The complexity of Lefebvre’s poem is belied by the simplicity of his project. Lefebvre provides no index, no table of “missing” contents; the organisational principles of the poem must be inferred (or not). Lefebvre’s poem characterises its author as one who knows loss, who attends to loss—and perhaps to everything—better than we do, one who has been remade by his attendance upon perdition and un-making.
Daniel Bosch on The Missing Pieces by Henri Lefebvre.
“I’m Steph and my man eeze deaf. We lost our place cause we couldn’t keep up with the bills so we’re squatting this broke down van back of a building-site. Right now we’re a-walking along the Marylebone Road from Baker Street. Have to go slow cause E can’t keep up. Hasn’t been hisself since E drove is bike into them petrol pumps. Eeze lookin well, you’d never think there was sumpthink the matter with im.”
New fiction by Jay Merrill, with a painting by Anastaisa Kashian.
Even the concept of equality may be regarded as less clear-cut if one really presses the question of why we should regard all human beings as essentially equal in a moral sense. Kantians might respond by saying that all human beings are equal in virtue of their rational nature, for example. Yet this invites the question as to why we should accord rationality itself such an absolute value. I am therefore sympathetic to the worry that the German Idealist agenda ultimately rests on quasi-theological assumptions.
Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews David James.
A Mark (or March, Marches) is the European name for a border, a frontier, a “boundary” territory; its name comes from early Middle Ages. The Franks called it marka, Anglo-Saxons called it mearc, but both nations meant only one thing by the word: something that is situated between two sources of power, political and economical influence, and law.
Kirill Kobrin on borders.
These are the only serious questions for readers and writers now. Winters’ sense of yearning running through all his essays here is an immense inquietude. He’s nailed the portable solitude of reading, its source in the immense noise of the universe’s silence.
Richard Marshall reviews David Winters‘ Infinite Fictions.
There are TV sets in every room and the grim politics of this techno-human relationship is quickly established. Greif makes clear that Yoyodyne aerospace and Republicanism grow up side by side. What Pynchon starts to articulate is a creepy, X-Filey sense that technology is draining us away.
Richard Marshall reviews Mark Greif‘s The Age of the Crisis of Man.
It’s a truism that terrible or unpleasant things, when they take their place in a work of art, can afford readers and viewers great pleasure or enjoyment. That which is most feared in life may be most welcome in literature. As Aristotle says, “we enjoy looking at the most accurate representations of things which in themselves we find painful to see, such as the forms of the lowest animals and of corpses.” The meaning of Marie NDiaye’s writings seems to stand in close relation to this principle.
Jacob Siefring on Marie NDiaye‘s All My Friends and Self-Portrait in Green.
One of the book’s truly thought-provoking themes is the tendency of gizmos to quickly go out of fashion. In “The Longhand Option”, Dinesh Allirajah’s satirical take on the future of writing, a granny coming to visit her family sends her luggage ahead. “The blimp contained one item of office equipment: a pen. There was also an electronic breadmaker – ‘That thing was an antique when she bought it,’ – Dill eventually managed to say – and sixteen bags of flour.” You sense that the breadmaker must have been bought new. As for the pen, it can be programmed to guide the user’s hand, yet fails to overcome that ancient, never-ageing condition, writer’s block.
Anna Aslanyan reviews Beta-Life (Martyn Amos and Ra Page eds.)
Does being demoralized but self-aware save those of us who manage it? It must, to some degree. Balzac’s The Physiology of the Employee can be read by those who are not self-aware, and the reward of studying it can teach a despairing employee to recognize their despair as well as to locate allies in the annals of history.
P.T. Smith on Honoré de Balzac‘s The Physiology of the Employee.
“Often when I am invited to speak, I show this photograph. Look, it is a photograph of my father and me on holiday. No, of course it is not, do I seem to be a woman who would willingly wear a dirndl? Unless I were a small child. No, of course it is not really a photograph of my father and me on holiday.”
New fiction by Sharon Kivland