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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"

Blog entries on '12 June 2006'

Monday 12 June 2006

Gyorgy Ligeti RIP

Sad news: the composer Gyorgy Ligeti is dead. Born in 1923, to Hungarian Jewish parents, in the predominantly ethnic Hungarian part of Romania's Transylvania region, his father and brother both died in concentration camps in World War II. Ligeti fled to Austria in 1956 after the Hungarian uprising and, in 1967, became an Austrian citizen. Along with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis and Pierre Boulez, Ligeti helped revolutionise postwar music. An excerpt from his 1966 work Lux Aeterna was used on the bestselling soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's Space Odyssey. Kubrick returned to Ligeti in 1999 using the composer's Musica Ricercata II as the theme for Eyes Wide Shut.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Monday 12 June 2006

Professor David Graeber

Language Hat brings my attention to Professor David Graeber. I knew I recognised his name, but due to a shocking dereliction of duty, I note with regret that I've not read his Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology (Prickly Paradigm Press) despite it having been sat on the TBR-pile for a long good while. I shall remedy this very soon (and endeavour to review some of the other excellent Prickly Paradigm pamphlets too). By all accounts (see, for example, his interview with Joshua Frank in Counterpunch), David is having serious problems with his bosses at Yale.

Further reading might include: Anarchism in the 21st Century an article by David Graeber and Andrej Grubacic; The New Anarchists; Give it Away - an article about the French intellectual Marcel Mauss.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Monday 12 June 2006

Piotr Rawicz

Populist as ever (!), you'll notice that this week is Piotr Rawicz week here on RSB. My two Books of the Week are the astonishing Blood from the Sky (Elliott & Thompson) and Anthony Rudolf's incisive reading of that work, Engraved in Flesh: Piotr Rawicz and His Novel "Blood from the Sky" (Menard Press). I'm also thrilled to have been allowed to reproduce Anthony's Afterword to Blood from the Sky here on the site, which is just about the best introduction to Rawicz that you'll find anywhere.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Monday 12 June 2006

Letter from Paul Trewhela

Interesting letter from Paul Trewhela in the Guardian Review at the weekend:

One reads from Mark Curtis ("Voice of the unpeople", June 3) that John Pilger has come to the conclusion that there is a certain "ambiguity" about the heritage of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and that the government of the African National Congress has presided over the empowerment of a small black elite alongside the continued impoverishment of the majority.

In making these unremarkable observations in his new book, Freedom Next Time, Pilger is merely marching in step with the South African communist party or the veteran South African journalists Stanley Uys and James Myburgh.

My late colleague, Dr Baruch Hirson (Pretoria Prison, 1964-73) and I (Pretoria Prison and the Fort, Johannesburg, 1964-67), anticipated Pilger's observations more than 16 years ago in our journal, Searchlight South Africa (banned there), in article after article. At that time and for a decade-and-a-half afterwards, Pilger's global tribuning of the people had its attention elsewhere. More honest, less ideological, and with no bandwagon to give it attention, is Carol Lee's new book, A Child Called Freedom (Century 2006) published to commemorate the 30th anniversary this month of the Soweto school students' uprising. Anyone interested in conditions of poverty in the "new" South Africa, and the unpleasant fate of those who sought democracy in Soweto and in the ANC in exile, would do better to read this unpretentious book.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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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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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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