Blog Archives

The Electrician

He travelled the paths of the papa by bicycle, with a ladder on his back. Bautista Riolfo was an electrician and a handyman, a Mister Fix-It who repaired tractors, watches, grinding mills, radios, rifles. The hump on his back came … 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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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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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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An Eternal Moment

I thought again of our snug place in the leaves under the fallen tree, looking out on to the rising hill with the smoky curtain of rain falling into the stiff still green bracken, and the curiously high squeaking of … Continue reading

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A Few Scraps of Wisdom

What else, indeed, have I learned from the masters who taught me, the philosophers I have read, the societies I have visited and even from that science which is the pride of the West, apart from a few scraps of … Continue reading

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A Radically Altered Human Species

The implicit starting point for Sebald’s literary essays is the melancholy conviction that, during the course of the twentieth century, the history of mankind finally showed itself to be on a downward path and that, therefore, the two disastrous world … Continue reading

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Language and Style

Ideas are certainly important-who would deny that?-but the fact is, the ideas that operate in novels and poems, once they are unpicked from their context and laid out on the laboratory table, usually turn out to be uncomplicated, even banal, … Continue reading

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Shaped by Dialogue

We define our identity always in dialogue with, sometimes in struggle against, the things our significant others want to see in us. Even after we outgrow some of these others—our parents, for instance—and they disappear from our lives, the conversation … Continue reading

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