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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 '15 March 2006'

Wednesday 15 March 2006

More on Celan

Ellis Sharp responds to discussion here at RSB and at This-Space (note, particularly, Amie's comments) about his The Complicity of Paul Celan.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Wednesday 15 March 2006

Not One More Death

To be "rushed out in time for the 3rd anniversary of the declaration of war on 20th March and the major international demonstrations on 18th March", Verso (in collaboration with the Stop the War Coalition) are just about to release Not One More Death: "Luminaries of literature, science and music unite in their condemnation of the unjust war on Iraq and its disastrous occupation":

John le Carré attacks Tony Blair’s attempts to save the US and UK’s special relationship by giving legitimacy to the war; Richard Dawkins writes of the terrifying discourse of Good and Evil that dominates the Bush government’s thinking; Brian Eno tears apart the alleged reasons for the war and makes a compelling argument for the withdrawal of troops; Michel Faber highlights how language and rational debate gurgles down the drain in an atmosphere of hysteria; Harold Pinter’s excoriating Nobel acceptance speech; Iraqi writer Haifa Zangana documents the shocking record of atrocities in occupied Iraq and argues for the right of the Iraqi people to resist

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Wednesday 15 March 2006

Kohn on Dennett

Marek Kohn, author of the fascinating A Reason for Everything (Faber), and upcoming RSB-interviewee, critically reviews Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell: Religion as a natural phenomenon. (Lots more on the controversial Dennett if you follow all these links on 3Quarks; also see this Guardian interview.)

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Wednesday 15 March 2006

New from Clinamen

The two latest titles from the excellent Clinamen Press are certainly worthy of a larger audience: Virtual Mathematics: the logic of difference, edited by Simon Duffy, and The Transversal Thought of Gilles Deleuze: Encounters and Influences, by RSB-interviewee James Williams, are both well-produced, challenging works of modern philosophy. I'll be commenting more on both of these books over the coming weeks.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Wednesday 15 March 2006

Pinter speaks to Michael Billington

Wilfred Owen prize-winner (for poetry opposing Iraq conflict), Franz Kafka prize-winner, Nobel prize-winner, and now the winner of the Europe Theatre prize ("a recognition of one of the greatest living playwrights"), Harold Pinter speaks to Michael Billington (from yesterday's Guardian) about his work.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Wednesday 15 March 2006


I don't think that my admiration for the work of Gabriel Josipovici is any secret whatsoever. So, as you can imagine, I'm absolutely thrilled to have just published an interview with Gabriel here on RSB. (Thanks to Steve with his help and advice on some of the questions.) One of our very, very finest critics, and a wonderful novelist in his own right, Gabriel Josipovici is one of the few writers working in English today who seems to have thoroughly understood the ongoing challenge of Modernism.

Asking him about the quality of "lightness" that he had once remarked was vital to the success of The Iliad, Gabriel answered:

For complex reasons art before the Romantics could be both profound and ‘light’. Homer’s and Shakespeare’s plays are cases in point. After the onset of Romanticism it’s as if depth had to entail solemnity, weightiness. Contrast Mozart and Beethoven, Pope and Wordsworth, Fielding and George Eliot. I love many works written after 1800, but I wish it were lighter. And I can’t stand those great nineteenth century works that take themselves so seriously and try to found a new religion, like Mahler’s symphonies. That’s why I love Stravinsky: for me he has everything: wit, lightness, precision, yet a plangency that is deeply moving. He remains the artist I would most like to emulate (one can have ones dreams). I love some of the novels of Bellow and Nabokov and Muriel Spark and Thomas Bernhard because I think they laugh at themselves and their own pretensions even as they burrow into the depths. I love some of the novels of Aharon Appelfeld because they say what they have to say in the simplest way and then stop, and what they have to say moves me deeply. But I could go on and on, with a list of my favourite modern novels – which would include works by Malamud, Shabtai, Simon, Perec, Duras, Robbe-Grillet, Kundera, Joseph Heller and Peter Handke.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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-- Mark Thwaite, Managing Editor


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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