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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Friday 11 November 2005

Damon and Naomi

Back in the day, my favourite band were Breathless who were, it was said, a bit like a British Galaxie 500. Damon and Naomi, the good folk behind Galaxie 500, have a wonderful newish album out The Earth Is Blue (okay, it was out in March, but I've only just got hold of a copy!) on their new label 20/20/20.


Damon and Naomi are also behind the excellent small press Exact Change (about whom more information can be gleaned from the Modern Word site).


Exact Change's most recent title is Fernando Pessoa's The Education of the Stoic: The Only Manuscript of the Baron of Teive:


Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) was a multitude of writers: his works were composed by "heteronyms," alter egos with distinct biographies, ideologies, influences, even horoscopes. The Education of the Stoic is the only work left by the Baron of Teive, who, having destroyed all his previous attempts at literary creation, and about to destroy himself, explains "the impossibility of producing superior art."

The baron's manuscript is found in a hotel-room drawer - not unlike editor and translator Richard Zenith's own discovery, while conducting research in the Pessoa archives, of a small black notebook whose contents had never been transcribed. In it he found the missing pieces of this short but trenchant complement to Pessoa's major prose work, The Book of Disquiet. Pessoa himself noted that despite their dialectical differences, the middle-class author of The Book of Disquiet (assistant bookkeeper Bernardo Soares) and the aristocrat Teive, "are two instances of the very same phenomenon -- an inability to adapt to real life."

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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