Bedeutung Blog

Category Archives: literature

Jacqueline Rose on the Dreyfus Affair

Jacqueline Rose’s talk at the Asia Society on April 21 – organised by the London Review of Books on their 30th anniversary. Rose discusses parallels of the Affair with today’s political predicaments, including the role of the public intellectual. [audio http://bedeutung.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/dreyfus-affair-jacqueline-rose1.mp3] If the player doesn’t work, click the link below: Dreyfus Affair – Jacqueline Rose(1)
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Wanting to Be Something Else

by Adam Shatz Who could resist the charms, or doubt the importance, of a liberal, secular, Turkish Muslim writing formally adventurous, learned novels about the passionate collision of East and West? Orhan Pamuk is frequently described as a bridge between two great civilisations, and his major theme – the persistence of memory and tradition in Westernising, [...]
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Uncovering Céline

by Wyatt Mason from The New York Review of Books 1. Louis-Ferdinand Destouches met Cillie Pam in Paris, at the Café de la Paix, in September 1932. Destouches was a physician who worked at a public clinic in Clichy treating poor and working-class patients; Pam was a twenty-seven-year-old Viennese gymnastics instructor eleven years his junior on a visit [...]
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On the Couch with Philip Roth, at the Morgue with Pol Pot

by Charles Simic from The New York Review of Books blog As a rule, I read and write poetry in bed; philosophy and serious essays sitting down at my desk; newspapers and magazines while I eat breakfast or lunch, and novels while lying on the couch. It’s toughest to find a good place to read history, since [...]
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The Millions Interview: Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

by Anna Clark from The Millions The Russian language is the real hero of Tolstoy’s masterpiece; it is his voice of truth. The English-speaking world is indebted to these two magnificent translators, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, for revealing more of its hidden riches than any who have tried to translate the book before. — Orlando Figes After [...]
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Interview: Martin Amis

by James Knight from Vice Magazine Martin Amis is one of the great writers of contemporary fiction. Even if he’d given up putting pen to paper after his third novel, Money, this would be an irrefutable fact. Period. Sorry. He writes grippingly of ugly characters consuming for the sake of consumption, blind to their own greed. His [...]
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Who killed John Keats?

by John Barnard from Times On Friday July 27, 1821, five months after Keats’s death, the Morning Chronicle printed, under the heading “John Keats, the Poet”, a long letter written by someone identified only as “Y”. The letter was reprinted by Edmund Blunden in his book Shelley and Keats as they struck their Contemporaries (1925), with the [...]
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All That

by David Foster Wallace from The New Yorker Once when I was a little boy I received as a gift a toy cement mixer. It was made of wood except for its wheels—axles—which, as I remember, were thin metal rods. I’m ninety per cent sure it was a Christmas gift. I liked it the same way a [...]
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Midnight in Dostoevsky // by Don DeLillo

We were two sombre boys hunched in our coats, grim winter settling in. The college was at the edge of a small town way upstate, barely a town, maybe a hamlet, we said, or just a whistle stop, and we took walks all the time, getting out, going nowhere, low skies and bare trees, hardly [...]
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Ben-Hur: The Book That Shook the World

by Amy Lifson from Humanities “Hate keeps a man alive.” Those famous words do not actually appear in the original 1880 novel Ben-Hur by General Lew Wallace. Karl Tunberg, or more likely Christopher Fry or Gore Vidal (there was a dispute over the screenplay credit), gave that line to Roman patrician Quintus Arrius as he confronted the magnificent, [...]
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Eelworks

by Seamus Heaney from Times Online i To win the hand of the princess what tasks the youngest son had to perform. For me, the first to come a-courting in the fish factor’s house, it was to eat with them an eel supper. ii Cut of diesel oil in evening air, tractor engines in the clinker-built deep-bellied boats, landlubbers’ craft, heavy in water as a cow down in a drain, the men [...]
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Presence of Mind

by Michael Wood from London Review of Books Roland Barthes died almost 30 years ago, on 26 March 1980, but his works continue to engage new and old readers with remarkable consistency. Books about him keep appearing: literary and philosophical essays by Jean-Claude Milner (2003), Jean-Pierre Richard (2006) and Eric Marty (2006), a gossipy biography of his [...]
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Axler's Theater

by Elaine Blair from the New York Review of Books One of the rare funny moments in Philip Roth’s recent novel Everyman (2006) takes place when the unnamed hero visits his parents’ graves in Newark. His health has been poor, his colleagues and friends have been dying, and though he has no reason to think that his [...]
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Speak, Nabokov

by Michael Maar from n+1 Playboy supposedly paid the highest advance in its history for the right to serialize the work. The offer was made sight unseen. One would rather not imagine the long faces when Laura finally lays bare her scant charms. For thirty years there were whispers about Laura. The manuscript that the dying author in [...]
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Waking the dead

by Terry Eagleton from the New Statesman The German philosopher Walter Benjamin had the curious notion that we could change the past. For most of us, the past is fixed while the future is open. Benjamin thought that the past could be transformed by what we do in the present. Not literally transformed, of course, since the [...]
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Anna Livia Plurabelle (8.32) // James Joyce reads from Ulysses (1929)

Rec: London, 1929 Recording James Joyce by Sylvia Beach [audio http://bedeutung.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/joyce-james_anna-livia-plurabelle.mp3] In 1924, 1 went to the office of His Master’s Voice in Paris to ask them if they would record a reading by James Joyce from Ulysses. I was sent to Piero Coppola, who was in charge of musical records, but His Master’s Voice would agree to record [...]
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"I like lists for the same reason other people like football or pedophilia" – an interview with Umberto Eco

by Susanne Beyer and Lothar Gorris from Spiegel Online Italian novelist and semiotician Umberto Eco, who is curating a new exhibition at the Louvre in Paris, talks to SPIEGEL about the place lists hold in the history of culture, the ways we try to avoid thinking about death and why Google is dangerous for young people. SPIEGEL: Mr. [...]
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In Berlin, a Peter Hacks Renaissance

by Nathan Thornburgh from the Book Bench of The New Yorker The Wall came down twenty years ago, but when it comes to the East German writer Peter Hacks, the dust is still clearing. The playwright, poet, and occasional author of Communist allegories for children was all but forgotten when he died in 2003. But this past [...]
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Walter Benjamin & Bertolt Brecht: Story of a Friendship?

The English translation of Erdmut Wizisla’s formidable study Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht: The Story of a Friendship is published this Autumn by Libris. No-one has a better view of the much disputed relationship between these two figures than Erdmut Wizisla, director of Berlin’s Benjamin and Brecht Archive. Greeting the German edition, Momme Brodersen spoke [...]
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Bedeutung Magazine Issue 4: Intellectuals & Masses // a study of the depiction of the 'average' person by intellectuals

“There is nothing so annoying as to be fairly rich, of a fairly good family, pleasing presence, average education, to be ‘not stupid,’ kind-hearted, and yet to have no talent at all, no originality, not a single idea of one’s own—to be, in fact, ‘just like everyone else.’ Of such people there are countless numbers in [...]
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