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. Some of the links to PDFs disappear quickly so download them promptly.

Bridget Riley in her Studio, 1960's
Bridget Riley in her Studio, 1960’s

Dodie Bellamy’s passionate, polemical Barf Manifesto is one of the most intriguing texts I’ve read this year. Spew Forth [PDF] is a good taster of her aesthetic.

Seamus Heaney’s The Art of Poetry interview. “I mean, who wouldn’t like to write Mozartian poetry?”

“Man is free; but he finds his law in his very freedom.” Any long time reader of this blog knows I’m very interested in the work, thought and person of Simone de Beauvoir. The Ethics of Ambiguity was, in part, her response to Sartre’s Being and Nothingness.

Franz Kafka’s Complete Short Stories [PDF]: if I were allowed to keep only a single book it would be this one. I could read these stories alone for the rest of my life and never tire of them.

Franz Kafka’s The Trial [PDF]: a more modern translation of The Trial.

David Winter’s superb review of Christine Schutt’s Prosperous Friends, “proves Schutt to be of the finest stylists alive”.

“What can we say we really understand about our personal experience with colour?” Bridget Riley’s Introduction to Colour: Art and Science [PDF] addresses colour in art.

Pierre Bourdieu’s The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field. [PDF]

JG Ballard’s The Complete Short Stories [PDF]: though I agree with Germaine Greer’s comment that Ballard is “a great writer who hasn’t written a great novel,” I enjoy reading his short stories and longer pieces. It is his autobiographical books that get closest to greatness.

Ray Brassier’s dense but tantalising Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction [PDF].

Michel Houellebecq’s The Art of Fiction interview. “Iggy Pop wrote some songs based on my novel The Possibility of an Island.”

Luce Irigaray’s brilliant This Sex Which is Not One [PDF], in which she argues that our society is predicated on the exchange of women.

Pierre Bourdieu’s essay on The Forms of Capital [PDF] outlines the distinctions between economic, social and cultural capital.

Mahmoud Darwish’s breathtakingly beautiful poem Tuesday And The Weather Is Clear [PDF].

Nothing Will Have Happened

Once upon a time, in some out of the way corner of that universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of ‘world history’, but nevertheless, it was only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die. – One might invent such a fable, and yet he still would not have adequately illustrated how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist. And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened.

On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense from Philosophy and Truth: Selections from Nietzsche’s Notebooks of the Early 1870s

Quoted in Ray Brassier’s Nihil Unbound

Some Well-Intentioned Reading Ideas for 2013

So, in my review of this year’s reading I vowed to make no reading resolutions for 2013, not because I don’t have some ideas, but writing about them pretty much guarantees serendipity will lead me in a completely different direction. But I’m going to chuck a few ideas into the void, for no other reason than it helps me think.

Since my post dealing with feminine writing, I’ve started to identify a series of writers that I plan to read more thoroughly, more Cixous obviously. My touchstone book for 2012 was Kate Zambreno’s brilliant Heroines. The book  is the sort of polymorphous text that opens up new possibilities for biography, literary criticism and memoir. Read if you must but don’t be mislead by reviews of Heroines that reveal more about the prejudice of the reviewer than the text. Helen’s or Michelle’s reviews offer a more balanced, less blimpish point of view. I’ll be taking inspiration from both Kate Zambreno’s blog (a project now ended) and Heroines and reading writers like Jean Rhys, Djuna Barnes, Olive Moore, obviously more Clarice Lispector and Claude Cahun. I’m also interested in those treading similar ground, writers like Chris Kraus, Vanessa Place, Tamara Faith Berger and Dodie Bellamy. I also plan to read some Julia Kristeva and Kate Zambreno’s earlier Green Girl.

There are some thrilling new books due next year, so I will definitely be reading any new books that appear by László Krasznahorkai, JM Coetzee’s The Childhood of Jesus and the collection of letters between Coetzee and Paul Auster, Giorgio Agamben’s Nymphs, Amelie Nothomb’s Life Form, Sonallah C Ibrahim’s That Smell and Notes from Prison and William Gass’s Middle C. The second (and possibly third) volume of Reiner Stach’s Kafka biography is due and unmissable.

I’ve started reading Benoît Peeters’ Derrida biography and plan to read more Derrida. I’ve got plans to read Wittgenstein, Deleuze and Adorno more deeply, and want to explore further what Ray Brassier is doing. Oh, and I seriously intend to get back to Thomas Bernhard and Peter Handke.

If I achieve half of these goals I’ll be happy and no doubt serendipity will hijack my intentions along the way.

Thanks for reading Time’s Flow Stemmed. Have a good holiday.