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

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Blog entries on '03 September 2005'

Saturday 03 September 2005

Lost Books

Stuart Kelly's The Book of Lost Books looks like good fun. Sebastian Faulks, writing in the Times, begins his review:

One of the best stories in Stuart Kelly's excellent account of all the great books that have been lost to posterity concerns the 4th-century BC Greek dramatist Menander. He was revered by Julius Caesar and Quintilian among others as second only to Homer — a sort of early realist, witty, humane and profound. He was the source of the only non-scriptural quotation in St Paul's writing, and, although all his work had been lost, he enjoyed a holy place in the critical pantheon for more than two millennia.

Fascinating stuff!

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Saturday 03 September 2005


Writing in Modern literature and the experience of time (published in the out-of-print The Modern English Novel), Gabriel Josipovici argues:

The principles of fragmentation and discontinuity, of repetition and spiralling, which we found underlying the works of Kafka, Eliot, Stevens, Proust and Robbe-Grillet do not reveal anything so banal as the final disintegration of the western imagination. What they reveal is the potential in each moment, each word, each gesture and each event, a potential denied by the linear way we live our lives and read our books ... for this very reason there is something deeply worrying to the critic about such art.

I've been thinking about this whilst reading Coetzee's Slow Man, although it isn't time's linearity that Coetzee is disrupting in his latest novel.

And I've also been thinking about Jeanette Winterson's comments, quoted by Scott:

19th-century novels are fabulous and we should all read them, but we shouldn't write them.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Omens, after Alexander Pushkin

I rode to meet you: dreams
like living beings swarmed around me
and the moon on my right side
followed me, burning.

I rode back: everything changed.
My soul in love was sad
and the moon on my left side
trailed me without hope.

To such endless impressions
we poets give ourselves absolutely,
making, in silence, omen of mere event,
until the world reflects the deepest needs of the soul.

-- Louise Gluck
Averno (Carcanet Press)

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Word of the Day

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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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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