Tag Archives: 20th Century

A Lilac So Magical

A passage below from a letter that Alejandra Pizarnik wrote to Léon Ostrov. I love that you stole an ice bucket from the de Flore. I, for now, behave sensibly, only a few books. But if I had to steal … Continue reading

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Could Have Made Do With Less

Samuel Beckett writing in January 1952 about Waiting for Godot. At this time it had not been staged. I do wish writers took this line rather than assuming they have any unique insight into the meaning of what they write. … Continue reading

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The Impossibility of Connection

On another day I’ll read László Krasznahorkai’s Seiobo There Below hungrily. After an intensely beautiful first chapter, the second chapter begins with an untranslated Italian crossword. This, and the sections being arranged according to the Fibonacci sequence, struck me as … Continue reading

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The Murmur of Language

The words are everywhere, inside me, outside of me … I hear them, no need to hear them, no need of a head, impossible to stop them, impossible to stop. I’m in words, made of words, others’ words, what others … Continue reading

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Love’s Work by Gillian Rose

Last night, or rather this morning, I stayed up far too late finishing Gillian Rose’s Love’s Work. It was recommended by a friend whose literary judgement I have come to unfailingly trust. Nick Lezard begins his review of Love’s Work thus, “I … Continue reading

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Pure Wartime

God knows what you all see in America. I see war and devastation. The fucking pilgrims leaving England ’cause there wasn’t enough law and rigidity there, coming here hating all ideas, thought, questioning; the Quakers and the Pilgrims fighting it … Continue reading

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Genre Sublimation (Bieńczyk, Sebald, Bae Suah)

It isn’t possible to read books like Marek Bieńczyk’s Transparency without seeing traces of Sebald, rather like the lost Da Vinci that might lie hidden behind the Vasari mural in Florence. Bieńczyk’s form of literary historiography weaves autobiography and literary … Continue reading

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An Unwitting Education

My education has been so unwitting I can’t quite tell which of my thoughts come from me and which from my books, but that’s how I’ve stayed attuned to myself and the world around me for the past thirty-five years. … Continue reading

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Max Frisch, Bae Suah and Meaningless Existence

There are my old chestnuts, those writers to whom I’ve become attached. They are sufficient that I could just read and reread their works till the end, but something compels me to seek out new voices, or those that are new … Continue reading

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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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