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segunda-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2013

Pride and Prejudice: 200th anniversary

The novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was first published on 28th January 1813.
According to the BBC, only in the UK, 50 000 copies of the novel are sold annually. The success story of the novel, which is set in rural England at the beginning of the XIX century, is undoubtedly due to its strong characters, like proud Mr Darcy and romantic Elizabeth Bennet… 

The novel was adapted several times to cinema and TV. In 1995, the BBC’s adaptation which was enacted by Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle did also much to popularize Pride and Prejudice.

Jane Austen (1775 - 1817)

Jane Austen was an English novelist whose books, set among the English middle and upper classes, are notable for their wit, social observation and insights into the lives of early 19th century women.

Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775 in the village of Steventon in Hampshire. She was one of eight children of a clergyman and grew up in a close-knit family. She began to write as a teenager. In 1801 the family moved to Bath. After the death of Jane's father in 1805 Jane, her sister Cassandra and their mother moved several times eventually settling in Chawton, near Steventon.

Jane's brother Henry helped her negotiate with a publisher and her first novel, 'Sense and Sensibility', appeared in 1811. Her next novel 'Pride and Prejudice', which she described as her "own darling child" received highly favourable reviews. 'Mansfield Park' was published in 1814, then 'Emma' in 1816. 'Emma' was dedicated to the prince regent, an admirer of her work. All of Jane Austen's novels were published anonymously.

In 1816, Jane began to suffer from ill-health, probably due to Addison's disease. She travelled to Winchester to receive treatment, and died there on 18 July 1817. Two more novels, 'Persuasion' and 'Northanger Abbey' were published posthumously and a final novel was left incomplete.


sábado, 26 de janeiro de 2013


Australia is the biggest island in the world. It is is not included in the list of the largest islands because it  is defined as a continent rather than an island (then the answer would be Greenland). It is both a country and a continent that is low and flat (only 5% of the land is above 600 metres). Most of the country is hot and dry, especially in the centre that is called outback. In some parts it sometimes doesn´t rain for years. Few people live in these areas, but there are large sheep and cattle farms called stations (Australia produces 25 % of the world´s wool – there are around 10 sheep per person). Alice Springs is the largest outback town. Most people live in the south and south-east parts of the country, in the large cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, where the summers are warm and the winters not too cold.
The capital is Canberra- an Aboriginal word meaning “meeting place”. It is the newest city of all.
Although Australia is a big country, almost as big as the USA, the population of Australia is only about 17 million.

The Aborigines
The first people in Australia were the Aborigines, a name given by British to people they found there, when captain James Cook landed on the east coast in 1770. They also demanded the land for Britain and soon began sending convicts to the new country.

Australia Day is on 26 January. It is an official holiday  celebrating national pride and culture.

Strange and beautiful

Uluru or Ayres Rock

It is an enormous rock (3 km long and 348 metres high) 600 million years old. The best time to see it is at the end of the day, when its colour changes from yellow to gold, red and then purple.

The Great Barrier Reef

It is the world´s longest coral reef.


Alice Springs Boat Race

The “boatsmen” stand inside the boats and carry them as they run along the dry river.


The kangaroo is one Australian animal that everybody knows. It can jump more than 4 metres and travel at 70km an hour.

Koalas drink almost nothing. The word itself means “no water”. They live in eucalyptus trees, sleep for 18 hours, and eat one kilo of leaves every day.

In the seas and rivers of northern Australia we can find crocodiles that are 6 metres long. They eat fish, kangaroos…and sometimes people.

Idioms (1)

idiom (n): an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made

There’s no business like show business...
Idioms related to the world of theatre…

The show must go on!
Something you say when everything is going wrong but you have to carry on regardless.
“Our lunch guests arrived and we had burnt the food and dropped the bottle of wine. But hey, the show must go on! We made some sandwiches
and turned it into a picnic!”

Break a leg!
Saying “good luck” to somebody before they perform on stage is considered bad luck! Instead we say “break a leg!”.
“I hope your performance in Romeo and Juliet goes well. Break a leg!”

The show isn’t over until the fat lady sings!
Something you say when something seems like it is going to happen one way, but there’s still a small possibility of it happening differently.
“There are only ten minutes left to go in the game,and Chelsea are winning 2-1, but the show isn’t over until the fat lady sings! Anything could happen!”

Set the stage (for something)
When one thing provides context or prepares you for something else, we say that it sets the stage.
“The first meeting really set the stage for the discussions we had at the last meeting.”

Be/Take centre stage
If something or somebody takes centre stage they become the main focus of attention.
“A new collection of electric cars will take centre stage at next month’s exhibition of new technology.”

(to be) In the spotlight
To be the centre of attention.
“Celebrities complain about the disadvantages of fame and their lack of privacy, but I think they just love being in the spotlight!”

A drama queen!
If someone is a drama queen, they love making a mountain out of a molehill and being the one in the spotlight.
 “She wouldn’t leave the house just because it was raining a little. She’s such a drama queen!”.


information taken from

Clever-Pants Newsletter January 2013

translate them into

Marco Cianfanelli´s monument to Mandela

South african artist Marco Cianfanelli, who was born in 1970, in Johannesburg, has constructed a monument to recognize the 50 year anniversary of peace activist and politician Nelson Mandela's capture by the apartheid police in 1962. The sculpture consists of 50 steel columns which represent the 50 years since his capture, but they also suggest the idea of many making the whole.The shape and form of the sculpture are also representative of the leader's 27 years behind bars for his efforts to bring equal rights and governmental representation to the once racially divided nation. The front of the sculpture is a portrait of Mandela. 

The statue was erected in the countryside , in Howick, a town located 90 kilometers south from the city of Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

terça-feira, 22 de janeiro de 2013

President Obama: Swearing-in Ceremony

Barack Obama took the Oath of Office for his second term as President of the United States 

President Barack Obama issued a call to unity in his second inaugural address, urging the nation to move past the divisions that marked the last four years in politics and told the thousands of people attending the ceremony that “our journey is not complete” .

Today's ceremonies coincided with the federal holiday honouring Martin Luther King, Jr. Obama used one of King's Bibles during today's inauguration.

segunda-feira, 21 de janeiro de 2013

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) foi um dos mais importantes ativistas do movimento dos direitos civis dos negros nos Estados Unidos da América (EUA). Constitui uma figura muito relevante na história do seu país e um símbolo mundial contra o racismo e da igualdade de direitos.

Em 1947, foi ordenado pastor batista. No início da sua carreira, em 1955, liderou o boicote aos autocarros de Montgomery (cidade do estado do Alabama, no sul dos EUA) para protestar contra a segregação racial existente nos transportes públicos, conseguindo alcançar projecção nacional para um incidente, que se registara naquela localidade. Tudo começara quando Rosa Parks, uma costureira negra de 42 anos, se recusou a ceder o seu lugar no autocarro a um passageiro branco: “estou cansada e doem-me os pés” disse ao motorista, o qual chamou a polícia, que a levou presa. Imediatamente a notícia percorreu a cidade. O boicote, que durou de 1 de dezembro de 1955 a 21 de dezembro de 1956, foi um sucesso. King salientou, de forma enfática junto da opinião pública americana, que nenhum negro entrou num autocarro. Conseguiu sair vitorioso, ao ser decretada a ilegalidade da segregação racial nos transportes. Contudo, a sua vida foi ameaçada diversas vezes e a sua casa atacada. 

Em 1957, fundou a SCLP (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) composta essencialmente por comunidades negras ligadas a igrejas batistas e tornou-se o seu primeiro presidente. Era apologista dos ideais pacifistas do grande patriota indiano Mahatma Gandhi, cuja enorme capacidade de mobilização das populações em manifestações e protestos pacíficos muito contribuíram para a independência da Índia. Em 1963, organiza uma grande manifestação em Washington (conhecida como March on Washington), durante a qual profere o seu célebre discurso “I have a dream”, a partir do monumento à memória do Presidente Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), perante uma enorme multidão. Em 1963, recebe o Prémio Nobel da Paz pelo combate à desigualdade racial através da não-violência.

Man of the year 1964

Muitos dos seus ideais como a igualdade dos direitos civis e o combate à pobreza das populações negras americanas foram alcançados durante o mandato do presidente Lyndon Johnson (1963-69). Todavia, continuou a contestar a participação dos EUA na guerra do Vietnam.

Martin Luther King foi assassinado em 4 de abril de 1968, em Memphis, Tennessee. 

O dia do nascimento de Martin Luther King, Jr. foi declarado feriado nacional pelo Congresso dos EUA e celebrou-se pela primeira vez em 1986. Hoje em dia, comemora-se na terceira segunda-feira de janeiro.

domingo, 20 de janeiro de 2013

Tormes e Eça de Queirós

A Quinta e casa de Vila Nova, em Santa Cruz do Douro, couberam como herança a Emília de Castro, mulher de Eça de Queirós, após o falecimento da sogra do escritor, em 1890.

Ficam na bela serra da Aboreira, debruçada sobre o rio Douro, podendo dali admirar-se uma linda vista dos montes e vales da região. Em 1892, Eça visitou a propriedade pela primeira vez.

A visita ou a peregrinação regional queirosiana devem começar pela estação de caminho-de-ferro de Caldas de Aregos, hoje em dia denominada Tormes-Aregos.

A estação em dezembro 2012

 Eça de Queirós era ali esperado pelo caseiro e começou a subir, a cavalo, o caminho íngreme da serra, que conduzia à quinta.

Quando lá chegou, ficou desiludido com a moradia. Estava abandonada e era usada como celeiro. 

Escreveu então à mulher, a qual estava em Paris onde Eça era cônsul: 

“Enquanto a casa é feia, muito feia; e à fachada mesmo pode-se aplicar, sem injustiça, a designação de hedionda.

Tem  um arco enorme; e por baixo dele, duas escadas paralelas, que são de um mau gosto incomparável" (Matos, 14)

Jardim da casa em agosto 2011

Ao chegar, esfomeado, foi-lhe servido arroz de favas com frango alourado, provavelmente na mesa retangular, que pode ser apreciada no vestíbulo da entrada.

 Aliás, era bem escasso o mobiliário: 

                       um arcaz de sacristia, 

uma cadeira de couro de espaldar alto, conhecida por “cadeira de Jacinto”, também colocadas, hoje em dia, no átrio da porta principal. 

Existe ainda dos tempos dessa primeira visita de Eça de Queiroz uma mesa redonda de abas na sala-biblioteca.

Em 1898, Eça visitou novamente a propriedade, cujo estado de conservação era o mesmo e convenceu-se da sua inabitabilidade. Dormiu no único quarto com vidraças, hoje a sala da Cabaia de Mandarim, oferta do conde de Arnoso.


A casa de Tormes, nome literário do solar de Jacinto no romance “A Cidade e as Serras” acabou por nunca ser utilizada para passar férias com a família (Eça morreu em Paris em 16 de agosto de 1900), mas abriga parte do mobiliário da sua residência de Paris: a secretária onde escrevia de pé, a cama, a mobília da casa de jantar e muitos objetos de uso pessoal. 

Eça utilizava as namoradeiras para escrever

                                      Fogão na cozinha

Podem ainda admirar-se quadros fantásticos como “Aurora”, oferecido pelo próprio pintor Carlos Reis (1863-1940) ao escritor, em 1892, “Mulher da Rega” da autoria da rainha D. Amélia, “Monte Alentejano” do próprio Rei D. Carlos e o retrato do seu avô paterno, de autor desconhecido.
Retrato do avô de Eça

Além da paisagem deslumbrante que se alcança da propriedade, a visita guiada à Fundação Eça de Queiroz na Casa de Vila Nova, permite um percurso próximo e nostálgico com a figura e a memória de um dos maiores e mais lidos escritores portugueses.

Eça na Casa do Silvério, da fundação Eça de Queirós

Sintra no tempo de Eça de Queirós

Matos, A. Campos. A Casa de Tormes. Livros Horizonte, 2006

Death comes to Pemberley

Inspired by a lifelong passion for Jane Austen, the successful crime writer P. D. James masterfully re-creates the world of Pride and Prejudice and imagines life at Pemberley after the marriage of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy...

sábado, 19 de janeiro de 2013

30 000

Total de Visualizações: 30 034

Mensagens com mais visualizações (top 5)

Visualizações de páginas por país (top 5)

Estados Unidos
Reino Unido

terça-feira, 15 de janeiro de 2013

A Vírgula

I have just received an email about the comma:

Vírgula pode ser uma pausa... ou não.
Não, espere.
Não espere.

 Ela pode sumir com seu dinheiro.
 Ela pode ser a solução.
 Vamos perder, nada foi resolvido.
 Vamos perder nada, foi resolvido.
 A vírgula muda uma opinião.
 Não queremos saber.
 Não, queremos saber.

 A vírgula pode condenar ou salvar.
 Não tenha clemência!
 Não, tenha clemência!
It reminded me of my old post Punctuation Saves Lives 

A woman, without her man, is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing

Charles the First walked and talked half an hour after his head was cut off.
Charles the First walked and talked. Half an hour after, his head was cut off.

segunda-feira, 14 de janeiro de 2013

Golden Globe Awards 2013: List of Winners

Anne Hathaway

Argo, the story of the dramatic rescue of American diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis, and Les Miserables, an adaptation of the Broadway musical, were the big winners at this year's Golden Globes. 

Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical:

Les Miserables 

Best Motion Picture, Drama:


Best Director, Motion Picture: 

Ben Affleck, Argo 

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln 

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama: 

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty 

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical:

Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables 

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook 

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables 

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Movie:

Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey 

Best Original Song, Motion Picture:

Skyfall – Skyfall 


Bill Clinton and Lincoln director Steven Spielberg have long been close friends. Nevertheless it was a big surprise to see, the 42nd U.S. president introduce the 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.

The first official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge

Artist Paul Emsley was chosen to paint the first official portrait of The Duchess of Cambridge, which was unveiled on 11 January 2013 in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Paul Emsley said: “The Duchess explained that she would like to be portrayed naturally - her natural self - as opposed to her official self. She struck me as enormously open and generous and a very warm person.” 

domingo, 13 de janeiro de 2013


The capital of the Portuguese Gothic, which I visited today.

 Marvila Church

S. João de Alporão Church

A view of the Tagus river from Portas do Sol

The day wouldn´t have been complete without trying Pampilho, one of the region´s delicacies. I was told it represents the stick that farmers from Ribatejo used to walk with.

sexta-feira, 4 de janeiro de 2013

Les Misérables

This movie is good for those who have never had the chance to see the Broadway show. Furthermore, anyone who is fond of the Broadway musical will like the film as it follows the musical step by step. 

The only fault I found was the actor who plays Javert, Russel Crowe. I don´t think his voice or his acting were suitable for the strong character he perfomed.

As for Anne Hathaway 


Hugh Jackman I enjoyed them very much as well as the two actors in supporting roles: Daniel Huttlestone and Eddiee Redmayne. 

The ending is extremely touching