s not all: other attendees of the con included Emma Bull, Lois Bujold, and Steven Brust. There was room to be intimidated. But why would I be intimidated? While I don’t for a moment claim to be on the same level as Sanderson and Niven, I am in the same category: professional writers.

So I’m coming back from the consuite on Saturday morning, with a little breakfast for myself and my kids, and I see Tom Doherty coming back from his morning swim at the same time. We got in the same elevator, and we talked about: my book, the editors at Tor and what they like, his morning swim, and my kids. Totally professional. And then I got to squee about having made a literal elevator pitch to Tom Doherty, without appearing to be an ass.

(An aside: the consuite was amazing. They had a ridiculous amount of food, much of it very good, and they didn’t run out. It was possible to eat three actual meals at the consuite without feeling like you were hogging the food.)

On Friday night there was a Magic: The Gathering draft hosted with none other than Brandon Sanderson, and let me warn you that the rest of this paragraph is not going to be terribly interesting if you don’t know anything about Magic. This was my first draft with DTK, and it was tons of fun, a little simpler than Khans, but with some cool archetypes such as the Exploit deck (which I wound up drafting). The person passing to me opened a foil Sarkhan and a Dragonlord Silumgar, which meant that I got the Silumgar, which turned into the backbone on a pretty decent UB deck with a lot of Exploit and removal. I went 2-1, losing only to the aforementioned foil Sarkhan, and then, at the end, I sat down for a bonus match against Sanderson…. except that he had to go to dinner. He promised me a game later.

I kept him to that, politely reminding him of his promise and getting him to sit down with me on Sunday afternoon after a panel. It was a brief game in which I talked again about my writing, got some advice on the agent/editor front, chatted about Magic, and otherwise got in everything I would have wanted. I wasn’t directly looking for an agent or editor referral from him (he has never read anything I’ve written, so he could hardly do that), but he was helpful and encouraging and generally very nice. This actually sums up his entire demeanor for the whole weekend. The vibe I got from him was that he is very practiced at being the biggest name at a con, so in many cases it felt like he was giving canned/boilerplate recommendations, not because he didn’t care, but because everyone wanted a bit of his time and he wanted to be considerate without killing himself. As another professional artist, that was an attitude I could respect.

Then there were tons of individual bits of insight and advice. Sanderson is more prolific than I had thought, and he got me thinking about some ways to increase my own productivity and create more things for people to buy. Also, the single best quote of the weekend: “When you become a writer, you are becoming a small business owner.” (Sanderson Megacorp employs six people!) There was a terrifically fun panel about coffee on Saturday morning, some really interesting reminisces from Doherty about the history and state of the SFF publishing industry, and good conversations with other writers and fans. I talked to several people about both Storm Bride and my upcoming works Heir of Iron and its sequels. I did everything I wanted to accomplish.

Finally I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how great the Rumpus Room was. It was the children’s area, and they had a fantastic array of toys, games, and activities scheduled every half-hour. My kids were with me, and they would head into the Rumpus Room when I went to my first panel, and they never wanted to leave, what with all the paper airplanes and sock puppets and candy sculptures they were making. This was without a doubt the most kid-friendly con I’d ever been to.

This was Minicon’s 50th anniversary, and apparently it was about twice as large as last year’s con. I’d definitely come again next year, but I won’t be in the country then. Still, if you’re ever in the area, I’d heartily recommend it.

Starting tomorrow I’ll be in Minneapolis (or, technically, Bloomington) for Minicon 50! And look at the list of illustrious guests:

  • Tom Doherty, publisher of Tor
  • Larry Niven, classic SFF author and Magic card
  • Michael Whelan, illustrator of approximately 100% of the best fantasy book covers you’ve ever seen
  • Brandon Sanderson, epic fantasy juggernaut

Oh, and me. If you see me, say hi! I’ll get in on Friday afternoon and be there through Sunday afternoon.

Vorkosigan

So this pile of books is pretty much the entire Vorkosigan saga, pieced together from various omnibuses and singletons available at my local bookstore. The only ones missing, I think, are The Vor Game and The Warrior’s Apprentice (the first two starring Miles himself), and I’ll probably just skip those.

But anyway. The purpose of this post is not to let you know what I’m reading, but rather to quote something at you from Bujold’s afterword to Cordelia’s Honor:

All great human deeds both consume and transform their doers. Consider an athlete, or a scientist, or an artist, or an independent business creator. In service of their goals they lay down time and energy and many other choices and pleasures; in return, they become most truly themselves. A false destiny may be spotted by the fact that it consumes without transforming, without giving back the enlarged self. Becoming a parent is one of these basic human transformational deeds. By this act, we change our fundamental relationship with the universe–if nothing else, we lose our place as the pinnacle and end-point of evolution, and become a mere link. The demands of motherhood especially consume the old self, and replace it with something new, often better and wiser, sometimes wearier or disillusioned, or tense and terrified, certainly more self-knowing, but never the same again.

It is not coincidental that Storm Bride (coming out this winter!) contains many of these same themes.