The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.
— George Orwell, born on this date in 1903
Certainly, the core of his belief system was much more staid than his explosions of font. The poems gravitate toward the time-honored themes set down by Yeats: “sex and the dead.” With regard to form, my sense is that there’s been very little new in the field of the visual pun or typographical jeu d’esprit since 1759, the year of the publication of “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman,” in which Laurence Sterne marked the death of one character with a black page and mimicked the twirling of a stick by another with a squiggle
Indeed, Cultural Marxism as a worldview often produces a quite depressed and dysfunctional personality. I therefore worry more about the impact it may have on the psyches of its most committed adherents than I do about those who reject it. How a person looks at the world can deeply affect their well-being, and the organising principles of Cultural Marxism can be difficult to live with because they leave individuals both hyperaware of injustice as well as distraught by how little power their analytical framework affords them as individuals.
Today, at Roehampton University in your beloved London, forty Hopkins scholars, from around the world, have come together to talk about you: about you, your poems – and your Poems. There’s plenty to say – about religion, of course, sprung rhythm and so on. But I wonder if another aspect of your work has been forgotten: your poetic care for unnoticed or unimportant people. That’s a significant achievement in itself. Though born into an affluent family and growing up in fashionable, moneyed Hampstead, you didn’t write about kings or queens or popes or people of power and wealth, but of “little” people – a rare, countercultural choice, for both your age and, for the most part, ours, too.
As Stephens points out, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, James Brown, Johnny Cash, B. B. King, and Jerry Lee Lewis (cousin of Jimmy Swaggart, the now-defrocked televangelist) all grew up under the influence of Pentecostal or holiness churches. In those settings, religious experience for congregants of all colors was defined by its deep emotionality, submission to otherworldly forces, and all-consuming, overwhelming physicality. It shakes your nerves, and it rattles your brain. It breaks your will, but ooh, what a thrill. Goodness gracious, great balls of hellfire!
Metaphysics abstracts the mind from the senses, and the poetic faculty must submerge the whole mind in the senses. Metaphysics soars up to universals, and the poetic faculty must plunge deep into particulars.
— Giambattista Vico, born on this date in 1668
I have walked the Wissahickon to Chestnut Hill and back many, many times. I lived not far from the Wissahickon for 20 years. Ah, those were the days.
The problem with Mr. Hansen’s models—and the U.N.’s—is that they don’t consider more-precise measures of how aerosol emissions counter warming caused by greenhouse gases. Several newer climate models account for this trend and routinely project about half the warming predicted by U.N. models, placing their numbers much closer to observed temperatures. The most recent of these was published in April by Nic Lewis and Judith Curry in the Journal of Climate, a reliably mainstream journal.Sounds as if these people were had: Hansen receives Tang Prize award. (Hat tip, Dan Bloom)
In terms of direct poet-to-poet inspiration, “Howl” is a high point. Blake’s America: “every thing that lives is holy, life delights in life”. Ginsberg’s “Howl”: “Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!” You get the idea. As Ginsberg saw it, Blake was “a social critic and rebel etc but the ROOT of his work as of ours [that is, the post-war Beat writers, with their commitment to free speech, opening the doors of perception and the rest] has been in exploration of modes of consciousness”.
Koko was believed to have had an IQ of between 75 and 95 and could sign more than 1,000 words. The average IQ of a human is around 90 to 110. She also understood spoken English.Too bad she couldn't have run for office.
… the law of trespass governing literary territory has become noticeably less liberal, but Shriver remains resolute in the conviction that she is as entitled to describe the speech, look, and attitudes of fellow creatures of whatever race or class as anybody else is to describe her. “All boundaries between cultures are fluid,” she told me recently. “We are living in a big hash. It’s fun . . . and interesting . . . and it’s complicated.” In her pacing, and not least in her impressive articulacy, Shriver sometimes talks as if addressing a lecture room. As it happens, she has done so on this topic, “cultural appropriation,” more than once. Her thoughts emerge in clear outlines. “But the solution is not to place a fence around everybody. We are putting together a version of the world that is false: Not only do you not own your culture, whose boundaries you are therefore not allowed to police, but you don’t even own your self. Which is to say, you are unavoidably a part of other people’s lives.”
When I recently mentioned Hartley Coleridge to an English professor at Yale, she said, “Ah yes, Hartley! Didn’t he lose his fellowship at Oriel?” And I thought how strange it was that people who know little else about Hartley have somehow heard of what STC’s friend Harriet Martineau called “the great catastrophe, the ruinous blow.”
I would like to interject a small reality check. In the academic sphere, Hartley did better than his father, who dropped out of Cambridge. He did better than Wordsworth, who took his degree from Cambridge “without distinction.” He did better than Southey, who dropped out of Oxford. And he did better than Byron, who dropped out of Cambridge, and Shelley, who was expelled from Oxford. Hartley graduated—with a second! 191 years after the fact, why do we continue to associate him with the loss of a job for which he was unsuited? Might the memory of this episode be less adhesive—and might Hartley have been more resilient—had his father viewed it as a disappointment rather than an apocalypse?
… in a 1903 article, Joyce declared Mangan to be “one of the greatest romantic poets among those who use the lyrical form”. And in two other substantial pieces, he swallows his various reservations, conceding finally, surprisingly and reluctantly that “with Mangan a narrow and hysterical nationality receives a last justification” (1902) – which in 1907 becomes: “in that “miserable, reedy, and feeble figure, a hysteric nationalism receives its final justification”. In this latter article, Joyce called Mangan “the most distinguished poet of the modern Celtic world and one of the most inspired poets of any country ever to make use of the lyric form.” His “winged, lyric music and fervid idealism…manifested themselves in his extraordinary rhythms and unstudied beauty, perhaps unencountered elsewhere in English literature, if we except the inspired songs of Shelley.”
... a reconsideration of , a book I now hold to be a masterpiece. It took me a decade of rumination and other study to “get it,” but once I did, its impact became as indelible as Wolfe’s other books, its theme just as urgent.I should reread Charlotte Simmons.
Talk about using a sledgehammer to crush a gnat. I read the book during the year I spent between high school and college, which was when White’s edition came out. I found it quite useful. Robertson Davies was probably right when he said that what it could teach you was how to build the literary equivalent of a chicken coop. But you have to start somewhere. Better a sturdy chicken coop than a faulty bridge.
“I once had this idea that anything that was already in the world when you were born was okay, but anything that was invented or came up after you were born, you weren’t quite sure.”
The significance of The Idiot, as of Batuman’s writing in general, is not literary so much as literary-theoretical: it throws these issues into sharp relief by imposing upon the reader a paralytic attentiveness antithetical to narrative and development, let alone drama. It is an ideological novel composed under the assumption that reading and writing, in and of themselves, might substitute for x. Despite her towering disdain for program fiction, Batuman appears to have reiterated its central principle on her own initiative. This accounts for why the difference between The Idiot and the median MFA novel feels like one of degree, not kind: though Batuman is immeasurably more amusing in tone and more cosmopolitan in setting, the same parochial suspicion of belief systems strong enough to grapple with America’s intrinsic egoism lingers over both.Great novels are about life, not writing qua writing, not ideology, not programs. The great novelists did not have degrees.
General Electric will drop out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average next week, a milestone in the decline of a firm that once ranked among the mightiest of blue-chips and was a pillar of the U.S. economy.
As late as the 1950s more than half of all reporters lacked a college degree.
And Clarence Darrow never graduated from law school. He just got around one day to passing the bar exam. I have a degree, though it is not in journalism. I don't think many activities are improved by being reduced to a syllabus.
Though the singer just turned 77 (born May 24, 1941), his recent efforts to echo the sounds of his parents’ radio — the sonic world his voice helped overturn — showcase some of his most distinguished singing and punctuate his catalog in a way nobody would have thought necessary.His parents' radio? Dylan is just a few months older than I am. We both grew up listening to Frank and Perry and Nat — and lots more. And — surprise, surprise — we really liked them.
When I was invited to join Faber, in 1984, the fiction editor was Robert McCrum. He was excitable then, and so was I. I couldn’t wait to be on his list of writers, since he was publishing Kazuo Ishiguro, Milan Kundera, Josef Škvorecký, Peter Carey, Mario Vargas Llosa, Caryl Phillips, Paul Auster, Lorrie Moore, Danilo Kiš, Marilynne Robinson and Vikram Seth. Not long before, Rushdie had won the Booker prize for Midnight’s Children and that masterpiece, with its echoes of Günter Grass and Gabriel García Márquez, suddenly seemed like a great opportunity. The world was coming in. What had been a narrow and sterile place was opening up. These books were successful; readers discovered that they wanted them. Today something similar can happen to Penguin.
The British creativity I grew up with – in pop, fashion, poetry, the visual arts and the novel – has almost always come from outside the mainstream: from clubs, gay subcultures, the working class and from the street. Many of the instigators may have been white, but they were not from the middle class – a class that lacks, in my experience, the imagination, fearlessness and talent to be truly subversive.Why art that is subversive is better than art that is not escapes me. As for the suggestion elsewhere that Lionel Shriver may not realize that "greatness can come from anywhere," I can assure our sanctimonious author that she is well aware of that.
Some 16 years ago, The Boston Globe published an article about a jobless man who haunted Marsh Plaza, at the center of Boston University. The picture showed a curious figure in a long overcoat, hunched beneath a black fedora near the central sculpture. He spent his days talking with pigeons to whom he had given names: Checkers and Wingtip and Speckles. The article could have been just another human-interest story about our society’s failing commitment to mental health, except that the man crouched in conversation with the birds was John Kidd, once celebrated as the greatest James Joyce scholar alive.
Justification is always a mug’s game, for it involves a surrender to some measure or criterion external to the humanities. The person or persons who ask us as academic humanists to justify what we do is asking us to justify what we do in his terms, not ours. Once we pick up that challenge, we have lost the game, because we are playing on the other guy’s court, where all the advantage and all of the relevant arguments and standards of evidence are his. The justification of the humanities is not only an impossible task but an unworthy one, because to engage in it is to acknowledge, if only implicitly, that the humanities cannot stand on their own and do not on their own have an independent value. Of course the assertion of an independent value and the refusal to attach that value to any external good bring us back to the public-relations question: How are we going to sell this? The answer is. again, that we can’t.
A dog loves a person the way people love each other only while in the grip of new love: with intense, unwavering focus, attentive to every move the beloved makes, unaware of imperfections, desiring little more than to be close, to be entwined, to touch and touch and touch.
Yup, I gotta confess, that now-famous picture of a U.S. marshal in Miami pointing an automatic weapon toward Donato Dalrymple and ordering him in the name of the U.S. government to turn over Elian Gonzalez warmed my heart. They should put that picture up in every visa line in every U.S. consulate around the world, with a caption that reads: ''America is a country where the rule of law rules. This picture illustrates what happens to those who defy the rule of law and how far our government and people will go to preserve it. Come all ye who understand that.''
— Thomas Friedman, writing in the New York Times, April 25, 2000I wonder if he still feels that way.
When I entered the job market, employees were expected to adapt to the workplace. Employers in those days were certainly not looking to adapt the workplace to the preferences and predilections of the newly hired. It’s called a job. You’re hired to do something. That’s why you get paid. Learning to adapt can actually prove quite useful. So can learning something besides what you already think you know.
Kenyon emphasizes her love for her peonies here, but the imagery also intensifies their poignant brevity. Their loss becomes the loss of a loved one. As night descends in the poem, we are reminded of the brevity of all of this world’s beauties and loves. As Kenyon put it in another of her newspaper columns, “We are in fact like the grass that flourishes and withers, just as the psalmist says. Gardening teaches this lesson over and over, but some of us are slow to learn. We can only acknowledge the mystery, and go on planting burgundy lilies.”
“I don’t even think Latinos can justify affirmative action on the basis of race discrimination, because we’re not race,” Rodriguez said. “So, giving affirmative action to a white Latina from Miami and not giving it to a white Appalachian kid from Kentucky is ludicrous to me.”
In short, modern political discourse is noteworthy for the gaping hollow where there ought to be conservatives—institutions and public figures with something important to teach about political order and how to build it up for everyone’s benefit. Into this opening Mr. Peterson has ventured.
The real mystery is what is going on in the head of a six-month-old baby that enables the baby to make sense of all the things that are going on around it. So if we can somehow study the brains of babies in real detail, we might get a feeling for how consciousness begins. But of course, we are very far away from being able to do that.
“The Royal Family of Broadway” is based on the 1927 backstage comedy in which George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber spoofed the eccentricities of Ethel, John and Lionel Barrymore, who once were America’s first theatrical family but are now mostly remembered only by golden-age movie buffs….
… Smith captures the triumph and burden of forgiveness so embedded in black spirituals. As both speaker and writer, in this and a majority of the poems in the collection, Smith reflects on how her art form can and should unify people.