Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Yet another …

 Dutch magazine cuts ties with reporter over suspect stories | Hosted.

Just how many of these people are there out there?

Well worth reading …

 'Dangerous Mystic': A true, gripping tale of a man's perilous search for God.
I am about two-thirds of the way through Harrington's book, and John is right. It is excellent. It is especially worth reading these days ,when religion seems in many cases to have been replaced with vulgar virtue-signalling.

Hmm …

… Poetry sales soar as political millennials search for clarity | Books | The Guardian. (hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I can think of many far-better reasons to read poetry than a passion for politics.

Singular master …

… Étude, Brute? - Commentary. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Chopin …was a publicity-shunning introvert who played only his own music and performed mainly in the salons of Paris and England on increasingly rare occasions. He made his living teaching piano to well-heeled students of indifferent ability. He wrote no autobiography, died too soon to make records, and left behind no symphonies, string quartets, operas, or ballets for a later generation of writers to parse at leisure and at length.
By all rights, then, Chopin should have gone the way of the many other 19th-century pianist-composers whose renown did not outlive them. Instead, his music is as familiar today as it was at the time of his death in 1849. It is ubiquitous—but is it truly great?
I did not pay a lot of attention to Chopin's music until fairly recently. But I have come to love the nocturnes and preludes — a wonderfully poetic world of sound.


Tonight …


I am planning to stop by — but earlier.

RIP …

… Russell Baker, Pulitzer-Winning Times Columnist and Humorist, Dies at 93 - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.
— Derek Walcott, born on this date in 1930

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

And the nominees are …

… 2019 Edgar Nominees Announced : The Booklist Reader. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Listen in …

… Episode 304 – Edmund White – The Virtual Memories Show.

“Queerness has become less arty, less intellectual, less cultural, more physical, more gym-oriented, more commercial. Lady Gaga instead of Maria Callas.”

Blogging note …

I must take my wife to a doctor’s appointment. Blogging will resume later.

Noteworthy skeptic …

… Nathan Glazer and Conservatism - WSJ.

Glazer described himself as a “mild conservative” but voted consistently for Democrats and supported a safety net even as he was critical of the party’s left wing. Yet he saw something many liberals and even some conservatives did not: The benefits of technocratic schemes for human social improvement are usually overestimated.

Image and identity …

… Poem: Dark - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Mysteries …

… “Short Talk on Homer and John Ashbery,” by Anne Carson | The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

In case you wondered …

 Can a Translation Be a Masterpiece, Too? | by Tim Parks | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I pretty much has to be, which is not to say that it is exactly the same as the original. I've translated a few poems from German. I think it is possible to get across something of what it feels like to read the original.

Great screen music

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Night Music: The Godfather Orchestral Suite (Live) By The Danish National Symphony Orchestra.



Nino Rota was a fine composer.

And the nominess are …

… National Book Critics Circle: NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE ANNOUNCES FINALISTS FOR 2018 AWARDS - Critical Mass Blog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I am surprised and disappointed that Cynthia Haven's Evolution of Desire was not nominated. It is a seriously major work.

Hard times …

 Free Library borrowers face long waits for books, materials — the side-effect of a shrunken materials budget. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hard to believe that the clowns that run this city ever crack a book.

RIP …

… Biography - Nathan Glazer. (Ht tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

A single grateful thought toward heaven is the most perfect prayer.
— Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, born on this date in 1729

Monday, January 21, 2019

Advice from Miss Emily …

Hear, hear …

… Masculinity Isn’t a Sickness - WSJ.

What’s unhealthy isn’t masculinity or femininity but the demeaning of masculine men and feminine women. The first of the new APA guidelines urges psychologists “to recognize that masculinities are constructed based on social, cultural, and contextual norms,” as if biology had nothing to do with it. Another guideline explicitly scoffs at “binary notions of gender identity as tied to biology.”
It seems unwise for the APA to dissociate itself from biology. Why should  anyone continue to regard psychology as a science?

Wonderful …

… Paris Review - The Swan.

In book stores now …

… Current Issue – The Hopkins Review.

I have a poem in this issue, but it's not one you can access online.

Unsettling fellow …

… Michel Houellebecq Hated Europe Before You Did – Foreign Policy. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Yet crane your head above this mix of misogyny and misanthropy and you might catch an unsparing and unsettling view of the social fractures widening on both sides of the Atlantic. Christened in the German magazine Der Spiegel as “our era’s poet” and the French journal Challenges as the “ethnologist of the West’s decline,” Houellebecq seems to channel the discontents not just of those relegated to our social peripheries, but also to the well-educated elites hunkered down in the metropoles. Herein lies another, though elusive fracture: While the peripheries are subject to a material mal à vivre, or hard life, the metropoles are spiritually mal à l’aise, or ill at ease.
I have read only one of Houellebecq's novels, The Map and the Territory.



Classic performance …

 See: Debussy’s lost interpreter: Marius-François Gaillard.

Mystery poet …

… The Elegies of Maximianus - Reviewed by Gilbert Wesley Purdy - Eclectica Magazine v23n1. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

What little evidence there is on either count is weak and circumstantial. At the end of 200 years, A. M. Juster has thrown in his lot with a new theory that a decree, by Theoderic, king of Italy from 493–526 CE, mentioning a Maximianus, may have referred to our poet. One of the elegies also seems to support the the timeframe by the fact that the poet mentions that Boethius was his mentor. The philosopher Boethius died in 524. The pieces fit.
Well, Boethius was also executed by Theodoric. So I would think one might want to keep quiet about any connection one might have had with him. I wouldn't think the connection would help in advancing one's career. More to the mystery, I guess.

Turning every page …

… The Secrets of Lyndon Johnson’s Archives, by Robert A. Caro | The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Papers don’t die; people do, and I was giving first priority to interviewing the men and women who, during the nineteen-thirties, had been members of a circle of New Deal insiders to which the young congressman from Texas had been admitted.

Hmm …

… BOOK REVIEW: 'Tell Your Children' by Alex Berenson - Washington Times.

But Mr. Berenson changed his thinking on the subject when his wife, Jacqueline, a Harvard and Columbia trained-psychiatrist who specializes in evaluating mentally ill criminals, told him that all the mentally ill criminals she evaluated smoked marijuana. She told her husband that all the big studies say this and that he should read them.
They probably also drank alcohol and did lots of other things that lots of people who are not in jail and not mentally ill do. Mrs. Berenson has committed the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy (confusing sequence with causation). Another reason a course in classical logic is useful.

The triumph of the humorless …

… The more narcissistic our culture becomes, the less able we are to laugh at ourselves. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Tomorrow night — What Is American About American Poetry?

POETRY IN COMMON
 &
THE GREEN LINE CAFÉ POETRY SERIES

In Association With
WHITMAN At 200: Art & Democracy
PRESENT

A Poetry Reading & Conversation:
What Is American About American Poetry?
With 

Ahmad Almallah, Catherine Bancroft,

Charles Carr, Barbara DeCesare,

M. Nzadi Keita, Peter Krok,

Cliff Lynn, Andrew Nurkin



Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 6 – 7:30 PM

Hosted by LEONARD GONTAREK

Each poet will read poems of their own which they consider 
American. Poems by other American poets will be read as well.
Each poet will say a few words, informally, on what they think
makes a poem American. There will be a Q & A.


THE GREEN LINE CAFE IS LOCATED 
AT 45TH & LOCUST STREETS
PHILADELPHIA
(Please note the address, there are
  other Green Line Café locations
& the 6 PM start time!)


greenlinecafe.com
gontarek9@earthlink.net



This Event Is Free




Ahmad Almallah holds a Ph.D. in Classical Arabic Poetry from Indiana University Bloomington. He is currently a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, working on writing a book on Arabic love poetry and the ghazal. He held the position of Assistant Professor of Arabic and Arabic Literature at Middlebury College. Since then he has found inspiration in Philadelphia to work on writing poetry and has been involved with the Arab arts and education organization, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, in West Philadelphia. He is currently managing their project “Words Adorned: Andalusian Poetry and Music.”


Catherine Bancroft   writes poetry and makes art and sometimes combines them.  She has read
her poetry at Blue Marble Bookstore, Fergie’s Pub, PAFA, and other local spots. Her visual art
has appeared, among other places, at Muse Gallery and 3rd Street Gallery. A work in her Ellis
Island Series recently won Best Painting at Main Line Art Center’s Members’ Show.


Charles Carr is a "native" Philadelphian.  He has two published books of poems: paradise pennsylvania & Haitian Mudpies & Other Poems.  For five years Charles hosted a poetry series at Fergie's Pub and for the past two years has been the host of Philly Loves Poetry broadcast live on Philly Cam the first Tuesday of each month.


Barbara DeCesare is a writer in York, PA, and an editor in the streets.


M. Nzadi Keita’s most recent collection, Brief Evidence of Heaven, sheds light on Anna Murray Douglass, Frederick Douglass’s first wife.  Publications including Poet Lore   journal and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South  have featured her work.  She is a 2017 Pew Fellow in the Arts. Other supporters of her projects include the Leeway Foundation, Fine Arts Work Center, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  As an associate professor at Ursinus College, Keita teaches creative writing, American literature, and Africana Studies.


Peter Krok has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Schuylkill Valley Journal since 2001. 
He also serves as the humanities/poetry director of the Manayunk Roxborough Art Center where he has coordinated a literary series since 1990. His poems have appeared in the Yearbook of American Poetry, America, Mid-America Poetry Review, Midwest Quarterly, Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Blue Unicorn, and other journals. His book, Looking For An Eye, was published by Foothills Press in 2008.


Cliff Lynn is an American poet, a Gong Show reject and a Literary Death Match survivor. Literary journals such as Free Lunch, Third Point Press, Smeuse and Mount Hope have published several baker's dozens of Cliff's poems and short stories. With Rocky Jones, Cliff co-hosts The Evil Grin Poetry Series in Annapolis Maryland the second Saturday of every month. Cliff was the lead vocalist for the four-piece rock/n/roll band the Bert Harbinson Trio, which performed one song one day at the Shakemore Festival in Westminster Maryland.


Andrew Nurkin's poems have appeared in The Believer, Cimarron Review, North American Review, The Massachusetts Review, FIELD, Iron Horse Literary Review, and elsewhere. He was a 2016 Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Fellow at the Millay Colony for the Arts and holds his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He currently serves as Deputy Director for Enrichment and Civic Engagement at the Free Library of Philadelphia.




Vita brevis …

… R.T.’s Marginalia: Emily Dickinson on Monday, 21 January.

Better late …

… Founder of Dead Poets Society is published, posthumously | TribLIVE. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And well-deserved …

… More praise for “Evolution of Desire: A Life of René Girard” — was he “the last of the structuralists”? A poet speaks. | The Book Haven.

Something to think on …

In creating a work of art, the psyche or soul of the artist ascends from the earthly realm into the heavenly. There, free of all images, the soul is fed in contemplation by the essences of the highest realm, knowing the permanent noumena of things. Then, satiated with this knowing, it descends again to the earthly realm. And precisely at the boundary between the two worlds, the soul’s spiritual knowledge assumes the shapes of symbolic imagery: and it is these images that make permanent the work of art. Art is thus materialized dream, separated from the ordinary consciousness of waking life.
— Pavel Florensky, born on this date in 1882 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Q&A …

… One Mask at a Time: An Interview with Stephen Dunn - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I think of the poems now as little successes. They show, I think, that the writer of them had some reason to continue writing.

Hmm …

 More Trouble for the Little Sisters | Charlotte Allen | First Things.



Add to this the recent questions in Congress put to a judicial nominee over his membership in the Knights of Columbus and the Democratic Party is shaping up as the anti-Catholic party in this country.

The world of espionage

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Review Of 'The Spy And The Traitor'.

A pair of birthdays …

… R.T.s Marginalia: Edward Hirsch — birthday and “Early Sunday Morning”.

A fine romance …

… 'Tolkien' Biopic Sets Early-Summer Release Date | Hollywood Reporter. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Time’ s signature …

… A Brief Detour: Invitation To An Exhibition — Maureen Mullarkey. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Handwriting as well earns a threnody in digital times. Block letters will do for a generation that communicates on a keyboard. Yet for so many of us, cursive script was our first experience with disciplined drawing. It was an expressive component of literacy.

Some music …

Ernest Chausson was born on this date in1855

Inquirer reviews …

Hamish McKenzie’s ‘Insane Mode’: The mercurial brilliance of Elon Musk in a turbulent industry.

… ‘American Dialogue’: The Founders converse about our big issues.

… Dani Shapiro’s ‘Inheritance’: Searching for genetic roots — and untangling the answers.

Something to think on …

When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package.
— John Ruskin, who died on this date in 1900

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Not so easily dismissed …

… The strange voice of Edgar Allan Poe – TheTLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
When I first read Poe what grabbed me from the start was the sound. And I also read the theory and took it seriously. I have never dismissed him, since I owe so much to him.

More from Poe …

… to mark his birthday: Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

It is easy to see why the French Symbolists took to him.

Hmm …

How It Is, in Time. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Read and listen …

 25 Black Gospel Songs That Have Their Roots in Slavery | Black Excellence. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

And good advice it is …

… Mary Oliver’s Advice on Writing – Brain Pickings. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Hmm …

… ‘Becoming the writer-monk’: Mary Gordon on Thomas Merton | America Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I read The Seven Storey Mountain before I went to college (if memory serves)  and was both impressed and influenced by it. But in college I read Bede Griffiths's The Golden String and thought it superior to Merton's book. Oddly, both Merton and Griffiths became, in my view, somewhat dubious figures, proving once again that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.

The age of credentials …

 Is this really higher education’s golden age—or is it just a gold-plated age? - The Chicago Blog | The Chicago Blog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

One paragraph of his essay should be displayed in full, as a case study in point of view. “As the number of tenured and tenure-track professors has not grown nearly as fast as the output of the labs and research groups they direct, the increase suggests the importance of new methods for increasing output within academe. These include labor-saving technologies, such as more-powerful computer software; the growing importance of cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional collaborations, allowing for enhanced productivity through the division of labor; the growth of the postdoctoral research staff; and the changing norms of graduate-student publication. Many new PhDs have publication records that would have been sufficient for advancement to tenure in previous generations.” And this is good why? For whom? Only for those already within the walls. What you see depends strongly on where you stand to look.

And the winners are …

… Winning Poems for 2018 November : IBPC.



The Judge's Page.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Read and listen …

 John Dos Passos at the 92nd Street Y. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Anniveersary …

 R.T.s Marginalia: Edgar Allan Poe — birthday dream.

Poe was born 210 years ago today. I remember, when I was about 15, spending a Saturday night reading all of Poe's poems. The next morning, when my mother and I walked to Mass, lines from them ran through my head the way snatches of popular songs often do.

Romantic revival …

 A New Window on Scriabin - The Objective Standard.

He's on his way …

 Zealotry of Guerin: Winter (Giuseppe Arcimboldo), Sonnet #440.

Something to think on …

Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.
— Jean-François Revel, born on this date in 1924

Friday, January 18, 2019

Good news

… “Evolution of Desire: A Life of René Girard” goes into its third printing – and sparks some reflections in Zürich’s “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” | The Book Haven.

Best to choose carefully …

… Retaking Native Ground. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

There is a push in the academic community to showcase a new generation of indigenous poets, an effort which is admirable and overdue. The problem with that effort is that it tries to limit the style and range of the showcased poets in order to create the misimpression that all indigenous poets are writing the same kind of postmodern poetry that so many other poets are writing today.
An example of highlighting only poets with this limited esthetic is the June 2018 guest-edited “identity-based” issue of the venerable magazine Poetry. Except for some splendid innovative sonnets by Tacey M. Atsitty that open the issue, readers found only poets who rejected the rhythm and rhyme of William Jay Smith—and to a large extent rejected Smith’s accessibility to nonacademic readers.

Giving in to mobs …

Why do authors have to be ‘moral’? Because their publishing contracts tell them so | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

An ‘institution’ sounds misleadingly abstract and monolithic. Corporations, universities and organizations are run by particular people. The editors and senior managers who have stuck by me are particular people. It’s time for individuals in similar positions of authority to stop folding in the face of online flak, much less giving the ‘tweet’ contractual weight. To instead push back. To show a little integrity, loyalty, and backbone. To stand up for their writers, their lecturers, their employees. To distinguish finger–pointing from fact. To staunchly weather passing Twitter storms, in the confidence that faddish communal temper tantrums will eventually exhaust themselves, or will at least move on to the next unfortunate, if only out of boredom.

Hmm …

… How experimental psychology can help us understand art | Aeon Essays. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Today, experimental philosophers and philosophically inclined psychologists are designing experiments that can help to answer some of the big philosophical questions about the nature of art and how we experience it – questions that have puzzled people for centuries, such as: why do we prefer original works of art to forgeries? How do we decide what is good art? And does engaging with the arts make us better human beings?
I don’t thinking that knowing Bach borrowed some themes from J. K. D. Fischer for use in his Well-Tempered Clavier in any way causes us to think less of Bach’s work.

Long and winding road …

… Anatomy of a Book Deal | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Getting to know Him …

… ‘God in the Qur’an’ Review: Allah, a Biography - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The study of the parallels between the Bible and the Quran is not new; it is well-trodden academic ground. (Readers who want a more technical analysis should consult Gabriel Said Reynolds’s magisterial “The Qur’an and the Bible: Text and Commentary.”) Even so, Mr. Miles’s account stands alone, both in its generous openness of mind and in its scrupulous yet lively scholarship.

Q&A …

… John O’Hara in the 1930s: “he habitually told Americans the truth about themselves” | Library of America. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

What O’Hara did was recognize that those broad groupings could be broken down further into sub-groups and sub-sub-groups and finally individuals, noting each individual’s background and influences and personality type that added up to an explanation of the ways they spoke, wrote, and thought. He was merciless in recognizing the large role that someone’s past retained into his present, and rather than excuse a verbal slip into a slightly different speech-register as an aberration, he would seize upon it as a revealing clue to that person’s underlying nature. He jokingly described himself as “Dr. O’Hara” and his writing room as his “laboratory” where he conducted “experiments,” but he wasn’t entirely joking—he truly felt that his work was to perceive verbal mannerisms that got straight to the root of each character’s true nature.

Something to think on …

Has there ever been a society which has died of dissent? Several have died of conformity in our lifetime.
— Jacob Bronowski, born on this date in 1908

Thursday, January 17, 2019

RIP …

… Poet Mary Oliver Dies at 83 | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Three sisters …

… RT’s Marginalia : Anne Bronte — an apology, confession, and promise


I haven’t read Anne’s, but when I read Emily’s in high school I fell in love with her.


Blogging note …

I have to go out shortly. So blogging will resume whenever I get back.

Savory deception …

… Bakery of Lies by Judith Askew : American Life in Poetry. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

They really did dance all night …

… and all day — for days: The Dancing Plague of 1518 – The Public Domain Review. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

In full view of the public, this is the apogee of the choreomania that tormented Strasbourg for a midsummer month in 1518. Also known as the “dancing plague”, it was the most fatal and best documented of the more than ten such contagions which had broken out along the Rhine and Moselle rivers since 1374. Numerous accounts of the bizarre events that unfolded that summer can be found scattered across various contemporary documents and chronicles compiled in the subsequent decades and centuries.

Getting a handle on Saul Bellow …

… James Wolcott reviews ‘The Life of Saul Bellow’ by Zachary Leader — LRB 24 January 2019. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

As monumental as Leader’s investigation is, with its copious documentation and minute reconstruction of such a long, labyrinthine lifespan (just keeping track of the zigzag traffic of Bellow’s girlfriends must have made him dizzy), his manner and approach are modest and self-effacing; his personal piques and objections to Bellow’s personal and professional misdemeanours are mostly kept in a diplomatic pouch, in marked contrast to Atlas’s snorty exasperations. He endeavours to be judiciously fair. But although Leader has avoided Atlas’s egregious attitudinising, he runs afoul of several hazards that bog him and the impatient reader (me, pumping the accelerator) in extensive tracts of whichy thickets. Leader might have profited from heeding a couple of cautionary flags that were raised by someone in the know.

Poetry and life …

… Life-saving prosody | The greatness of Avrom Sutzkever. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In 1943 Sutzkever and his wife Freydke, escaping from the Vilna Ghetto, went into hiding in the forests where he fought with a Jewish unit of the partisan resistance. “Kol Nidre”, his long, harrowing Holocaust poem of that year, had brought him to the attention of the Jewish anti-Fascist Committee in Moscow, who sent a plane to rescue them. In order to reach the plane, the couple had to negotiate a minefield. Sutzkever solved the problem by crossing it in metre. “Sometimes I walked in anapaests, sometimes in amphibrachs.” “Each section of the minefield”, explains his friend, the poet Dory Manor, “had its own rhythm, an entire prosody of life-saving.”

Something to think on …

Women do not find it difficult nowadays to behave like men, but they often find it extremely difficult to behave like gentlemen.
— Compton Mackenzie, born on this date in 1883

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Hmm …

 Paul Davis On Crime: Chinese Spies, Thieves And Hackers: My Piece On Two Cases That Expose China's Campaign To Steal America's Trade Secrets.



… there's more here.

Watch the trailer …

… Mackenzie’s Secret Novel Tease on Vimeo.

Affluence …

… Nicolas Maduro raises minimum wage in Venezuela to $6 per month - UPI.com.

I don’t imagine this will garner much criticism in these parts because, you know, socialism.

Good …

… Oscar endorsement for Women of the Gulag: “To go through such suffering without going mad is a spiritual feat.” | The Book Haven.

Anniversary …

… RT’s Marginalia : Don Quixote — on the road with a kindred spirit.

Poetry and faith …

 Mary Karr’s Poems of Pity and Praise - The Kenyon Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Together at last …

 Aquarium of Vulcan: Sir Thomas Browne and Japan. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Browne's philosophical discourse assists the youthful’s protagonist’s intellectual development, for during his meditation upon it, he witnesses a child’s funeral. The combination of Browne's stoical prose and child's funeral awakens in the dreaming student an acute awareness of his own mortality. Here's the full, relevant text, including a passage in which Browne's literary voice is likened to the lingering reverberation of a giant temple bell sounding faintly throughout the centuries, a particularly original homage.

Something to think on …

Poetry operates by hints and dark suggestions. It is full of secrets and hidden formulae, like a witch's brew.
— Anthony Hecht, born on this date in 1923

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Listen in …

… The Biblio File hosted by Nigel Beale: James Daunt on the Turnaround at Waterstones.

Anniversary …

 RT’s Marginalia : Salem Witch Trials — fasting and repentance.

So long, Dolly…

… The Legendary Carol Channing Dies at 97.

Ah, yes …

… Almanac: Phyllis McGinley on tolerance | About Last Night.

Here is In Praise of Diversity.

They didn't just ban books …

… they also stole them: The Hunt for the Nazi Loot Still Sitting on Library Shelves. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Given the scope of the looting, the task ahead remains mountainous. In Berlin, for example, at the Central and Regional Library, almost a third of the 3.5 million books are suspected to have been looted by the Nazis, according to Sebastian Finsterwalder, a provenance researcher there.

The new New Class …

… Class warfare between workers and elites explains Trump-era conflicts. 
The postwar era saw the creation of international institutions ranging from NATO to the United Nations to the World Bank, along with a proliferation of think tanks and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to accompany them. It saw the vast expansion of higher education in the United States, and the transformation of academic degrees into something close to must-haves for the upper-middle class. It saw a great expansion of power on the part of media organizations, and on the part of government bureaucrats and lobbyists, both of whose numbers increased enormously.

And the winner is …

… 'A star is born': TS Eliot prize goes to Hannah Sullivan's debut | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sullivan’s debut is made up of three lengthy poems: You, Very Young in New York, which explores the lives of various young people, all united by their cynicism and their uncertainty, making their way through unfulfilling relationships and work in the city; Repeat Until Time is an exploration of revision in art and form, Sullivan’s PhD subject; the third, The Sandpit After Rain explores connections between the birth of her baby and the death of her father.

Turns out he could boogie …

… The Ancient Greek rebel leader who saw Socrates solo-dancing | Aeon Essays. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In Xenophon’s Symposium, Socrates asks the Phoenician dance-master to show him some dance moves. Everyone laughs: what will you do with dance moves, Socrates? He replies: ‘I’ll dance, by God!

Something to think on …

Moons and years pass by and are gone forever, but a beautiful moment shimmers through life a ray of light.
— Franz Grillparzer, born on this date in 1791

Listen in…

… Episode 303 – Peter Kuper – The Virtual Memories Show.

“Art has been my saving grace, in terms of having an outlet so I’m not just having today’s news run around in my head and make me scream.”

A fresh understanding …

… In the stars: an epiphany story | National Catholic Reporter. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 To say that the stars influence the minutia of your life is to say that each ephemeral moment and contingency is pulsing with reality, a granular instance of an immortal cosmos.

Overview …

… Complete Works Evelyn Waugh, Personal Writings, CWEW. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

So far the books retail at about £65 (or £100 for the blue volume). What else could one get for about £3,000 that would represent better value? (Obviously I'm talking about the full set, once it's available.)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Second World War...

...Looted literature, books, and manuscripts

Not those snowflakes …

… the real ones: RT’s Marginalia : Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and “Snow-Flakes”.

Hmm …

… ‘The gilets jaunes are unstoppable’ - spiked.

One illustration of this cultural divide is that most modern, progressive social movements and protests are quickly endorsed by celebrities, actors, the media and the intellectuals. But none of them approve of the gilets jaunes. Their emergence has caused a kind of psychological shock to the cultural establishment. It is exactly the same shock that the British elites experienced with the Brexit vote and that they are still experiencing now, three years later.


Then there's this: French riot police are now using semi-automatic weapons with live ammunition against Yellow Vest protestors as Macron’s law and order crisis spirals.

Blogging note

I have to head out to a doctor's appointment (just routine — I hope). Then I have some other things to do. Blogging will resume sometime later on.

In case you wondered …

… BOOK REVIEW: How one of Al Capone's 'boy wonders' lived and died
- Washington Times
.

Fruitful dialogue …

… The Habit of Being a Catholic Writer | The Russell Kirk Center. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

They both rejected a Catholicism devoid of imagination, or what we might call “catholic kitsch.” But the problem of being a Catholic novelist was on their minds. In one of the early letters, O’Connor voiced this concern to Gordon: “I used to be concerned with writing a ‘Catholic’ novel and all that but I think now I was only occupying myself with fancy problems. If you are a Catholic you know so well what you believe, that you can forget about it and get on with the business of making the novel work.” O’Connor did not turn the Catholic faith into an ideology or an -ism, but treated it as a lived reality, a mystery. This is part of the reason, surely, that she has achieved her place in the American literary canon. She didn’t utilize the doctrines of the church and proceed to preach from the pulpit. She wasn’t a false prophet like many of her characters.

Vintage Q&A …

… Paris Review - Joyce Cary, The Art of Fiction No. 7.

Something to think on …

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
— Anaïs Nin, who died on this date in 1977