Tag Archives: 20th Century

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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Ágota Kristóf’s Trilogy

Each book of Ágota Kristóf’s trilogy is entwined on a smaller scale in each of the books, echoing back the whole of the trilogy. Each successive book unbalances its predecessor to the point that its instability opens up an unbounded … Continue reading

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Cold Passion

We answer: ‘We don’t want to work for you, madam. We don’t want to eat your soup or your bread. We are not hungry.’ She asks: ‘Then why are you begging?’ ‘To find out what effect it has and to … Continue reading

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Time, Gin, Denton and Dorothy Sayers

Given the multitude of people on social media confused by the instigation of this year’s British Summer time, we ought be thankful that William Willett’s original proposal to move the clocks forward by 80 minutes, in 20-minute weekly steps on … Continue reading

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The Saddhu Of Couva

When sunset, a brass gong, vibrate through Couva, is then I see my soul, swiftly unsheathed, like a white cattle bird growing more small over the ocean of the evening canes, and I sit quiet, waiting for it to return … Continue reading

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