I had a professor once who told our class unequivocally that you’re “either a Tolstoy person or a Dostoyevsky person.” The implication was that a “Dostoevsky person” belonged to the realm of introspection, and to the realm of ideas, while a “Tolstoy person” belonged to the realm of life, action, and to humanity more broadly. The point here is that Tolstoy’s unique ability to create entirely believable, fully-imagined characters with all of the eccentricities and complexities of real people does not automatically exclude him from writing a novel of ideas, of critical, probing ideas very concerned with the contemporary sociopolitical structure. Tolstoy is too often compared to the Shakespeare’s of the world (who, likewise, he absolutely hated), and not enough in the tradition of, say, a Thomas Mann. Tolstoy was anything but a masterful aesthete, quietly weaving the classic, sterile Russian epic. He was a grumbling, anarchic, engaged, and highly critical old man.
By Jeremy Klemin.
Besides the MacArthur Genius Grant, Nobel Prize, and the Booker Prize, Tosh Foundation’s grants are very important to its subject matter. For instance, one can legally say “Tom Cruise, The Tosh Foundation honoree” and so forth adds a certain attention to an artist’s work. When one is associated with the Tosh Foundation, it means you are an individual of some worth.
New fiction by Tosh Berman, with art by Sam Vernon
The blurbs state their presence as echo chambers in which the absent books resound with murmurs, with questions such as: what builds a library? What connects disparate works and words? What do books transmit onto our selves? And further on, detours into what is commonly deemed irrelevant, marginal, minor — until I’m no longer sure who generates what, what is written before and what after, what is read into writing and written out of reading, and notions of origin are buried beneath layers of rewritings.
Daniela Cascella on Cento lettere a uno sconosciuto by Roberto Calasso.
I want him to come in his hand. I think about cum dripping onto his fingers and hiding under his nails which are probably very clean and seeping into the cracks of his skin and crawling into the corners of his watch if he masturbates with that arm. I feel tingly listening to his breath. He makes a sound like he is choking on a moan.
Emma Collins’ creative nonfiction piece explores discursive subject formation amid explicit sexual encounters.
The disaster… is what escapes the very possibility of experience—it is the limit of writing. This must be repeated: the disaster de-scribes.
The silence following the Beirut atrocity voiced by words culled from Blanchot and Bataille.
Metacognition raises ethical questions, for instance: are all epistemic agents equally equipped to think correctly, and, hence, responsible for their judgments, as Descartes claimed? Or rather, is their social environment responsible for the existence and appropriate use of their critical abilities? This kind of question can now be posed in much more exact terms, thanks to the empirical science of metacognition.
Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Joëlle Proust.
today a perfect day and i shall pop my clogs
think i am a snap, diamond run.
melon rises, limited capacity.
By Tomáš Přidal.
There are so many things one could do other than write poems. Take a long walk. Examine a beautiful tree for disease. Pick up a rock; throw it into a lake or at a passing car. Pick a flower; tape it to that rock and drop it from the edge of a canyon. Do this over and over until a small part of the canyon is filled. For writing poems often feels as though it amounts to as much: arranging a pile of stones for someone else to haul elsewhere.
By Mark Yakich
In an article in Neurosurgery, September 2007, titled ‘The madness of Dionysus: a neurosurgical perspective on Friedrich Nietzsche,’ the authors Owen, Schaller and Binder suggest that Nietzsche may have been suffering from “a large, slow growing, right-sided cranial base lesion, such as a medial sphenoid wing meningioma. Aspects of his presentation seem to directly contradict the diagnosis of syphilis, which has been the standard explanation of Nietzsche’s madness.”
In the final instalment of his two part series examining Nietzsche’s philosophical project, D.A. Barry analyses Heidegger’s lectures on Nietzsche and Salomé’s ideas on religion and psychology.
People aren’t ennobled by suffering . . . At the same time, it does strip away a lot of illusions. One pays a terrible price for that, but at least one glimpses some kind of truth. Conrad once said that it’s necessary to immerse yourself in the most destructive elements of the times, and then attempt to swim.
Culled lines from JG Ballard and Sam Beckett in response to Paris 13/11.