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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 '18 July 2006'

Tuesday 18 July 2006

Mitchelmore on Rankin and Proust

Steve Mitchelmore, the finest writer we have in the literary blogosphere, has an excellent article in this week's TLS (sadly not online) reviewing Javier Marias's bloated and over-rated Your Face Tomorrow 2: Dance and Dream. For those who don't have access to the paper, whet your appetite by reading Steve on Rankin and Proust.

Steve is the only writer I know who can meaningfully bring together a genre hack like Ian Rankin and the freakish genius that was Proust, via Blanchot, and make uncommonly good sense:

This is why I am so wary of books that tend to rely on the art of previous writers, that do not make the language subject to the unique inspiration and ambition of the book it forms. They are too rhetorical and crime (and other genre) novels are, by definition, mainly rhetorical works. While Rankin's eighth novel cannot be on a par with Proust's (if only because the anger is added colour rather than intrinsic to its creation), it perhaps suggests in both cases a desire among readers for something more than routine entertainment, for more than the author to do "a good professional job for the reader". They want the real thing.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 18 July 2006

Raja Rao obituaries

The obituaries have started arriving for Raja Rao (1908-2006), the Indian writer who died aged 97th on July 8th: Daily Telegraph; The Guardian and The Times (via the Literary Saloon).

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 18 July 2006

The Frontlist

The Frontlist ...

... is a consortium of developers and writers from literary communities. We've formed to provide a new fair way to provide talented unpublished writers to have work annotated and critiqued by peers. The most well-received work will rise to the top, to be considered by a publisher.

The Frontlist is a community of talented writers that self-select work that they feel may be of interest to a publisher. Writers, upon signing up to The Frontlist, will be able to submit sample chapters of work that they are looking to publish. They will then be invited to provide detailed critiques on several pieces of work. Once they have finished this, their own work will go up for critique. Each month, the most well received work will be fast-tracked to the desk of a respected agent or publisher who specialises in the work's genre.

... Jason Cooper, a senior editor at Pan Macmillan (Picador) has agreed to read the submissions that achieve top reviews from The Frontlist.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Tuesday 18 July 2006

TJ Clark

The very fine ads without products blog points me towards TJ Clark's response to Perry Anderson's The Origins of Postmodernity and Jameson's The Cultural Turn (which originally appeared in the New Left Review back in 2000).

I like TJ Clark. His Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism is superb; he was involved with the essential Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War and his latest, The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing, looks great (sadly, it is with Yale University Press so we have next to no chance of seeing a review copy!)

Last week, the National Portrait Gallery very kindly sent on some lovely volumes (including the handy wee The Irish Literary Revival Movement). One of which was Anthony Bond's Self Portrait: Renaissance to Contemporary. A gorgeous book, this too has an excellent essay by Clark (as well as fine pieces by Ludmilla Jordanova and Joseph Leo Koerner) called The Look of Self-Portraiture (where Clark argues for a version of self-portraiture "in which seeing would be pictured as itself a form of representation"). Oh, if you've not seen it, Koerner's Caspar David Friedrich and the Subject of Landscape is matchless.

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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