Fear, constant companion of the peasant. Hunger, ever at hand to jog his elbow should he relax. Despair, ready to engulf him should he falter. Fear; fear of the dark future; fear of the sharpness of hunger; fear of the blackness of death. Nature is like a wild animal that you have trained to work for you. So long as you are vigilant and walk warily with thought and care, so long will it give you its aid, but look away for an instant, be heedless or forgetful, and it has you by the throat.
Kamala Markandaya and Mary Webb obliquely discuss Brexit.
A resistless feeling of depression falls slowly upon us, despite the gaudy sunshine and the green cotton-fields. These curious kinks of the human mind exist and must be reckoned with soberly. They cannot be laughed away, nor always successfully stormed at, nor easily abolished by act of legislature. And yet they must not be encouraged by being let alone. They must be recognized as facts, but unpleasant facts; things that stand in the way of civilization and religion and common decency.
W.E.B. Du Bois and Saadat Hasan Manto make oblique comments about Brexit.
George Eliot: How could a man be satisfied with a decision between such alternatives and under such circumstances? No more than he can be satisfied with his hat, which he’s chosen from among such shapes as the resources of the age offer him, wearing it at best with a resignation which is chiefly supported by comparison.
Voltaire: I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.
George Eliot and Voltaire make oblique comments about Brexit.
Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted. And while it is true that literature and history contain heroic, romantic, glorious, even triumphant episodes in an exile’s life, these are no more than efforts meant to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement. The achievements of exile are permanently undermined by the loss of something left behind forever.
Ernest Gellner and Edward Said whisper oblique thoughts on Brexit.
A foot and mouth pig pyre,
where a farmer muttering.
the proximity of fire
to light his face.
You’ve a shock coming to you,
loads a rifle.
SJ Fowler‘s response to Brexit.
But you ask: do we face the same sorts of issues regarding Gentile as we do with Heidegger? Gentile – no longer at the center of power by the late 30s – helped Jews in Italy who were threatened by the Fascist regime. But his philosophy and his politics were of a piece, both contributing to a global disaster that cost many lives. Among other things, the disaster was one of nationalisms in conflict. Our politics today is still in turmoil about nationalism and nativism.
Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Rebecca Copenhaver.
Painting: Billy Childish
Bone poised on a stone scarp tilted like an accusation
to the sky,
he sees first the seismic cracks, then Europe drift away.
Slowly he lifts a wing to peck and pull at a single feather,
holds it there
then watches it drop spinning down into the chosen abyss.
Ben Myers‘ poetic response to Brexit.
But what of a work that resists the critical apparatus to such a degree that even failure itself seems out of reach? What of a text that begins to dissipate at the merest suggestion of a thesis, an angle? Enter João Gilberto Noll’s 1991 mid-career effort, Quiet Creature on the Corner, a work of sustained resistance to interpretation, a literary Rorschach blot that swells until the ink itself subsumes the sky.
Dustin Illingworth reviews Quiet Creature on the Corner by João Gilberto Noll.
Did not really sleep: no Xanax
yesterday, which means I won’t sleep,
then the next night is usually OK,
Xanax or no. It’s Christmas Eve
in Spain, the important day. We’ll
break Dorota’s wafer. My mood
is less good than yesterday when
I would call it ‘normal’. I am weepy
when I even think of M. The Wok
meal upset his stomach.
By Kathryn Maris.
Our motor skills are developed through physical play; our perceptual skills by playing at looking and listening “pointlessly”—the infant stares, and by doing so she learns how to look. (Notice how my emphasis on active perception plays into this notion of perception as a skill.) It is this fun, I claim, that is the basis of aesthetic pleasure. A child babbling for no other purpose than the sheer joy of it—that’s the prototype of art production. Aesthetic enjoyment isn’t tied to the value of particular things, as standard evolutionary accounts maintain. It is rooted, rather, in the joy that infants get from activities that have no immediate purpose, but which have a long-term benefit in terms of learning.
Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Mohan Matthen.
Painting: Billy Childish.