Links of the Week

Many of these links have been tweeted in the past, but here I can tag and categorise them for future reference. I hope you find some of them interesting too. Please feel free to discuss in comments or on Twitter.

The term ‘mansplaining’ is genius and deserves to be listed in the OED. This is where I first came across the term.

Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror, Essay on Abjection.

Martha Nussbaum – How to write about poverty.

The Myth of Matriarchy: Why Men Rule in Primitive Society by Joan Bamberger.

Politics and the English Language an essay by George Orwell.

Charles Bukowski’s so you want to be a writer.

The David Lynch mixtape.

Franz Kafka: The Meaning of Life is that it Stops.

Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker and the surprising physical reality of this world as he sees it.

The ideal way to read Marx’s Kapital is with David Harvey.

One of my favourite Desert Island Discs with writer Al Alvarez (friend of Plath and Hughes).

On Fear – a wonderful essay by Mary Ruefle (the distinction between emotion and feeling is perfect)

Julia Kristeva’s essay – A Freudian Approach: The Pre-religious Need To Believe.

Adam Kirsch on The New World of William Carlos Williams.

Italo Calvino’s 14 Definitions of What Makes a Classic.

The Crisis of Literature

Hardly a year goes by without a novelist, poet, or critic coming forward to express this sense of sourness, which is actually a compound of despair and resentment. Despair, because every department of literature seems to undergoing crisis, a multiple organ failure of the kind that leads inevitably to death; resentment because of the contemporary American writer’s sense that he has been like the final investor in a Ponzi scheme, having bought into the venerable enterprise of literature only to discover that it is on the verge of default.

Adam Kirsch in his Why Trilling Matters, offers this quotation before revealing that it comes not from any contemporary soothsayers of the demise of literature, but was written in 1952 by Lionel Trilling.

Of Kirsch’s book I am torn; the reviews are good, but I have found Trilling’s writing thought-provoking but tedious. The TLS review is available. Let me know if you have read it and found it worthwhile.