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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 '21 March 2006'

Tuesday 21 March 2006


k-punk on Telecommunism:

The proletariat are factory-farmed replicants who believe they are something called the working class. The task for telecommunism is to strip out the false memory chips binding them to the quasi-organic earth, in order to produce a New Earth for a 'people that do not yet exist'.

Also worth a read is Jon on Tronti, over at Long Sunday. Jon promises a "Tronti fest" to come: looking forward to that!

Of further interest may be the fact that I'll be posting Nick Dyer-Witherford's essay Cyber-Negr: General Intellect and Immaterial Labour (from The Philosophy of Antonio Negri: Resistance in Practice (Pluto) here on RSB within the next day or so.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Tuesday 21 March 2006

György Kurtág

It may have passed your notice - it certainly passed mine - that a month ago (February 19th) was György Kurtág's 80th birthday. About 20 years ago, Kurtág, one of the leading European composers of our time, but hardly a household name here in the UK, wrote his largest work. Kafka-Fragmente is "a vast, 60-minute cycle of 40 separate movements amounting to a collage of Kafka's novels, letters and diaries set as the subtlest, most expressive duets for soprano and violin" (according to last Sunday's Observer). Performed by Juliane Banse and violinist Andras Keller, the work's four sections are a powerful testament to a great composer. If you like Shostakovich, give Kurtág a go.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 21 March 2006

Scarecrow 42

Scarecrow no.42 is now online. Editor Lee Rourke muses on the value of opening paragraphs ("the hook, the dazzling light that draws us closer, that pulls us into the text") and quotes the beginning of Lydia Davis’s translation of Maurice Blanchot’s Death Sentence. And this issue's cover star is Juan Rulfo whose remarkable Pedro Paramo (Serpent's Tail) is highly recommended.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 21 March 2006

With Borges

I've just reviewed Alberto Manguel's memoir With Borges:

Borges had known he would turn blind from an early age and finally lost his site in 1957. He was a voracious reader of a wide range of books and Manguel lists some of the titles that were housed in the modest flat Borges shared with his mother, Doña Leonor (who called him Georgie, which was his Northumbrian grandmother's nickname for him), Fanny, their maid, and Beppo, the big white cat. Borges, it transpires, loved Stevenson, Chesterton, Henry James and Kipling, and he loved the Arabian Nights, the Bible, epics like Njals Saga, Homer and Virgil: "epic poetry brought tears to his eyes." He disliked "faddish" literary theory blaming French literature "for concentrating not on books but on schools and coteries."

(For all of my review of With Borges.)

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Tuesday 21 March 2006

Romantic Poetry and the Fragmentary Imperative

Ooh, I like the look of this: Romantic Poetry and the Fragmentary Imperative (SUNY Press):

Romantic Poetry and the Fragmentary Imperative locates Byron (and, to a lesser extent, Joyce) within a genealogy of romantic poetry understood not so much as imaginative self-expression or ideological case study but rather as what the German romantics call "romantische poesie"—an experimental form of poetry loosely based on the fragmentary flexibility and acute critical self-consciousness of Socratic dialogue. The book is therefore less an attempt to present yet another theory of romanticism than it is an effort to recover a more precise sense of the relationship between Byron's fragmentary or "workless" poetic and romantic poetry generally, and to articulate connections between romantic poetry and modern literature and literary theory. The book also argues that the "exigency" or "imperative" of the fragmentary works of Schlegel, Byron, Joyce, and Blanchot is not so much the expression of a style as it is an acknowledgment of what remains unthought in thinking.

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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