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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"

Wednesday 16 May 2007

Around the 'sphere

A few links for you:


  • The Millions blog on Clive James (via enowning):

    To the extent that they endorsed or downplayed (respectively) totalitarian regimes, Heidegger and Sartre could be seen to have fallen short of their own philosophies. But to reach this nuanced verdict, one has to have actually tried to understand the philosophies in question, and James can't be bothered with philosophy (not a great quality in a cultural critic). Even Hegel and Kant get his goat. I had always thought of the anti-intellectualism and paranoia as a combination peculiar to the American far right, but apparently it can afflict Aussie humanists, too.

  • Benjamin Markovits on Henry James: The Complete Letters:

    The fact that we still like him as much in his confident maturity as we did in his hesitant youth may have something to do with the sweet, dull, generous, loving loneliness of the role he has been cast in here: a man on his own, thinking of others, and sitting down to write them a letter.

  • The US-based initiative Reading The World is back this June:

    Reading The World is an exciting collaboration between booksellers and publishers interested in bringing international voices to the attention of readers like you. As a result, throughout the month of June and beyond, many independent bookstores across the country will be displaying the titles found on the following pages. These forty books represent some of the most exciting literature being written outside the United States. From Lithuania to Iraq, from Norway to Chile, the writers offer an excellent introduction to a variety of cultures and ideas found outside our borders—ideas and cultures that we must have access to in order to understand our world.

  • On July 3rd, to mark the publication of her novel Guilty, Peter Owen are going to hold an Anna Kavan evening at the London Review Bookshop. Brain Aldiss, Doris Lessing Virginia Ironside and Christopher Priest will be holding a panel discussion about Kavan's life and work amidst a few brief readings.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Serendipoetry

Memorial Tablet

Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight,
(Under Lord Derby’s Scheme). I died in hell—
(They called it Passchendaele). My wound was slight,
And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.

At sermon-time, while Squire is in his pew,
He gives my gilded name a thoughtful stare:
For, though low down upon the list, I’m there;
‘In proud and glorious memory’... that’s my due.
Two bleeding years I fought in France, for Squire:
I suffered anguish that he’s never guessed.
Once I came home on leave: and then went west...
What greater glory could a man desire?

-- Siegfried Sassoon
Collected Poems (Faber and Faber)

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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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