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Blog entries on '13 September 2006'

Wednesday 13 September 2006

A coming Blanchot

Good pal of RSB, Blanchot translator Charlotte Mandell has been working her wonders again. Charlotte's translation of A Voice from Elsewhere (Lydia Davis says, "This welcome new volume, beautifully translated, is an essential addition to our library of Blanchot in English") is due out from SUNY Press in February. So, Valentine's Day gifts are not going to be a problem next year then!

A Voice from Elsewhere represents one of Maurice Blanchot’s most important reflections on the enigma and secret of “literature.” The essays here bear down on the necessity and impossibility of witnessing what literature transmits, and—like Beckett and Kafka—on what one might call the “default” of language, the tenuous border that binds writing and silence to each other. In addition to considerations of René Char, Paul Celan, and Michel Foucault, Blanchot offers reflections on Lyotard’s work, together with a sustained encounter with the poems of Louis-René des Forêts and, throughout, a unique and important concentration on music—on the lyre and the lyric, meter and measure—which poetry in particular brings before us.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Wednesday 13 September 2006


I met the guys behind Transmission, Dan McTiernan and Graham Foster, at the Manchester Independent Book Market, back on the 2nd September:

Transmission is one of the most exciting and innovative literature magazines being printed in Manchester. Established as a not-for-profit venture, the creators of Transmission are dedicated to providing a high quality medium for aspiring writers and artists to display their talents. The publication combines original and varied writing with quality illustration and snappy design.

Certainly, the Transmission boys are trying to do an interesting thing, combining new, local (North of England-based writers) work (of mixed quality) with a fairly literary magazine (eg interviews with Sarah Waters and Anthony Burgess´s new biographer Andrew Biswell and writing guidance from RSB interviewee Michael Schmidt). I'm not convinced yet, however, that they've fully proved themselves. What would be nice was if the contents for the sold-out early issues were put online, then you'd all be able to check it out.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Wednesday 13 September 2006

Red the Fiend

The matchless Dalkey Archive Press have just released their latest Gilbert Sorrentino novel, Red the Fiend: "a recasting of Sorrentino’s Aberration of Starlight, this is the story of how a child becomes a monster: of how Red the boy becomes Red the Fiend."

This reminds me that I never mentioned Derik A. Badman's online comic Elegy for G.S. (which is in the latest The Quarterly Conversation). And it also reminds me that I need to do some work on the RSB Gilbert Sorrentino minisite and on my other minisites too.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Wednesday 13 September 2006

Thanks! But please stop now!

Many of you, it would seem, have very kindly nominated RSB for inclusion in the Manchester Blog Awards ("winners will be announced at an awards ceremony during the Manchester Literature Festival, at Urbis, on October 16 at 7pm.") Happily, RSB is now well and truly nominated (and "nominations do not count as votes") so, please, don't concern yourselves any further with nominating RSB -- that is now done and dusted -- just keep your fingers crossed that we get shortlisted "in early October."

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Books of the Week

Edward Carpenter Edward Carpenter
Chushichi Tsuzuki
Cambridge University Press

This is the first full-scale biography of Edward Carpenter, an 'eminent Victorian' who played an intriguing role in the revival of Socialism in Britain in the late nineteenth century. 'A worthy heir of Carlyle and Ruskin', as Tolstoy called him, Carpenter tackled boldly the problems of alienation under the pressures of commercial civilisation, and developed a strongly personalised brand of Socialism which inspired both the Labour Party and its enemies, Syndicalism and Anarchism. A homosexual, he grappled with the problems of sexual alienation above all, and emerged as the foremost advocate of the homosexual cause at a time when it was a social 'taboo'. This study, based upon letters and many other personal documents, reveals much of Carpenter's personal life which has hitherto remained obscure, including his 'comradeship' with some of his working-men friends and his influence upon such notable literary figures as Siegfried Sassoon, E. M. Forster and D. H. Lawrence.

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Vigilant Memory Vigilant Memory
R. Clifton Spargo
Johns Hopkins University Press

Vigilant Memory: Emmanuel Levinas, the Holocaust, and the Unjust Death focuses on the particular role of Emmanuel Levinas's thought in reasserting the ethical parameters for poststructuralist criticism in the aftermath of the Holocaust. More than simply situating Levinas's ethics within the larger context of his philosophy, R. Clifton Spargo offers a new explanation of its significance in relation to history. In critical readings of the limits and also the heretofore untapped possibilities of Levinasian ethics, Spargo explores the impact of the Holocaust on Levinas's various figures of injustice while examining the place of mourning, the bad conscience, the victim, and the stranger/neighbor as they appear in Levinas's work. Ultimately, Spargo ranges beyond Levinas's explicit philosophical or implicit political positions to calculate the necessary function of the "memory of injustice" in our cultural and political discourses on the characteristics of a just society.

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Poem of the Week

Cousin Nancy

Miss Nancy Ellicott
Strode across the hills and broke them,
Rode across the hills and broke them --
The barren New England hills --
Riding to hounds
Over the cow-pasture.

Miss Nancy Ellicott smoked
And danced all the modern dances;
And her aunts were not quite sure how they felt about it,
But they knew that it was modern.

Upon the glazen shelves kept watch
Matthew and Waldo, guardians of the faith,
The army of unalterable law.

-- TS Eliot
Collected Poems 1909-62 (Faber and Faber)

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Word of the Day


Part of a book published in installments. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary was published in fascicles. more …

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October's Books of the Month

Everything Passes Everything Passes
Gabriel Josipovici
Auschwitz Report Auschwitz Report
Primo Levi

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