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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 '06 October 2005'

Thursday 06 October 2005


I've just come across the 92YBlog (the blog of the 92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association) which informs me of the death (see the Guardian obituary) of August Wilson (1945-2005).

Multiple award-winning playwright August Wilson died Sunday of liver cancer. His ten-play “Pittsburgh cycle"—completed earlier this year—chronicled the African-American experience in the 20th century, with a play for each decade. It was his life’s work.

They also have an interview with Ken Follett about the history of the thriller/spy novel and an interview with ex-US Labor Secretary Robert Reich about Barbara Ehrenreich’s new book on white-collar unemployment.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Thursday 06 October 2005

Edge of the Orison

Robert MacFarlane's Psychogeography: a beginner's guide is worth taking a look at. It is his review of Iain Sinclair's latest outing Edge of the Orison. Subtitled In the traces of John Clare's "Journey out of Essex", MacFarlane writes:

In 1841, Clare escaped from the High Beach Asylum in Epping Forest and, over a three-and-a-half-day “hallucinatory voyage”, walked the 120 miles north-west to his home county of Northamptonshire. Shortly after arrival, he was recommitted to a local asylum, where he remained until his death in 1864. Sinclair follows Clare’s route (the pun of “syn-Clare” is implicit throughout this pun-riddled book) and uses the counterpoint of the earlier journey to meditate on, among other things, the politics of land use, doppelgängers, genealogy and the future of the English countryside. In Sinclair’s visionary account, Clare’s tilt into madness – induced by the landscape changes which the Enclosure Acts wrought – becomes a parable for the fall of rural England, and the psychic maladies suffered throughout contemporary Britain.

See also the John Clare blog and John Clare by Himself (which brings together all of John Clare's autobiographical writing).

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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