books

To him again: tell him he wears the rose of youth upon him

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Since when did being a writer become a career choice, with appropriate degree courses and pecking orders? Does this state of affairs make any difference to what gets written?

At school we were taught two opposing visions of the writer as artist. He might be a skilled craftsman bringing his talent to the service of the community, which rewarded him with recognition and possibly money. This, they told us, was the classical position, as might be found in the Greece of Sophocles, or Virgil’s Rome, or again in Pope’s Augustan Britain. Alternatively the writer might make his own life narrative into art, indifferent to the strictures and censure of society but admired by it precisely because of his refusal to kowtow. This was the Romantic position as it developed in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. (…)

As we know, T.S. Eliot rather complicated matters by telling us that the writer had to overcome his personality and find his place in a literary tradition. (…)

Still, none of this prepared us for the advent of creative writing as a “career.” In the last thirty or forty years, the writer has become someone who works on a well-defined career track, like any other middle class professional, not, however, to become a craftsman serving the community, but to project an image of himself (partly through his writings, but also in dozens of other ways) as an artist who embodies the direction in which culture is headed.

{ NY Review of Books | Continue reading }

photo { Tennesse Williams by Richard Avedon }

related { The digitization of over five million books has created a huge dataset of cultural interest. Now researchers are beginning to tease it apart using powerful number-crunching techniques. | Culturomics and the Google Book Project }

Which various features of the constellations were in turn considered?

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A couple of years ago, I was asked to give a talk about “The American Novel Today.” It wasn’t my first choice of topic, frankly, partly because I read as few contemporary novels as possible, partly (here we get into cause and effect) because most of the novels that get noticed today (like most of the visual art that gets the Establishment’s nod) should be filed under the rubric “ephemera,” and often pretty nasty ephemera at that. I do not, you may be pleased to read, propose to parade before you a list of those exercises in evanescence, self-parody, and general ickiness that constitute so much that congregates under the label of American fiction these days. Instead, I’d like to step back and make some observations on the place of fiction in our culture today, A.D. 2012. It is very different from the place it occupied in the 19th century, or even the place it occupied up through the middle of the last century.

We get a lot of new novels at my office. I often pick up a couple and thumb through them just to keep up with what is on offer in the literary bourse. The delicate feeling of nausea that ensues as my eye wanders over these bijoux is as difficult to describe as it is predictable. The amazing thing is that it takes only a sentence or two before the feeling burgeons in the pit of the stomach and the upper lip grows moist with sweat. (…)

I do not deny that there are good novels written today. I think, for example, of the spare, deeply felt novels of Marilynne Robinson, especially Gilead, her quiet masterpiece from a few years back. It might even be argued (I merely raise this as a possibility) that there are as many good novels being written today as in the past. It is sobering to reflect that between 1837—when Victoria ascended the throne and Dickens’s first novel, The Pickwick Papers, was published—and 1901—the year of Victoria’s death—some 7,000 authors published more than 60,000 novels in England. How much of that vast literary cataract has stood the test of time?

{ Roger Kimball/Weekly Standard | Continue reading }

‘If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.’ –Carl Sagan

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{ The drawings of butterflies done by Vladimir Nabokov were intended for “family use.” He made these on title pages of various editions of his works as a gift to his wife and son and sometimes to other relatives. None of these drawings portray real butterflies, both the images and the names he assigns to them are his invention. | Nabokov Museum | Continue reading }

‘The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness.’ –Nietzsche

He risked a second nervous look at the strong, almost cruel lines of her face

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In fact, it was because of my feminism that I wanted to like Erotic Capital: Whether from nature or nurture, women have traditionally excelled at “soft skills” like taking the emotional temperature of others, listening, adjusting one’s behavior to any given situation, and cooperating. These all happen to be skills that, until fairly recently, have been undercompensated in the workplace. In Hakim’s book I anticipated a deftly written argument that would reclaim the value of women’s work so that maybe we’d eventually start paying people in the professions that make use of those skills — say, teaching and nursing — their true value.

That’s the book I wanted to read. The book I actually read was more like this: Men supposedly have higher sex drives than women, creating a “male sex deficit,” which means men are always in a state of wanting more of what women supply. (…) So women who are willing to address that deficit, by either having actual sex with men suffering from it or presenting themselves in an enchanting manner to exploit it, have erotic capital that can be traded for other forms of capital.

Erotic capital has many guises: from “trophy wives” whose skilled self-presentation becomes a part of a man’s public persona, to men or women who style themselves in such a way as to garner attention at their workplace, to women with otherwise limited means who sell their erotic capacity (whether forthrightly, as with sex workers and performers, or more covertly, as with sales jobs) to establish themselves. It’s “sell yourself” meets “sex sells.” What’s most surprising about all this is that Hakim seems to think she’s saying something new. (…)

That she fails to name a single feminist who has actually come out against presenting oneself well (as opposed to presenting oneself as stereotypically feminine) indicates that she’s attacking a straw feminist, not an actual one. Where are the radical feminists urging women to not use their people skills on the job? Who are these radical feminists who blame women for wearing makeup to work instead of directing their critiques at institutions that demand women do so? Hakim falsely asserts that feminists have been fighting for the eradication of charisma and charm instead of the eradication of coyness and the deployment of sex appeal as woman’s strongest — or only — weapons.

{ The New Inquiry | Continue reading }

Shines like gold

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Stanford math professor Keith Devlin talks about two new books that call into question the entire idea of string theory.

The theory states that tiny vibrating strings make up everything, but some scientists say there is no way to prove or disprove it.

{ NPR | audio/transcript }

related { A simulation of the early universe using string theory may explain why space has three observable spatial dimensions instead of nine. }

photo { Nikki Ormerod }

‘Reality doesn’t impress me.’ –Anais Nin

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In 1889, when Friedrich Nietzsche suffered the mental collapse that ended his career, he was virtually unknown. Yet by the time of his death in 1900 at the age of 55, he had become the philosophical celebrity of his age. From Russia to America, admirers echoed his estimation of himself as a titanic figure who could alter the course of history. (…)

Suffering from violent migraines, Nietzsche resigned his academic post when he was 34 and began the life of a little-heeded nomad-­intellectual in European resorts. With escalating intensity, he issued innovative works of philosophy that challenged every element of European civilization. He celebrated the artistic heroism of Beethoven and Goethe; denigrated the “slave morality” of Christianity, which transfigured weakness into virtue and vital strength into sin; and called on the strong in spirit to bring about a “transvaluation of all values.” The “higher man” — or as Nietzsche sometimes called him, the “overman” or “Übermensch” — did not succumb to envy or long for the afterlife; rather he willed that his life on earth repeat itself over and over exactly as it was. (…)

If God was dead, so too were equally fictitious entities like the self. There was no objective truth, only the truth-effects engendered by the workings of power and the instabilities of language. (…) More brilliantly than anyone, Nietzsche understood the peril of modern nihilism and the need to cultivate robust souls who would strive to achieve excellence without authoritative religious belief. (…)

Several decades before Nietzsche wrote, “What does not kill me makes me stronger,” Emerson wrote, “In general, every evil to which we do not succumb, is a benefactor.”

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Now you steppin wit a G, from Los Angeles, where the helicopters got cameras

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The third (and last) time I went to New Orleans was in September of 1978. I was living in Marin County, and I took the red-eye out of San Francisco, flying on a first-class ticket paid for by Universal Pictures, the studio that was financing the movie I was contracted to write. The story was to be loosely based on an article written by Hunter Thompson that had been recently published in Rolling Stone magazine. Titled “The Banshee Screams for Buffalo Meat,” the 30,000-word piece detailed many of the (supposedly) true-life adventures Hunter had experienced with Oscar Zeta Acosta, the radical Chicano lawyer who he’d earlier canonized in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Hunter and I were in New Orleans to attend the hugely anticipated rematch between Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks, the former Olympic champion who, after only seven fights, had defeated Ali in February. The plan was to meet up at the Fairmont, a once-elegant hotel that was located in the center of the business district and within walking distance of the historic French Quarter. Although Hunter was not in his room when I arrived, he’d instructed the hotel management to watch for me and make sure I was treated with great respect.

“I was told by Mister Thompson to mark you down as a VIP, that you were on a mission of considerable importance,” said Inga, the head of guest services, as we rode the elevator up to my floor. “Since he was dressed quite eccentrically, in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, I assumed he was pulling my leg. The bellman who fetched his bags said he was a famous writer. Are you a writer also?” I told her I wrote movies. “Are you famous?”

“No.”

“Do you have any cocaine?”

I stared at her. Her smile was odd, both reassuring and intensely hopeful. In the cartoon balloon I saw over her head were the words: I’m yours if you do. “Yes, I do.”

“That is good.”

Inga called the hotel manager from my room and told him, in a voice edged with professional disappointment, that she was leaving early because of a “personal matter.” After she hung up, she dialed room service and handed me the phone. She directed me to order two dozen oysters, a fifth of tequila, and two Caesar salads. Then, with a total absence of modesty, she quickly stripped off her clothes, walked into the bathroom, and a moment later I heard the water running in the shower.

{ LA Review of Books | Continue reading }

photo { Richard Kern | More: Shot by Kern | videos }

There it is Red Murray said

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Thousands of characters — letters and obscure symbols — filled the more than 100 pages of a centuries-old text that had been located in East Berlin after the end of the Cold War. No one knew what the text meant, or even what language it was in. It was a mystery that USC computer scientist Kevin Knight and two Swedish researchers sought to solve. (…)

After months of painstaking work and a few trips down the wrong path, the moment finally came when the team knew it was on to something. Out of what had been gibberish emerged one word: ceremonie — a variation of the German word for ceremony. Knight said they figured out the rest from there.

Breaking the code on the document known as the Copiale Cipher revealed the rituals and political observations of an 18th century secret German society, as well as the group’s unusual fascination with eye surgery and ophthalmology.

But the larger significance of the team’s work wasn’t necessarily the discovery, it was how they arrived at it. (…)

“You start to see patterns, then you reach the magic point where a word appears,” he said. It was then, he said, “you no longer even care what the document’s about.”

The team ran statistical analyses of 80 languages, initially believing that the code lay in the Roman letters between the symbols that dotted the pages. Using a combination of brain power and computer wizardry, they broke the code by figuring out the symbols.

{ LA Times | Continue reading }

photo { Darren Almond }

‘The writing’s easy, it’s the living that is sometimes difficult.’ –Charles Bukowski

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This is what I mean when I say I would like to swim against the stream of time. I would like to erase the consequences of certain events and restore an initial condition. But every moment of my life brings with it an accumulation of new facts, and each of these new facts brings with it its consequences; so the more I seek to return to the zero moment from which I set out, the further I move away from it: though all my actions are bent on erasing the consequences of previous actions and though I manage to achieve appreciable results in this erasure, enough to open my heart to hopes of immediate relief, I must, however, bear in mind that my every move to erase previous events provokes a rain of new events, which complicate the situation worse than before and which I will then, in their turn, have to erase. Therefore I must calculate carefully every move so as to achieve the maximum of erasure with the minimum of recomplication.

{ Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler, 1979 | Continue reading }

If on a winter’s night a traveler begins with a chapter on the art and nature of reading, and is subsequently divided into twenty-two passages. The odd-numbered passages and the final passage are narrated in the second person. That is, they concern events purportedly happening to the novel’s reader. (Some contain further discussions about whether the man narrated as “you” is the same as the “you” who is actually reading.) These chapters concern the reader’s adventures in reading Italo Calvino’s novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler. Eventually the reader meets a woman, who is also addressed in her own chapter, separately, and also in the second person.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

A pickle for the knowing ones, or plain truths in a homespun dress

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“Lord” Timothy Dexter (1748 – 1806) was an eccentric American businessman noted for a series of lucky transactions and his writing. (…)

He made his fortune by investing in Continental Dollars during the Revolutionary War, when they could be purchased for a tiny percentage of their face value. After the war was over, and the U.S. government made good on the dollars, he became wealthy. (…)

His 1802 memoir A Pickle for the Knowing Ones, or Plain Truths in a Homespun Dress is entirely misspelled and contains no punctuation. At first he handed his book out for free, but it became popular and was re-printed in eight editions. In the second edition Dexter added an extra page which consisted of 13 lines of punctuation marks. Dexter instructed readers to “peper and solt it as they plese.”

Dexter announced his death and urged people to prepare for his burial. About 3,000 people attended his mock wake. The crowd was disappointed when they heard a still-living Dexter screaming at his wife that she was not grieving enough.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading | Literary historian Paul Collins discusses Lord Timothy’s lasting appeal | NPR | Life of Lord Timothy Dexter }

Come up, Kinch. Come up, you fearful jesuit.

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Sylvia Beach (1887 - 1962) was an American-born bookseller and publisher who lived most of her life in Paris. (…)

Beach dreamed of starting a branch of Monnier’s book shop in New York that would offer contemporary French works to American readers. Since her only capital was USD$3,000 which her mother gave her from her savings, Beach could not afford such a venture in New York. However, Paris rents were much cheaper and the exchange rates favorable, so with Monnier’s help, Beach opened an English language bookstore and lending library that she named Shakespeare and Company. Four years beforehand, Monnier had been among the first women in France to found her own bookstore. Beach’s bookstore was located at 8 rue Dupuytren in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.

Shakespeare and Company quickly attracted both French and American readers - including a number of aspiring writers to whom Beach offered hospitality and encouragement as well as books. As the franc dropped in value and the favorable exchange rate attracted a huge influx of Americans, Beach’s shop flourished and soon needed more space. In May 1921, Shakespeare and Company moved to 12 rue de l’Odéon.

Shakespeare and Company gained considerable fame after it published James Joyce’s Ulysses in 1922, as a result of Joyce’s inability to get an edition out in English-speaking countries. Beach would later be financially stranded when Joyce signed on with another publisher, leaving Beach in debt after bankrolling, and suffering severe losses from the publication of Ulysses.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

The encyclopedia is fallaciously called The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia (New York, 1917)

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In the story, an encyclopedia article about a mysterious country called Uqbar is the first indication of Orbis Tertius, a massive conspiracy of intellectuals to imagine (and thereby create) a world known as Tlön.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

Today, one of the churches of Tlön Platonically maintains that a certain pain, a certain greenish tint of yellow, a certain temperature, a certain sound, are the only reality. All men, in the vertiginous moment of coitus, are the same man. All men who repeat a line from Shakespeare are William Shakespeare.

{ J. L . Borges, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, 1940 | full story | PDF }

‘There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.’ –Red Smith

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As an employee in an agency creative department, you will spend most of your time with your feet up on a desk working on an ad. Across the desk, also with his feet up, will be your partner-in my case, an art director. And he will want to talk about movies.

In fact, if the truth be known, you will spend a large part of your career with your feet up talking about movies.

The ad is due in two days. The media space has been bought and paid for. The pressure’s building. And your muse is sleeping off a drunk behind a dumpster or twitching in a ditch somewhere. Your pen lies useless. So you talk movies.

That’s when the traffic person comes by. Traffic people stay on top of a job as it moves through the agency. Which means they also stay on top of you. They’ll come by to remind you of the horrid things that happen to snail-assed creative people who don’t come through with the goods on time.

So you try to get your pen moving. And you begin to work. And working, in this business, means staring at your partner’s shoes. That’s what I’ve been doing from nine to five for over 20 years. (…)

There comes a point when you can’t talk about movies anymore and you actually have to get some work done. You are faced with a blank sheet of paper, and you must, in a fixed amount of time, fill it with something interesting enough to be remembered by a customer who in the course of a day will see, somewhere, thousands of other ad messages.

You are not writing a novel somebody pays money for. You are not writing a sitcom somebody enjoys watching. You are writing something most people try to avoid. This is the sad, indisputable truth at the bottom of our business. Nobody wants to see what you are about to put down on paper. People not only dislike advertising, they’re becoming immune to most of it—like insects building up resistance to DDT. (…) When people aren’t indifferent to advertising, they’re angry at it. (…)

So you try to come up with some advertising concepts that can defeat these barriers of indifference and anger. The ideas you try to conjure, however, aren’t done in a vacuum. You’re working off a strategy—a sentence or two describing the key competitive message your ad must communicate.

In addition to a strategy, you are working with a brand. Unless it’s a new one, that brand brings with it all kinds of baggage, some good and some bad. Ad people call it a brand’s equity. (…)

People generally deny advertising has any effect on them. They’ll insist they’re immune to it. And perhaps, taken on a person-by- person basis, the effect of your ad is indeed modest. But over time, the results are undeniable. Try this on: 1980—Absolut Vodka is a little nothing brand. Selling 12,000 cases a year. That’s nothing. Ten years and one campaign later, this colorless, nearly tasteless, and odorless product is the preferred brand, selling nearly 3 million cases a year. All because of the advertising. (…)

Diet Coke didn’t just happen. Coca-Cola didn’t simply roll it out and hope that people would buy it. Done poorly, they could have cannibalized their flagship brand, Coke. Done poorly, it could have been just another one of the well-intentioned product start-ups that fail in six months. It took a lot of work by both Coca-Cola and its agency, SSCB, to decipher market conditions, position the product, name it, package it, and pull off the whole billion-dollar introduction.

{ Luke Sullivan, Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This | Thanks Tim }

And as we discussed last semester, the Army Ants will leave nothing but your bones

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The Book of Revelation is the strangest book in the Bible. It’s the most controversial. It doesn’t have any stories, moral teaching. It only has visions, dreams and nightmares. Not many people say they understand it, but for 2000 years, this book has been wildly popular. (…)

I started with three questions. First, who wrote this book? And what was he thinking? Second, what other books of Revelation were written about the same time? How did this book, and only this one, get into the Bible? And what constitutes the appeal, whether you’re talking psychologically, literarily, politically, of this book? (…)

The author says he’s a prophet named John. He claims to be a prophet called John of Patmos, because he said he wrote from the island of Patmos, which is about 50 miles off the coast of Turkey, in what was then Asia Minor. John said he was in the spirit, that is, he was in an ecstatic trance, when suddenly he heard a loud voice talking to him. He turned around and saw a divine being speaking to him, telling him what must happen soon. (…)

Next, John says, he was back in heaven, and suddenly he saw seven angels, each of seven angels carrying an enormous golden bowl. And each bowl is full of the wrath of God. And as angels sound the trumpets, the first angel starts to pour the wrath of God over the earth and catastrophes happen. (…)

Finally, John pictures Babylon as the prophet Isaiah had seen Babylon. You may not recognize her, but she is a whore. She’s sitting on a seven-headed red beast, and drinking from a golden cup, the blood of the saints. (…)

You may be wondering, who was John, and why did he write this? The evidence suggests that John was a Jewish prophet. He was living in exile around the year 90 of the first century. We can’t understand this book until we understand that it was written in war time, or shortly after war. John was a refugee, apparently, from the Jewish war that had destroyed his home country, Judea, started, as you may know, in year 66 when Jews rebelled against the Roman Empire. The slogan of the war was, “In the name of God and our common liberty.” And four years later, in the year 70, 60,000 Roman troops stormed into Jerusalem and killed thousands of people. They said that the blood was as high as the horses’ bridles in the city of Jerusalem. That’s what Josephus wrote in his account of the war. And starved and raped, and killed thousands of people, and then finally attacked and burned down the great Temple of God which formed the entire city center.

{ Elaine Pagels/Edge | Continue reading }

Once more the ruby-coloured portal opened, which to his speech did honey passage yield

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Venus and Adonis is a poem by William Shakespeare, written in 1592–1593, with a plot based on passages from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It is a complex, kaleidoscopic work, using constantly shifting tone and perspective to present contrasting views of the nature of love.

The poem contains what may be Shakespeare’s most graphic depiction of sexual excitement.

Venus and Adonis comes from the 1567 translation by Arthur Golding of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book 10. Ovid told of how Venus took the beautiful Adonis as her first mortal lover. They were long-time companions, with the goddess hunting alongside her lover. She warns him of the tale of Atalanta and Hippomenes to dissuade him from hunting dangerous animals; he disregards the warning, and is killed by a boar. Shakespeare developed this basic narrative into a poem of 1,194 lines. His chief innovation was to make Adonis refuse Venus’s offer of herself.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

And at his look she flatly falleth down
For looks kill love, and love by looks reviveth;
A smile recures the wounding of a frown;
But blessed bankrupt, that by love so thriveth!
The silly boy, believing she is dead
Claps her pale cheek, till clapping makes it red;

(…)

He wrings her nose, he strikes her on the cheeks,
He bends her fingers, holds her pulses hard,
He chafes her lips; a thousand ways he seeks
To mend the hurt that his unkindness marr’d:
He kisses her; and she, by her good will,
Will never rise, so he will kiss her still.

{ Venus and Adonis | full text }

Do you have a favorite-sounding word? My top-five are ointment, bumblebee, Vladivostok, banana, and testicle.

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I know you’ve thought (and taught) about the fragment as a mode of writing. I’m wondering how your study of the form influences the way you use it.

While writing a book, I’m influenced by things the same way I would imagine most writers are: I look for what I want to steal, then I steal it, and make my own weird stew of the goods. Often while writing I’d re-read the books by Barthes written in fragments—A Lover’s Discourse, Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes—and see what he gained from an alphabetical, somewhat random organization, and what he couldn’t do that way. I mostly read Wittgenstein, and watched how he used numbered sections to think sequentially, and to jump, in turn. (…) I re-read Haneke’s Sorrow Beyond Dreams, which finally dissolves into fragments, after a fairly strong chronological narrative has taken him so far.

{ Maggie Nelson/Continent. | Continue reading }

Everybody’s dick looks big on 60-inch TV. My sister’s dick looks big on TV.

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With the growing permeation of online social networks in our everyday life, scholars have become interested in the study of novel forms of identity construction, performance, spectatorship and self-presentation onto the networked medium. This body of research builds upon a rich theoretical tradition on identity constructivism, performance and (re)presentation of self. With this article we attempt to integrate the work of Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello into this tradition.

Pirandello’s classic 1925 novel Uno, Nessuno, Centomila (“One, No One and One Hundred Thousand”) recounts the tragedy of a man who struggles to reclaim a coherent identity for himself in the face of an inherently social and multi-faceted world. Via an innocuous observation of his wife, the protagonist of the novel, Vitangelo Moscarda, discovers that his friends’ perceptions of his character are not at all what he imagined and stand in glaring contrast to his private self-understanding. In order to upset their assumptions, and to salvage some sort of stable identity, he embarks upon a series of carefully crafted social experiments.

Though the novel’s story transpires in a pre-digital age, the volatile play of identity that ultimately destabilizes Moscarda has only increased since the advent of online social networks. The constant flux of communication in the online world frustrates almost any effort at constructing and defending unitary identity projections. Popular social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, offer freely accessible and often jarring forums in which widely heterogeneous aspects of one’s life—that in Moscarda’s era could have been scrupu- lously kept apart—precariously intermingle. Disturbances to our sense of a unified identity have become a matter of everyday life.

Pirandello’s prescient novel offered readers in its day the contours of an identity melee that would unfurl on the online arena some 80 years later.

{ Alberto Pepe, Spencer Wolff & Karen Van Godtsenhoven, Re-imagining the Pirandellian Identity Dilemma in the Era of Online Social Networks | PDF }

Waiting for Waits

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The Desert of the Tartars (Il deserto dei Tartari) is a novel by Italian author Dino Buzzati, published in 1940.

The novel tells the story of a young officer, Giovanni Drogo, and his life spent guarding the Bastiani Fortress, an old, unmaintained border fortress.

The plot of the novel is Drogo’s lifelong wait for a great war in which his life and the existence of the fort can prove its usefulness. Drogo is posted to the remote outpost overlooking a desolate Tartar desert, spends his career waiting for the barbarian horde rumored to live beyond the desert.

Without noticing, Drogo finds that in his watch over the fort he has let years and decades pass and that while his old friends in the city have had children, married and lived full lives, he has come away with nothing except solidarity with his fellow soldiers in their long, patient vigil.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

screenshot { Michelangelo Antonioni, L’Avventura, 1960 }

related:

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‘Quand les hommes ne peuvent changer les choses, ils changent les mots.’ –Jean Jaurès

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A few weeks ago, a woman asked me for advice about her teenage daughter. “She wants to be a writer,” the mother said. “What should we be doing?” (…)

First of all, let her be bored. Let her have long afternoons with absolutely nothing to do. (…)

Let her be lonely. Let her believe that no one in the world truly understands her. Give her the freedom to fall in love with the wrong person, to lose her heart, to have it smashed and abused and broken.

{ Molly Backes | Continue reading }

related { Weird Writing Habits of Famous Authors. }

photo { Thatcher Keats }