The Dancing Bear

As a rule, yours (very) truly takes a big dollop of pleasure in knowing just a little something about the authors I’m reading to you. Where there are exceptions, they are serious exceptions, resuscitated from beyond the brink and leaving their snot in my mouth.

And today’s could be considered one of those exceptions except I expect one of you may be able to present me with A Clue. And so, consider this a Bedtime Story Challenge: ply me with the choicest bits of biographical enumeration on tonight’s author, and I will ply you with a brand new novel, of my choice (but you know my taste is a good one) from me to you, courtesy of the mailperson. There are no rules other than that- the most thorough and confirmable (or alternatively, the most outrageous) bits of triviata about This Ms Barsony wins the prize. Hip hip storytime.

6 thoughts on “The Dancing Bear”

  1. It is so good to have you back. In the week since I discovered your podcast I have been listening to your old shows and awaiting the next installment. Thank you for your company.

  2. Based on context alone, I would say Belorussian? You had to pick one that hasn’t been Wikipediaed. But it’s a start.

    I’ll have you know that the construct “Wikipediaed” only came about after thinking to myself, how would Miette say it?


  3. At the risk of politicizing this comments section, I wanted to ask Miette and the other listeners what their opinions are on listening to stories as opposed to reading them. I know, most of us don’t consider it an either-or issue but as someone who up until a year ago was a snob when it came to only enjoying books in physical, visual format, I am often haunted by my former, snobbier opinions—opinions that often are voiced by friends and colleagues. “You ‘listen’ to audio books?”
    As if this puts me with the NASCAR and Kool-Aid crowd.
    I’ve searched the internet but I cannot find a serious, unbiased study of how our brains work h when reading vs. listening to literature. Perhaps this is a question for a linguist? Any linguists out there? Is Chomsky too busy? I’ll paste below a link to a NYTimes article that broaches the subject but doesn’t do much more than that.

    Also, I would like to ad that when writing this comment, I felt deeply insecure, hearing Miette’s knowing, superior voice in my head the entire time I was writing. Now I know how my students feel, and why they would rather sometimes go to NASCAR and drink Kool-aid than risk putting their thoughts out there.

    What goes around comes around.

  4. Did you ever find anything out about this author? The only bad detective work I did told me that the story was Hungarian. Some baby names site explained that “Etienne” was a man’s name, and French for “Stephen”. More Googling uncovered a Hungarian man named “Stephen Barsony” who wrote a book called “The Chamaeleon Girl, and other stories.” in the early 1900’s. So…no real clues, no nothing. But I tried!

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