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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 '26 January 2007'

Friday 26 January 2007

New Coetzee titles

Scanning the pages of The Bookseller magazine, I note that Harvill Secker has acquired a new JM Coetzee novel, called Diary of a Bad Year, which is due out in the UK in September. Not as long to wait for thankfully, we also have, coming in March, Coetzee's Inner Workings: Literary Essays 2000-2005.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Friday 26 January 2007

Wolfgang Iser RIP

Wolfgang Iser, best known for reader-response theory, died yesterday:


Wolfgang Iser (July 22nd 1926 – January 24th 2007) was a German literary scholar. He was born in Marienberg, Germany. His parents were Paul and Else (Steinbach) Iser. He studied literature in the universities of Leipzig and Tübingen before receiving his PhD in English at Heidelberg by defending the dissertation on the world view of Henry Fielding (1950). A year later he was appointed an instructor at Heidelberg and in 1952 an assistant lecturer at the University of Glasgow, where he started to explore contemporary philosophy and literature, which deepened his interest in inter-cultural exchange.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Friday 26 January 2007

The Queen of Feistiness?

Ayn Rand is joining the Penguin Modern Classics list for the first time with Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead both due out in February. Penguin say, "Rand wrote what are seen as the manifesto of Objectivism, but they're also political thrillers that keep you gripped. And Angelina Jolie is to star in the film version of Atlas Shrugged, which is coming out in 2008."


All I (think I) know about Ayn Rand is that she was rampantly right-wing (Objectivism, according to the wikipedia, is: "the pursuit of one's own happiness or "rational self-interest" ... the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual human rights, embodied in pure, consensual laissez-faire capitalism"), but I've no idea whatsoever if her books are any use. Any of you good folk read them? Any good?

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Friday 26 January 2007

Pinter's People

A play featuring sketches of fourteen of Harold Pinter's works opens at London's Haymarket Theatre next week. There are pictures over on the BBC's Today website.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Friday 26 January 2007

Mark Sarvas profile

Via the literary saloon: "The Elegant Variation-man Mark Sarvas is profiled by Tom Teicholz in The Jewish Journal, in Literary paprika. Lots of background information!"


Mark Sarvas, a New York-born son of Hungarian parents, a voracious reader, a Francophile and a foodie, comes to Los Angeles to be a writer, sells some screenplays and starts an acclaimed literary blog, The Elegant Variation.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Friday 26 January 2007

John Taylor Caldwell RIP

I've just learned of the sad death, at the ripe old age of 95, of the veteran Glasgow anarchist, (and comrade and biographer of Guy Aldred), John Taylor Caldwell. John was born on the 14th July 1911 and died a couple of weeks ago on the 12th January.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Friday 26 January 2007

New from Cold Blue Music

A couple of noteworthy new releases from the peerless Cold Blue Music:


Michael Fahres's The Tubes: "weaves together the breath-like sounds of the Atlantic Ocean as it strikes tubular volcanic rock formations on the Island of El Hierro (the westermost of the Canary Islands) with the breathy tones of Jon Hassell's trumpet and Mark Atkin's didgeridoo, creating a starkly beautiful study of breath patterns and the sounds of air in tubes".


Charlemagne Palestine's A Sweet Quasimodo Between Black Vampire Butterflies for Maybeck: "a piece for two pianos played simultaneously in a tremolo style that Palestine calls "strumming," a technique that has defined his piano music since the late '60s. It spins out its sonic tapestry in surges and ebbs, and dense sonorities with hypnotically dancing overtones grow from its few opening pitches. This live recording from the Maybeck recital hall also contains Palestine's short comments about his life in California in the '70s and, accompanied by a rubbed brandy snifter, his singing of a few very short "ritual" songs in his unique falsetto vocal style".

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Serendipoetry

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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