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ReadySteadyBlog

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

Blog entries on '27 September 2006'

Wednesday 27 September 2006

Joseph Koerner interview

I'm going to be posting an interview here on RSB with the superb art historian Professor Joseph Leo Koerner later this week. In the meantime, to whet your appetites, here is Eamon Duffy reviewing Koerner's excellent The Reformation of the Image (from the LRB):


Joseph Koerner's scintillating, learned and eloquent book explores this shift [art as no longer sacred, but instead offering an alternative form of textuality, mere food for thought] by an extended investigation of the method and meaning of Cranach's Lutheran paintings, especially the monumental altarpiece he painted for Luther's own church, the Stadkirche at Wittenberg, installed there in 1547 as a memorial to the first and greatest of the reformers. Koerner sees in this altarpiece the key to a new aesthetic, which preserved art by turning it into a form of pious self-effacement, enacting its own theological redundancy by presenting itself as a mere system of useful signs, not so much an alternative as a supplement to text, a vehicle for information and affirmation of the new gospel. Emptied of emotion and of claims to transcendence, Lutheran art represented the sacred not by confronting the visible church with images of the invisible church, a company of the saints caught up in a heavenly worship (as in Catholic altarpieces such as Duccio's Maestà or van Eyck's Ghent Adoration of the Lamb), but by depicting the quotidian activities of the visible church itself.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Wednesday 27 September 2006

New Tom Waits CD

Ooh goody: "Tom Waits will release a CD called Orphans, due out for 21 November. The three CD's called Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards will contain coversongs and material made for film and theaterproductions, 'rough and tender tunes', according to Waits." (Via Musique Machine.)

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Wednesday 27 September 2006

Kierkegaard book auction

From Yahoo!: "Unique Kierkegaard book on auction after 150-year search":


A book by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, featuring a handwritten dedication to Denmark's famed storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, is to be sold at auction after a 150-year search around the globe.

Newspaper Jyllands-Posten said the dedication in Either/Or was the only hard evidence of direct contact between two of Denmark's biggest literary figures, and described the sale of the highly sought-after copy as a cultural and historic sensation.

Jyllands-Posten itself goes on to say:


Although Søren Kierkegaard and Hans Christian Andersen were contemporaries - most likely rubbing shoulders in Copenhagen's intellectual circles during Denmark's Golden Age of the 1840s - their relationship had been merely speculative. At least until the discovery of the book.

Several years ago, scholars had discovered an effusive 'thank you' letter signed by Andersen among Kierkegaard's papers, but the book itself remained elusive.

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

fascicle

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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