Tag Archives: 20th Century

An Exchange That Need Never End

The essay from which I’ve extracted the passage below is from a collection of six Rebecca Solnit essays. This essay on Virginia Woolf is the last of the collection. Had I not persisted to the end, I’d probably have decided … Continue reading

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Street Haunting

Or is the true self neither this nor that, but something so varied and wandering that it is only when we give the rein to its wishes and let it takes its way unimpeded that we are indeed ourselves? Circumstances … Continue reading

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Voice of Mourning

Like King Charles’ head, Friedrich Nietzsche is always intruding in Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus. Nietzsche functions as a talisman in Doctor Faustus, a deeply Romantic novel suffused with parodic twists. A talisman acts as a battery for some type of force … Continue reading

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Doctor Faustus (Still)

This is the end of my third week with Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus. The week’s reading included Adrian Leverkühn’s pivotal conversation with Diabolus (or whichever nickname you’d prefer), in which the Devil offers Leverkühn a form of artistic genius, a breakthrough to art … Continue reading

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Doctor Faustus

I’m still reading Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus, persevering with Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter’s translation. I’ve read that newer translations are more lucid, but stick with Lowe-Porter for her employment of medieval English vocabulary to correspond with the sections of the text in which characters … Continue reading

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Damned If I Look Back

Two things struck me while visiting Chicago last week. Firstly, of course, the architecture, with neo-Gothic, Art Deco, neoclassical and Modernist styles combining harmonically to form an exhilarating urban ensemble. Visiting Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and touring … Continue reading

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Entering The Labyrinth

To think is not to exit the cave, nor to replace the uncertainty of the shadows with the clear-cut contours of the things themselves, the flickering light of a flame with the light of the true Sun. It is to … Continue reading

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Literary Couplings

The sun is calm and bright, but it isn’t yet quite warm enough to idle outside with Denton Welch’s I Left My Grandfather’s House. So observant Welch’s eye for details of character and architecture, his voice so tender after the cool … Continue reading

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Leave All Rhetoric Out

It’s been a hard winter, but summer is here and the fields want us to walk upright. Every man is unimpeded, but careful, as when you stand up in a small boat. I remember a day in Africa: on the … Continue reading

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Futuristic Howling

If the halls of the Hermitage would suddenly go mad, if the paintings of all schools and masters should suddenly break loose from the nails, should fuse, intermingle, and fill the air of the rooms with futuristic howling and colours … Continue reading

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