Mark Byron on the Watt notebooks in Texas
The Harry Ransom Center's Cultural Compass has posted a video of Beckett scholar Mark Byron talking about the Watt manuscripts:
Mark Byron came to the Ransom Center last year as a fellow from the University of Sydney to work on his project, “The Holograph Manuscript of Samuel Beckett’s Novel Watt: A Digital Representation and Transcription.” Byron spent his time at the Ransom Center going through the seven notebooks of Beckett’s manuscript of Watt, which he calls “a visually arresting manuscript full of Beckett’s drawing and doodles.” [Read More]Also at A Piece of Monologue:
Tracing a cultural traditionI've 'handpicked' this story from Maud Newton's blog. In a review of Rachel Shteir's The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting, Dwight Garner notes several examples of the practice in literary works, including those by Jack Kerouac, Daniel Defoe, and Saul Bellow [Read More]
Shooting starts this July
I'm not sure about this one. Isotropic Films have announced plans to adapt Franz Kafka's short story, Metamorphosis, into a film starring Nick Searcy. I had always hoped David Lynch or David Cronenberg might be tempted towards Kafka some day, not least for the admiration they have expressed for Kafka's work. (That is, of course, is we move beyond the fact that Kafka's story is virtually impossible to film.) Instead, we have a director and producer who see Gregor Samsa, travelling salesman, as Greg, high school teenager. I am guessing that the family are not financially dependent on 'Greg' in this version of the story.
From the above promotional clip, I have an impression that Kafka's subtle, tragic and darkly humorous tale has been re-cast as some kind of gory shoot-'em-up. The father figure, in the storyboards and script, seems not in the least emotionally upset to find his son's dismembered legs (a sensationalist scene in itself, absent from the original story). The father also seems to be in the habit of carrying a loaded firearm around the house with him. Worrying. Production is set to begin in July 2011:
"We are making a film with a very direct social message," Yohe said. "It's a metaphor for being different, change, and most importantly how fear can make us do harmful things to others and to ourselves."
Story focuses on a 17-year-old who wakes up one morning to an inexplicable illness that transforms him into the unimaginable -- a hideous, human-sized cockroach. His parents come home to discover him afraid and hiding from his new form and are now faced with the decision of accepting a monster in their suburban home or exterminating their own son. [Read More]
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
'What it's all about'
Biblioklept has posted a link to Anthony Burgess' approachable essay on James Joyce's famously complex novel, Finnegans Wake:
Drive westwards out or Dublin, keeping south or Phoenix Park, and you will come to Chapelizod. The name means "Chapel or Iseult", whom the Irish know as Isoilde and the Germans as Isolde-tragic heroine or Wagner's opera. There is little that is romantic about Chapelizod nowadays; if you want a minimal excitement you will have to go to the pubs, of which the most interesting is purely fictional-the Bristol. Some will identify this for you with the Dead Man, so called because customers would roll out of it drunk to be run over by trams. It is important to us because its landlord is the hero of Finnegans Wake. He is middle-aged, of Scandinavian stock and Protestant upbringing, and he has a wife who seems to have some Russian blood in her. His name is, as far as we can tell, Mr. Porter, appropriate for a man who carries up crates of Guinness from the cellar, and he is the father of three children -young twin boys called Kevin and Jerry, and a pretty little daughter named Isobel. [Read More]Also at A Piece of Monologue:
An 'indispensable' collectionTrev Broughton reviews Volume 6 of The Essays of Virginia Woolf (1933–1941) in the Times Literary Supplement: 'The new collection will prove itself indispensable to serious Woolfians, even if, as is likely in the case of Mark Hussey’s well-argued decision to de-italicize the pageant scenes in the unfinished Between the Acts, it generates further controversy.' [Read More]
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
Miranda publish a collection of articles on Beckett and philosophy
Samuel Beckett : Drama as philosophical endgame? / L'épreuve du théâtre dans l'oeuvre de Samuel Beckett : fin de partie philosophique ?
Eds. Nathalie Rivère de Carles, Philippe Birgy - June 2011
Préface / Foreword – Philippe Birgy
Performance and subjective perception / Jeu et perception du sujet
- Victoria Swanson, Confining, Incapacitating, and Partitioning the Body: Carcerality and Surveillance in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, Happy Days, and Play
- Arka Chattopadhyay, “From Inner to Outer Shadow”: Reading the Obscure Object of Anxiety in the ‘Dramaticules’ of Samuel Beckett
- Tram Nguyen, Hostaged to the Voice of the Other: Beckett's Play and Not I
- Lea Sinoimeri, “Close your eyes and listen to it”: schizophonia and ventriloquism in Becketts’s plays
- Lydie Parisse, La coïncidence des contraires
- Steven Bond, “R. C.”: Rosicrucianism and Cartesianism in Joyce and Beckett
- Katy Masuga, Beckett, Wittgenstein and Blanchot: Language Games from Text to Theatre
- Philippe Birgy, "No one that ever lived ever thought so crooked as we" : Endgame according to Adorno
- Shimon Levy, Eleutheria – Notes on Freedom between Offstage and Self-reference
Articles Hors-Theme / Occasional Papers
- Bénédicte Coste, Charles du Bos, lecteur de Thomas Hardy
- Gaëlle Serena, Circulations de l’écrit : la construction de la communauté catholique anglaise dans les écrits jésuites de 1580 à 1610
- Eric Doumerc, Rastafarians in Post-Independence Caribbean Poetry in English (the 1960s and the 1970s): from Pariahs to Cultural Creators
- Candice Lemaire, "Bad neighbors make good fencers" : esthétique des liens de voisinage dans les premiers poèmes de Robert Frost
Recensions / Reviews
- Selene Scarsi, Translating Women in Early Modern England: Gender in the Elizabethan Versions of Boiardo, Ariosto and Tasso
- (Nathalie Rivere De Carles)
- Diane Waggoner (ed.), The Pre-Raphaelite Lens―British Photography and Painting, 1848-1875 (Muriel Adrien)
- Logie Barrow, François Poirier (eds), A Full-Bodied Society (Fanny Robles)
- Louise Penner, Victorian Medicine and Social Reform: Florence Nightingale among the Novelists (Laurence Talairach-Vielmas)
- Tabitha Sparks, The Doctor in the Victorian Novel: Family Practices (Laurence Talairach-Vielmas)
- Katherine Byrne, Tuberculosis and the Victorian Literary Imagination (Laurence Talairach-Vielmas)
- Fay Bound Alberti, Matters of the Heart: History, Medicine and Emotion (Laurence Talairach-Vielmas)
WebsiteThe articles by international researchers in Beckett studies can be found at:
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
A glimpse into Atwood's daily routines
|Margaret Atwood. Photograph: George Whiteside|
When I wake up in the morning I might check my email to see what gruesome things have come in from Europe, but I won't go to news sites. I don't like news too early in the day. I would rather have it filter in gradually. I might go for a walk with a friend and purchase a paper newspaper, which is very nice to have in a cafe. Then I might go online later in the day and look at a couple of newspapers or other news outlets or follow links that people have sent me. I listen to the radio, but around six o'clock in the evening.Also at A Piece of Monologue:
I subscribe to and read a lot of magazines. Too many. Some of them are literary, like the London Review of Books, the New York Review of Books, the TLS sometimes, a number of little literary magazines. And some of them are scientific, environmental, and historical. When in airports I will buy Discover Magazine. When I'm in the U.K. I might buy the New Scientist. I might buy Scientific American or The Economist, and anything else that strikes my fancy. I might buy a Time or Newsweek or an Atlantic if they've got something I wish to read.
I sometimes watch YouTube items, which I find through Twitter. I have a large Twitter following. How did I get that? I don't know. I go on Twitter maybe once in a day, sometimes twice, sometimes never if I'm out of WiFi range, and see what people are telling me and so forth. I look up the URLs of things that look interesting. I've got two Internet browsers. I find it very helpful to have two, so I can look up urls on one that are mentioned on the other. I've got several news sites bookmarked.
But there's nothing except food and drink that I can't live without (I take these questions literally). Anything else is optional, although I would be quite upset if I couldn't read any books. I read books in print form or in in e-form: I've got a Kindle and I've got a Kobo. [Read More]
On walking, psychogeography, David Lynch and Jonathan Swift
In an interview with The Paris Review, Will Self discusses the genesis of his latest book, Walking to Hollywood (link via will-self.com):
Why did you start these walking tours?Also at A Piece of Monologue:
Will Self: I think it was to do with stuff in my own life—with not drinking and consciously wanting to exercise more. My father was an academic who specialized in urban and regional development, so I grew up with somebody who talked about cities. Back in 1999, I was writing a column for the British Airways flight magazine and conceived of this incredibly environmentally incorrect idea that I would fly somewhere in Britain every morning from Heathrow, or one of the London airports, then take a long country walk, then fly back in the same day, and write about that. In the last one, even with my malformed environmental consciousness, I began thinking, “This is wrong, it’s not right on all sorts of levels!” So instead, I decided to walk to Heathrow. It occurred to me when I set out to do it that this was an adventure—it really was terra incognita, probably nobody had done it since the pre-industrial era. There was something profoundly strange about this. After that, it occurred to me that I didn’t know anybody who had walked from Central London to the countryside, and I began to conceive of these ex-urban walks as a way of curing myself of the sense of dislocation that had come over me in my adult life. I’d ended up not knowing where I was in a very profound sense.[Read More]
On a recent trend in critical theory
|Jacques Derrida, in a still from the film Derrida (dir. Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, 2002)|
Today, hauntology inspires many fields of investigation, from the visual arts to philosophy through electronic music, politics, fiction and literary criticism. At its most basic level, it ties in with the popularity of faux-vintage photography, abandoned spaces and TV series like Life on Mars. Mark Fisher – whose forthcoming Ghosts of My Life (Zer0 Books) focuses primarily on hauntology as the manifestation of a specific "cultural moment" – acknowledges that "There's a hauntological dimension to many different aspects of culture; in fact, in Moses and Monotheism, Freud practically argues that society as such is founded on a hauntological basis: "the voice of the dead father". When you come to think of it, all forms of representation are ghostly. Works of art are haunted, not only by the ideal forms of which they are imperfect instantiations, but also by what escapes representation. See, for instance, Borges's longing to capture in verse the "other tiger, that which is not in verse". Or Maurice Blanchot, who outlines what could be described as a hauntological take on literature as "the eternal torment of our language, when its longing turns back toward what it always misses". Julian Wolfrey argues in Victorian Hauntings (2002) that "to tell a story is always to invoke ghosts, to open a space through which something other returns" so that "all stories are, more or less, ghost stories" and all fiction is, more or less, hauntological. The best novels, according to Gabriel Josipovici, share a "sense of density of other worlds suggested but lying beyond words". For the reader or critic, the mystery of literature is the opacity – the irreducible remainder – at the heart of writing that can never be completely interpreted away. The whole western literary tradition itself is founded on the notion of posterity, which Paul Eluard described as the "harsh desire to endure" through one's works. And then, of course, there's the death of the author ... All this, as you can see, could go on for quite a while, so perhaps we should wonder if the concept does not just mean all things to all (wo)men. Steen Christiansen, who is writing a book on the subject, explains that "hauntology bleeds into the fields of postmodernism, metafiction and retro-futurism and that there is no clear distinction – that would go against the tension which hauntology aims at".Also at A Piece of Monologue:
As a reflection of the zeitgeist, hauntology is, above all, the product of a time which is seriously "out of joint" (Hamlet is one of Derrida's crucial points of reference in Spectres of Marx). There is a prevailing sense among hauntologists that culture has lost its momentum and that we are all stuck at the "end of history". Meanwhile, new technologies are dislocating more traditional notions of time and place. Smartphones, for instance, encourage us never to fully commit to the here and now, fostering a ghostly presence-absence. Internet time (which is increasingly replacing clock time) results in a kind of "non-time" that goes hand in hand with Marc Augé's non-places. Perhaps even more crucially, the web has brought about a "crisis of overavailability" that, in effect, signifies the "loss of loss itself": nothing dies any more, everything "comes back on YouTube or as a box set retrospective" like the looping, repetitive time of trauma (Fisher). This is why "retromania" has reached fever pitch in recent years, as Simon Reynolds demonstrates in his new book - a methodical dissection of "pop culture's addiction to its own past". [Read More]
An incomplete listThe Millions have compiled a rather morbid article about writers who have died in car crashes. Among those discussed are Nathanael West, Margaret Mitchell, Jeanne Leiby, Doug Marlette, Albert Camus and W. G. Sebald [Read More]
A selection of literary figures you might want to follow
- William Gibson: Of course one of cyberpunk’s progenitors would make his way to Twitter! William Gibson is generous with retweets and replies, but he does talk about his own work as well as things piquing his interest.
- Doug Coupland: Most of the Generation X and Hey, Nostradamus! writer’s feed is occupied with brief thoughts and the occasional link.
- Stephen Fry: Although known mainly as a comedic actor, Stephen Fry also happens to be an acclaimed author and mental health awareness activist — one with a beautifully funny, provocative Twitter.
- Hugo Schwyzer: The Pasadena City College professor of gender studies and history is a prolific feminist and sociological commentator with an amazing oeuvre. His feed makes articles and insights quickly accessible for changemakers on the go.
- Mignon Fogarty: Grammar Girl herself keeps a Twitter, carrying over the informative content found on her blog and in her podcast and books.
- Paulo Coelho: With tweets in both Brazilian Portuguese and English, the celebrated, prolific Paulo Coelho uses his social media skills to touch a broad range of fans.
- Arianna Huffington: Understandably, most of the publishing and media giantess’ tweets mostly have to do with politics and culture rather than writing and reading.
- Augusten Burroughs: Twitter allows fans to step into the life of this popular memoirist, learning more about his projects and personal thoughts.
- Chris Anderson: As the editor-in-chief of Wired, the incredibly popular Chris Anderson stands at the forefront of new media, science and technology journalism — a fact reflected right there in his feed.
- Margaret Atwood: Critically-lauded, award-winning The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood loves herself some retweets, but she also manages to slip talks about her own views, projects and events as well.
- Tao Lin: Prolific poet, essayist and Vice columnist and cartoonist Tao Lin tweets some interesting observations and links to various works.
[Read the complete list]
On the production, the visual style, and the film's legacy
|Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now (1973)|
Don’t Look Now was originally a Daphne de Maurier short story, whom at the time was best known for the works Hitchcock adapted for the screen – Rebecca, The Birds and, to a lesser extent, Jamaica Inn. The influence of Hitchcock on Roeg is highlighted by Don’t Look Now’s near-duplication of a classic scene from The 39 Steps – Hitchcock cuts from a woman’s scream to that of a train whistle, while Roeg cuts from Laura Baxter’s shriek in England to that of a jackhammer in Venice.
The casting of Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland as Laura and John Baxter was, according to Roeg, again down to chance: “They ended up being first choice – I wanted Julie and liked the idea of a Canadian in the main male role but we were told we’d never get them. Julia was on McGovern’s campaign (her then-boyfriend Warren Beatty was an advisor on Senator George McGovern’s unsuccessful presidential campaign of 1972) and Donald had just started a movie in Mexico. But the McGovern campaign fell through as did the Mexican film – they were free. Destiny".
Roeg attributes a similar sense of serendipity to a large portion of the film production: "The script has a life separate from itself and chance can never be excluded. The church we eventually used was Nicolò dei Mendicoli (St. Nicholas of the Beggars) and things fell into place after this location was secured – they were actually restoring the church itself at the time. You can see a poster outside declaring ‘Venice in Peril Fund’. [Also]…the incident where the scaffolding collapses under Sutherland’s character – the scaffolding was already there." The Venice portrayed in the film is certainly not the city one would find in a travel brochure. Our expectations are inverted as we see the city permanently engulfed in a dolorous winter grey, wet and, by night, an anaemic dark. [Read More]
American novelist 'wises up'
His most recent book, Nemesis, published last year, is a return to Newark and for many commentators a triumphant return to high form after its more lackluster predecessor, 2009's The Humbling. Nemesis is set in Newark during the Second World War amid a polio epidemic that savagely attacks the children of the poor. Fear and panic start to kick away life's fragile edifices and anti-Semitism raises its head.Also at A Piece of Monologue:
"For me, the passing of time has provided me with subjects I never had before. Subjects I can now look at from a historical perspective. Like the anti-communist era in America. I lived through that, I was a boy, I didn't find a way to write about it until many years later. The same with the Vietnam war. I started to try to write the book that became American Pastoral back in the 1970s, when the war was just ending, but I couldn't do it. It took another 20 years. I wouldn't know what to write [about Iraq and Afghanistan, or 9/11]. It does take me 20 years to figure it out.
"That book, Nemesis, began when I didn't know what to write next and I made a list of events through which I'd lived and which I'd never examined in fiction, never presented in fiction. Polio was on the list and when I went back through the list I found I'd circled polio."
"The polio epidemic in 1944 did not exist. It's fictional. I knew one or two kids who had the disease, I heard the stories, but no one close."
It is such a potent metaphor for attack on the home front, especially during wartime, that it evokes American Pastoral's human terrorist, the adored daughter of a high-achieving family turned murderous bomb-throwing war protester. But Roth is disinclined to talk in terms of metaphor. In a New Yorker interview, he indicated that allegory was a form he disliked and, during our conversation, he more than once says of a work we are discussing: "Well, it's about what it's about."
For a writer whose work has always played dark games with truth and illusion, with alter-egos and their doubles, with protagonists and narrators who both are and aren't their author, with phoney confessions, fake biography, false history, with the laying of deceptive trails through the paths of narrative, this is a pretty clear way of saying: "Just read the books."
That's what the writer—who is regularly described as "famously private" or "reclusive," yet might just be tired of questions—really does seem to want. As we talk, Roth is perfectly courteous, perfectly charming, perfectly defended. Half a century of celebrity, since the publication of Portnoy's Complaint in 1969 brought him money and a turbulent kind of fame at the age of 36, has made him a master of the polite no-go sign. The conversation I'd longed to have with him since I first read him many decades ago, a conversation about fiction itself, died an early death.
"I've stopped reading fiction. I don't read it at all. I read other things: history, biography. I don't have the same interest in fiction that I once did."
"I don't know. I wised up ..." [Read More]
27 June 1928An interesting post over at Daybook: 'On this day in 1928 Sylvia Beach hosted a dinner party so that F. Scott Fitzgerald, who "worshipped James Joyce, but was afraid to approach him," might do so. In her Shakespeare and Company memoir Beach delicately avoids describing what happened, although she perhaps suggests an explanation: "Poor Scott was earning so much from his books that he and Zelda had to drink a great deal of champagne in Montmartre in an effort to get rid of it." According to Herbert Gorman, another guest and Joyce's first biographer, Fitzgerald sank down on one knee before Joyce, kissed his hand, and declared: "How does it feel to be a great genius, Sir? I am so excited at seeing you, Sir, that I could weep."' (link via Maud Newton) [Read More]
George Hunka on Beckett and SchopenhauerPrompted by a passage in John Calder's The Philosophy of Samuel Beckett, George Hunka reflects on the relationship between philosophy and art. In a brief piece posted over at Superfluidities Redux, Hunka makes a few cursory comments on figures such as Beckett, Schopenhauer, Wagner, Adorno and Nietzsche: 'That some philosophers and artists have elective affinities with each other is a lesson that Schopenhauer’s enduring influence on artists, and Beckett’s enduring appeal to critics and philosophers, demonstrates perhaps better than any other philosopher.' [Read More]
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
'Nothing but obscenities'
Friedrich Nietzsche on Dante Alighieri:
“A hyena that wrote poetry on tombs.”
Vladimir Nabokov on Fyodor Dostoevsky:
“Dostoevky’s lack of taste, his monotonous dealings with persons suffering with pre-Freudian complexes, the way he has of wallowing in the tragic misadventures of human dignity — all this is difficult to admire.”
Virginia Woolf on Aldous Huxley:
“All raw, uncooked, protesting.”
Joseph Conrad on D.H. Lawrence:
“Filth. Nothing but obscenities.”
Vladimir Nabokov on Joseph Conrad:
“I cannot abide Conrad’s souvenir shop style and bottled ships and shell necklaces of romanticist cliches.”
Dylan Thomas on Rudyard Kipling:
“Mr Kipling … stands for everything in this cankered world which I would wish were otherwise.”
William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway:
“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”
Oscar Wilde on Alexander Pope:
“There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.”
Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac:
“That’s not writing, that’s typing.”
Virginia Woolf on James Joyce:
“[Ulysses is] the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.”
The Times of New York candle has hints of cedar, musk and spice
|The Times of New York candle|
From 'Sunny Jim' to 'Herr Satan'Richard Davenport-Hines reviews Gordon Bowker's new biography of James Joyce in the Telegraph: '"Sunny Jim” was James Joyce’s boyhood nickname in Victorian Dublin, and “Herr Satan” was the epithet by which he was known in Zurich during the final phase of his life. It is Gordon Bowker’s task, in this deft, accomplished biography, to explain how Sunny Jim became Herr Satan.' [Read More]
Graham Harman on imitated mannerisms of the German philosopherMark Thwaite of Ready Steady Book has drawn my attention to a recent post by Graham Harman at Object Oriented Philosophy: 'By now most people are familiar with the concept of Heidegger Kitsch: the aping of Heidegger’s verbal mannerisms without the soul of the thing being there. At times Heidegger himself even seems to lapse into this, such as in portions of the Beiträge and even more in lesser texts in the same vein such as Besinnung.' Harman also singles out the verbal and physical mannerisms of Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze and Alain Badiou. [Read More]
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
A conversation published online by Dalkey Archive Press
|William S. Burroughs. Photograph: Bob Willoughby|
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
Can Dante appeal to the masses?In a recent review for The Guardian, Andrew Motion on the weaknesses and the strengths of A. N. Wilson's new book, Dante in Love [Read More]
Book designer praises twentieth century writerPeter Mendelsund, art director for Pantheon Books, shares his love of Kafka over at Interview Magazine [Read More]
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
Sylvia Plath interviews Elizabeth Bowen for Mademoiselle, 26 May 1953
|Photographs via Susan Tomaselli|
Penguin release classic Beat novel in 'amplified' edition
|Screenshots of the new On The Road iPad app|
About the AppThe legendary novel from the postwar prophet of American literature—brought to life with exclusive content for an absorbing and transformative experience
Pulsating with the rhythms of jazz, frenetic sex, illicit drugs, and the mystery and promise of the open road, this iconic novel defined what it meant to be “beat” and captured the impulses of a liberated underground America. Based on Jack Kerouac’s adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends crossing the country in search of a new kind of experience and authenticity that they could not find in mainstream culture. Expressing a quintessential American vision of freedom and longing, On the Road is a timeless tale that resonates with each new generation.
With the complete text of the original 1957 novel at its heart, this digital edition has been curated by Penguin editors, the Kerouac estate, and Beat scholars and includes a set of spectacular features that immerse readers in the book’s backstory and legacy—making for a truly unique literary encounter.
- Prized family photographs from Kerouac’s estate, many published here for the first time
- Exclusive audio clips of Kerouac himself reading three excerpts from an early draft
- Documentary footage of fellow Beats sharing their firsthand impressions of Kerouac
- Pages from the journals Kerouac kept while on the road
- Reproductions of Kerouac’s first draft of the novel on the 120-foot scroll, as well as later typescripts with corrections made by him and his editors
- Slideshow of cover art from international editions
- Extensive collection of original reviews
- Tributes to Kerouac and On the Road by leading artists from John Updike to Bob Dylan
- Previously unreleased editorial documents from the archives of Viking, the novel’s publisher
- Side-by-side comparisons of Kerouac’s famous original scroll draft and the published text, highlighting the editorial work that went into his masterpiece as well as the elements removed on the recommendation of Viking’s lawyers—including some of Kerouac’s most explicit treatments of sex, drug use, and other “obscenities”
- An expert introduction by Beat scholar Howard Cunnell
- Fully interactive map of the now legendary trips from 1947, 1949, and 1950 taken by Dean and Sal in the book
- Complete text of the 1957 edition of the novel, thoroughly annotated with biographies of the real-life Beats behind the famous characters, notes on their favorite hot spots and hangouts around the country, and explanations of cultural references
- Gallery of new and classic photographs of all the famous Beats
- Detailed biography with an in-depth look at Kerouac’s personal and artistic life
- Noteworthy articles by Kerouac on his unique, innovative writing style and the philosophy of the Beat generation
- Easy book navigation features, including text search, bookmarks, and the ability to flip pages with a tap or swipe
- Sidebar annotations alongside the novel hide away for an uninterrupted reading experience
- Reproduced archival documents can be enlarged to full screen with a double tap
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
A Moveable Feast: The Restored EditionCharlotte Newman reviews a restored edition of Ernest Hemingway's Paris memoir, A Moveable Feast [Read More]
American playwright and screenwriter 'converts' from liberal to conservative
|From liberal to conservative: David Mamet|
Propagandistic writing of this kind can be even more boring than it is irritating. For example, Mamet writes in The Secret Knowledge that “the Israelis would like to live in peace within their borders; the Arabs would like to kill them all.” Whatever one’s opinion of that conflict may be, this (twice-made) claim of his abolishes any need to analyze or even discuss it. It has a long way to go before it can even be called simplistic. By now, perhaps, you will not be surprised to know that Mamet regards global warming as a false alarm, and demands to be told “by what magical process” bumper stickers can “save whales, and free Tibet.” This again is not uncharacteristic of his pointlessly aggressive style: who on earth maintains that they can? If I were as prone to sloganizing as Mamet, I’d keep clear of bumper-sticker comparisons altogether.
On the epigraph page, and again on the closing one, Mamet purports to explain the title of his book. He cites the anthropologist Anna Simons on rites of initiation, to the effect that the big secret is very often that there is no big secret. In his own voice, he states: “There is no secret knowledge. The federal government is merely the zoning board writ large.” Again, it is hard to know with whom he is contending. Believers in arcane or esoteric or occult power are distributed all across the spectrum and would, I think, include Glenn Beck. Mr. Beck is among those thanked in Mamet’s acknowledgments for helping free him from “the bemused and sad paternalism” of the liberal airwaves. Would that this were the only sign of the deep confusion that is all that alleviates Mamet’s commitment to the one-dimensional or the flat-out partisan. [Read More]
Roth discusses his life and career as Nemesis is published
|Philip Roth. Photograoh: Eric Thayer.|
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
Writing the End TimesLars Iyers discusses his recent book, Spurious, at HowTheLightGetsIn 2011. He talks about the anonymity of the blogging world, messianism, the disappointments of contemporary life, and reads an extract from his book. His reading captures the tone of the book brilliantly. The session ends with a series of questions from the audience (link via Ready Steady Book). [Watch]
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
2008 interview with American director and playwright
David Mamet appears on Bloomsberg's Night Talk (2008) to discuss Redbelt, dialogue, dramatic conflict and tension, character development, directing and the filmmaking process.
Chicago filmmaker launches kickstarter campaign to fund ambitious new documentary
Beginning Monday June 6th, fans of celebrated Chicago legend of the written word Nelson Algren will have the opportunity to help fund a documentary about his life and interests, Algren. The creators of Algren will launch a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter beginning Monday June 6th and ending Monday July 11th, 2011. Kickstarter.com is a social funding website that provides a way for the public to financially support creative ideas and endeavors. The campaign aims to raise $25,000 to complete the documentary. Donors can receive a variety of incentives including a DVD copy of the completed film, a digital download of the film, exclusive t-shirts featuring various Algren book covers, a numbered limited edition silk-screened print of the movie poster, signed books from Algren friend and photographer Art Shay, and production credit in the film when they donate at:
Through interviews with internationally known artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers, the film will reestablish Algren’s place in America’s urban fiction, while also revealing his impact on today’s literary and creative artists. Among Algren champions interviewed to date are photographer Art Shay, legendary Chicago journalist Rick Kogan, film directors William Friedkin and Philip Kaufman, writer Barry Gifford, Algren expert Bill Savage, Chicago writer Joe Meno, the musician Wayne Kramer, the painter Robert Guinan, and personal friends Jan Herman and Bruce Jay Freidman. Future interviewees include: the writer Russell Banks and Stuart Dybek; filmmakers Andy Davis, John Sayles, and Michael Mann; musicians Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Henry Rollins.
The film is directed by independent film director and educator Michael Caplan, owner of Montrose Pictures, and produced by Gail H. Sonnenfeld and Nicole Bernardi-Reis. Caplan’s most recent film, A Magical Vision, is a documentary that spotlights Eugene Burger, a magician, philosopher, and guru of the magical arts. The film premiered at the Gene Siskel Theatre in Chicago in 2008 and was an award winning film at international film festivals. Caplan also directed Stones from the Soil, a personal documentary that showed on national PBS in 2005 through 2007.
As a producer, he has produced three critically acclaimed feature films, including The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, which was critically acclaimed by The New York Times as “praiseworthy, intense, frenetic, frank, and touching… preserving not just a performance but the spirit of a time.” He is an Associate Professor and an Associate Chair of the Film & Video Department at Columbia College Chicago.
“I grew up in working and middle class neighborhoods, first on the far Southeast Side of Chicago and later in West Rogers Park. When I read Man With The Golden Arm, I was eighteen years old and it was like I was seeing a different Chicago than I had ever known. It was vivid, it was dark, and it was fascinating. More importantly, it was compassionate,” says Caplan. “Nelson Algren brings you into these worlds of the dispossessed, the people who have nothing to lose. He doesn’t elevate them, or look at them with pity. Rather, we see their humanity, both good and bad. Algren reminds us that we need to pay attention to the world around us. If we don’t, we risk losing our humanity.”
ContactFor more information or to arrange for media interviews with director Michael Caplan, please contact Jennifer Lizak at firstname.lastname@example.org / 708-707-1503.
The influence of Thomas' father on his life and work
|Dylan Thomas. Photograph: Corbis.|
David John Thomas liked to drink alone. Author Paul Ferris illustrated the point in his biography Dylan Thomas with a portrait of David John alone in a corner table at his local Welsh pub, the Bush. He describes David John Thomas as “a clever, disappointed man”. A young colleague, wrote Ferris, remembered once buying a pint for D.J. (as he was called), who accepted, and then chose to drink it in silence, at his table, alone. Pub regulars called the sulking presence who often spent his evenings there “The Professor.”Also at A Piece of Monologue:
As a boy, D.J. was a promising student. He had received a scholarship to study English at the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth where he graduated with first-class honors. Like many promising students of English, D.J. had dreams of being a poet. Instead, he became a grammar school teacher. He watched in anger and shame as colleagues of clearly inferior worth gained appointments to higher university positions while he remained where he was. D.J. was often ill, and wondered why he had no visitors. He cultivated a devastating schoolmaster’s sarcasm that shielded his fragile pride. Students of Schoolmaster Thomas remember an unforgiving tyrant who cursed stupid boys and dirty boys. But he made Shakespeare come alive and became known for getting his boys into Oxford and Cambridge. D.J.’s great passion for English literature was available for any boy willing to receive it. To his son Dylan, however, the clever, disappointed father gave his entire dream of a poet’s life. [Read More]
American periodical reviews Ulysses and Finnegans WakeJames Joyce appeared twice on the cover of Time magazine, once on 29 January 1934, and a second time on 8 May 1939. John Coulthart takes a look at what each issue had to say. [Read More]
Online competition prompts some fantastically inventive designs
|F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. Design: James Martin.|
|F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. Design: Hannes Beer.|
|F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. Design: Caree Michel.|
|F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. Design: Julien Dalard.|
A brief etymologyToday's Hot Word over at dictionary.com asks 'What does Shakespeare have to do with punk rock?': 'While the modern day use of the word “punk” might suggest anarchistic youth, William Shakespeare used the term quite differently over 400 years ago. So how did this word evolve from a derogatory term aimed at a woman to a derogatory term aimed at a young man?' [Read More]
Will electronic books replace physical editions altogether?Alice-Azania Jarvis speculates on the future of the home library: 'In January Amazon revealed that it was selling more books in Kindle format than any other, and global sales of eBooks are expected to surpass the $1bn mark this year. In an age when literature is increasingly going digital, books hold a curious role in our homes. There aren't many purchases which, once used, would be placed on proud display in our living rooms, considered a vital part of our identity and carted round with us as we moved from one home to the next – particularly not when a virtual equivalent exists. And yet that's precisely what we've been doing with our books. Will the digital revolution change that?' [Read More]
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
Modern technology traces a pub-free path through city streets
|Map of Dublin|
In Ulysses, the author James Joyce defies readers to cross Dublin without passing one of its 1,000 pubs. The debate has raged in saloon bars and snugs on the banks of the Liffey ever since being laid down in the sprawling 1922 masterpiece.Also at A Piece of Monologue:
The software developer Rory McCann has now put an end to the black-stuff-fuelled arguments after more than a year of trying to find a hi-tech solution. Despite never having read the book, and with little more than a passing interest in his city's most celebrated writer, he has worked out how to complete the alcohol-free odyssey with the help of a computer algorithm and an online map.
"You always hear that it's not possible to cross the city without running into a pub, and I thought with modern computers maybe we could look into it again," he said.
The map was published to coincide with the annual Bloomsday yesterday, in which Joyce fans recreate a day in the life of the book's protagonist, Leopold Bloom, and has already sparked much debate. One hot topic is whether it is in the spirit of the challenge to skirt the length of the Guinness brewery at St James' Gate, or to pass modern establishments where suitable refreshment could be on offer.
Mr McCann said: "Some people are a bit annoyed that I have ruined a perfectly good argument that they can have in the pub. I feel it is pretty watertight now and two people have already cycled it and said it works." [Read More]
Self returns to the Idler Academy this SeptemberBritish writer and columnist to give a talk on walking on 15 September 2011: 'Will Self returns to the Idler Academy on Thursday 15 September for a symposium on walking. Entitled Being There, Will’s talk will discuss the idea of using walking as a way of escaping what he calls ‘the man-machine matrix’, in other words, the sense encouraged by our modern system that you are always on the way somewhere, and never in the present.' [Read More]
A compendium of links celebrating James Joyce's Ulysses
|Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses|
It soared, a bird, it held its flight, a swift pure cry, soar silver orb it leaped serene, speeding, sustained, to come, don't spin it out too long long breath he breath long life, soaring high, high resplendent, aflame, crowned, high in the effulgence symbolistic, high, of the ethereal bosom, high, of the high vast irradiation everywhere all soaring all around about the all, the endlessnessnessness
James Joyce, Ulysses
News, Events, Extracts, Trivia and More:
- James Joyce: Dublin Bloomsday Celebrations 2011
- Radio Bloomsday 2011
- Recording of James Joyce reading from Finnegans Wake
- Re:Joyce | Frank Delaney reads Ulysses
- A Cheat's Guide to James Joyce's Ulysses
- James Joyce: Bloomsday 2010
- Radio Bloomsday: 16 June 2010
- 'A House of Life': Anthony Burgess on James Joyce
- Joe Biden: James Joyce Fan
- New edition of Finnegans Wake
- Blake Morrison on Ulysses and Us
- Brian Donnelly reviews Ulysses and Us
- James Joyce's words encoded in DNA
- James Joyce Timeline
- Books and their Makers: Sylvia Beach and James Joyce
- Beckett, Joyce and Irish Exile
- Literary rags and T-Shirts
- Writers' Autographs
- James Joyce's Ulysses adapted as Graphic Novel
- Re Joyce
- Bloomsday 2009
- Bloomsday: James Joyce Quiz at The Guardian
- Bloomin' Marvellous! Joyce and Trieste.
- Declan Kiberd, Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Living
- Mark Harkin, 'James Joyce's Ulysses - why the fuss?'
- Rare Recording of James Joyce reading
- Bloomsday at Wikipedia.org
Author of C joins an impressive line-upTom McCarthy to appear at this year's Edinburgh Book Festival: 'C author Tom McCarthy is a genius at tracing myth through modernism – he promises to explain "how writing works" using Ovid, Rilke, Cocteau and a dash of Kraftwerk.' [Read More]
The Guardian website has also drawn attention to the following attendees: Alan Hollinghurst, Jennifer Egan, Karen Russell, Colm Tóibín, Alasdair Gray, Will Self, AL Kennedy, Ali Smith, Alan Warner, Neil Gaiman, A. S. Byatt, Audrey Niffenegger, Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Jo Nesbø, Kurdo Baksi, Michael Longley, Liz Lochhead, and Carol Ann Duffy.
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
British writer reads extracts from his short story collection
De Beauvoir Square, De Beauvoir Town, East London. 2008. Part of a playful advertising campaign for Lee Rourke's first short story collection, Everyday.
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
Hopkins reads 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night'
American filmmaker to open nightclub in Paris
|Club Silencio: A still from David Lynch's Mulholland Drive (2001)|
David Lynch aficionados will soon have a new temple to worship at. The cult auteur's latest project is designing a club in Paris. Club Silencio gets its name from the fictional establishment featured in Lynch's lauded 2001 movie Mulholland Drive. Lynch has designed the entire interior of the club, including some striking pieces of furniture. A surreal wooden-speaker stack seems to resemble a nightmarish appropriation of the face of a child's cuddly toy – the eyes being the two circular speaker cones. He's also designed several bespoke chairs and an asymmetrical double sofa, footstool and side- table combination.
The private members' club is at 142 Rue Montmartre, not far from the Paris Stock Exchange. [...]
Club Silencio was slated to open in June, but will now launch in September. The club will also feature a private film screening room. As you might expect from a Lynch project, much is still shrouded in secrecy. Those involved with the club reveal little, saying information will be released nearer to the opening date. But this cloud of obfuscation hasn't stopped Lynch's devoted fanbase from excitably posting leaks, titbits and photographs on internet forums and Facebook. Club Silencio, it seems, won't stay quiet for long. [Read More]
How technology is shaping the way we think, and writeLisa Lebduska ponders whether Facebook is spoiling a new generation of writers, but not for the reasons you might expect: 'The real threat posed by Facebook is not that it ruins writers' ability to punctuate or encourages them to replace words with pictures. The problem with Facebook is that it nurtures one of writing teachers' greatest foes -- the teenage fantasy that writers write only to themselves and to those who are just like them.' [Read More]
97th anniversary of Joyce's short story collectionJames Joyce's Dubliners was published on this day in 1914: 'Before and long after publication, Joyce fumed that “nine years of my life” had been consumed by efforts to get his story collection into print — the "litigation and train fare and postal expense," the correspondence with "seven solicitors, one hundred and twenty newspapers and several men of letters," the refusals and humiliations received from forty timid or waffling publishers.' [Read More]
2006 conversation published in English for the first timeOstap Karmodi introduces his talk with the late American writer David Foster Wallace: 'The occasion for our talk was the tenth anniversary of the publication of Infinite Jest. I planned to talk to Mr. Wallace for fifteen minutes, but we ended up talking for nearly two hours, and the subjects we covered ranged from the cynical tone of US politics, to the horrors of factory farming, to the state of American literature, to the progress in his own work. Though part of the interview was broadcast on Russia’s Radio Liberty, it has never been published in English.' [Read More]
British actor to reprise Beckett role in New York this December
Krapp's Last Tape
Written by Samuel Beckett
Gate Theatre, Dublin
Directed by Michael Colgan
Part of the 2011 Next Wave Festival
Dec 6 (Gala), 8—11 & 13—17, 2011 at 7:30pm
Dec 10, 14 & 17, 2011 at 2pm
Dec 11 & 18, 2011 at 3pm
A tragedy in one act for a lone actor, a tape recorder, and many, many bananas, Krapp’s Last Tape is one of Samuel Beckett’s most personal works for the stage—a feat of great precision and tense economy. Featuring discreet details from the writer’s own life, this dramatization of the messy truths of memory and time illuminates the predicament we face when we become strangers to our former selves.
Reprising his role in the Gate Theatre’s critically acclaimed Dublin and London production, two-time Oscar nominee John Hurt (The Elephant Man, Midnight Express) plays the titular Krapp, an embittered and dyspeptic man who marks the occasion of his 69th birthday by revisiting his 39-year-old self. Veering from outrage to contemplation, Krapp exhibits the ticks and tocks of a beaten man whose spirit unravels as the tapes unspool in “all that old misery” of lost time.
BAM Harvey Theater
Run time: 55min
Season Ticket Price*: $17.50—100
Full Price*: $25—125
* Prices subject to change after Aug 28
Lighting by James McConnell
Listen to a free talk on Romero's classic zombie film
On 26 May, as part of Birkbeck Arts Week (23-28 May), academics shared their thoughts on George A. Romero's zombie horror classic, Dawn of the Dead (1978). The roundtable discussion was introduced by Dr Amber Jacobs (Psychosocial Studies) and included four speakers: Mark Fisher (Cultural Studies and Music Culture, Goldsmiths) Gordon Hon (Artist and Lecturer in Visual Culture, Winchester School of Art), Paul Myerscough (Senior Editor at the London Review of Books) and Dr Catherine Grant (Senior Lecturer in Film from Sussex University). The event was part of a series entitled ‘Intrusions: Vampires, Strangers and Monstrous Others’, convened by the Urban Studies group of the Raphael Samuel History Centre (link via Ballardian). [Listen]
A brief online guide to writers' favourite tipples
|Dylan Thomas in New York City|
Public presentation tonight at University of LondonMichael Wood is presenting a talk tonight, entitled '"What room for worse": Adventures of Disorder in Joyce and After'. It shall be held at 6pm in The Beveridge Hall (Senate House, Ground Floor) at the University of London. The lectureis given in conjunction with the conference, 'Joycean Literature: Fiction and Poetry 1910-2010'. The reading is free an open to the public, and will be followed by a wine reception. Please contact email@example.com to reserve a seat [Read More]
Also at A Piece of Monologue:
Continuum Press presents an online previewFree online preview of Peter Childs' new book, Modernism: A Guide for the Perplexed (link via Continuum Lit) [Read More]
'Earn five hundred a year by your wits.'
Hundreds of women began as their eighteenth century drew on to add to their pin money, or to come to the rescue of their families by making translations or writing the innumerable bad novels which have ceased to be recorded even in text-books, but are to be picked up in the fourpenny boxes in the Charing Cross Road. The extreme activity of mind which showed itself in the later eighteenth century among women - the talking, and the meeting, the writing of essays on Shakespeare, the translating of the classics - was founded on the solid fact that women could make money by writing. Money dignifies what is frivolous if unpaid for. It might still be well to sneer at 'blue stocking with an itch for scribbling', but it could not be denied that they could pit money in their purses. Thus, towards the end of the eighteenth century a change came about which, if I were rewriting history, I should describe more fully and think of greater importance than the Crusades or the Wars of the Roses. The middle-class woman began to write. For if Pride and Prejudice matters, and Middlemarch and Villette and Wuthering Heights matter, then it matters far more than I can prove in an hour's discourse that women generally, and not merely the lonely aristocrat shut up in her country house among her folios and her flatterers, took to writing. Without those forerunners, Jane Austen and the Brontës and George Eliot could no more have written than Shakespeare could have written without Marlowe, or Marlowe without Chaucer, or Chaucer without those forgotten poets who paved the ways and tamed the natural savagery of the tongue. For masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice. Jane Austen should have laid a wreath upon the grave of Fanny Burney, George Eliot done homage to the robust shade of Eliza Carter - the valiant old woman who tied a bell to her bedstead in order that she might wake early to learn Greek. All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, which is, most scandalously but rather appropriately, in Westminster Abbey, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds. It is she - shady and amorous as she was - who makes it not quite fantastic for me to say to you tonight: Earn five hundred a year by your wits.Also at A Piece of Monologue:
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own