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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 '26 July 2006'

Wednesday 26 July 2006

Contemporary Poetry Review

Lots of Elizabeth Bishop stuff over at the Contemporary Poetry Review this month.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Wednesday 26 July 2006

Willem Frederik Hermans

Nice review of WF Hermans' Beyond Sleep (out from Harvill; who now, very kindly, seem to be sending books over to RSB again -- thank you!) by Michel Faber in the Guardian this last weekend:

Why has Willem Frederik Hermans's large and varied oeuvre failed, over half a century, to establish his place in the pantheon of Dutch writers recognised by the British? The author himself might have grinned ruefully at the thought: he was an arch-pessimist with a wry sense of humour. However, he suffered no shortage of acclaim, most of it from Germany, Scandinavia and his native Netherlands.

... Beyond Sleep is an engaging yarn once it hits its stride, intermittently thought-provoking, frequently funny, well worth investigating. But there are darker, stronger Hermans works still waiting for their chance to cross the Channel.

Toucing on Ina Rilke's translation, Faber notes:

In the original Dutch, Hermans's prose is bracingly lucid and straightforward, justifying his reputation as a champion of unadorned style. Ina Rilke's translation is fluent and finds clever solutions to tough challenges (such as preserving the comic effect of conversations in which English is the foreign language), but overall the tone is more formal, more prim than it should be. Occasionally, unintentional ambiguities are introduced, such as when Alfred steps "into the void" instead of stepping off a rock. Still, the protagonist's increasingly febrile determination is well conveyed, and the numerous humiliations of travelling ill-provisioned in a hostile landscape are detailed with satisfyingly grisly care.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Wednesday 26 July 2006

Kirsch on Moretti

Over at the New York Sun (thanks Dave!) Adam Kirsch on Franco Moretti's The Novel:

The novel, you might say, is like pornography: It may be hard to define, but everyone knows it when they see it.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Wednesday 26 July 2006

Robert Walser

Anecdotal Evidence brings my attention back to "Robert Walser, a strange, unclassifiable, utterly lovable Swiss writer":

Walser, born in 1878, entered a mental hospital in 1933, when he stopped writing, and remained there until he died in 1956. This Christmas will mark the 50th anniversary of his death. Walser was an inveterate walker – many of his stories begin as walks – and his body was found that day in the snow. He had suffered a heart attack. A visitor, who had asked why he no longer wrote, quoted Walser as saying, "I am not here to write but to be mad."

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Wednesday 26 July 2006

Interview with ... me

The good folk at bloggasm ("Bloggasm is a media blog featuring interviews from the most interesting blogs around. In between interviews, we also talk about current events") have seen fit to interview yours truly. Far more interesting are some of the other "literature" folk they've interviewed (like George Murray from Bookninja for instance).

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Please let us know about any literary-related news -- or submit press releases to RSB -- using this form.

-- 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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