:: Interviews

Translating the landscape of Wolfgang Hilbig: An interview with Isabel Fargo Cole published 20/11/2017

Hilbig was never in fashion. He was a perpetual outsider, a persona non grata in East Germany and a misfit in West Germany, profoundly uncomfortable with capitalist society and the literary circus. He didn’t belong to any movements. He was never an easy sell, and he hated having to sell himself. But he has always been revered by other writers and serious readers, especially in the East. I actually see people becoming more aware of his significance as time passes.

Joseph Schreiber interviews Isabel Fargo Cole.

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The Critical Imagination published 18/11/2017

Most philosophers appeal to two conditions: originality and value. They think an imaginative story, for instance, is one that is good in an original way. I think this isn’t right. Leonardo da Vinci’s designs for flying machines were bad designs for flying machines, because the machines couldn’t have flown. But they were still imaginative. I’m also not persuaded that there is any interesting sense in which something imaginative must be original. It might be imaginative for a contemporary poet to use a medieval poetic form, even though she got the idea to use that form from the medieval poets she read.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews James Grant.

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Some speaking after-speaking: a conversation about Singed published 16/11/2017

Interview with Daniela Cascella

After the fire I found myself concerned with beginnings, their nature and ways; and with the strong perception that a beginning is always a rebeginning. In my specific case here: how to rebegin to write from lack, absence, silence? The fire is one of three key prompts at the core of this book, through which I attempted an enquiry into how to articulate a form of writing in front of different types of silence: the silence of the lack of books after they got burned, the silence of an impossible reference, the silence of speechlessness in certain aesthetic experiences.

Tristan Foster interviews Daniela Cascella about Singed.

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Baggini’s Consolations for a Post-Truth World published 11/11/2017

The point is, there is an arms race and I don’t think anyone can control it. China is not that successful really. It has its Great Wall, but most people who want to can find a way to access information, through virtual private networks for example. The other day I was being told by John Lloyd [journalist; contributing editor to the Financial Times] – who worked in Russia for a long time – that Putin makes virtually no attempt at all to control the internet – it’s not like China – that’s not the way they deal with it. He controls the mainstream media, indeed, but can you really keep the other stuff out? I don’t know.

Hugh D Reynolds interviews Julian Baggini about his book A Brief History of Truth.

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The indie press interviews 4: Andrew Latimer published 09/11/2017

With low overheads and an often episodic operating status, the small independent press is nicely placed to snap up the most innovative literature going at the moment. To take the risks. Meaning that small presses are no longer just outfits set up to publish your or your friends’ work. They have something genuinely important to offer.

Tristan Foster interviews Andrew Latimer of Little Island Press.

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Thinking About Globalisation, Immigration and Refugees published 04/11/2017

Refugees are, at least typically, distinctive in important ways. The dangers that they face – persecution on the basis of one of the “protected grounds” – is such that it can really only be plausibly addressed by given them refuge in a safe country, and eventual access to full membership. This is because the dangers they face are ones that we can’t expect to end relatively quickly, or that can be plausibly addressed with direct assistance (as would be the case with many natural disasters), or with more foreign aid (as would be the case with other dire living circumstances), or with direct intervention into the offending country. Because direct intervention is unlikely to be appropriate, we also cannot expect the danger to end any time soon, making permanent or at least long-term assistance necessary.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Matthew Lister

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Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger: Sex, Death and Boredom published 25/10/2017

Like Keats, Schopenhauer tells us that, metaphysically speaking, life is but a (bad) ‘dream’. And whereas Kant argues that since we cannot escape the fabric of our own minds, reality ‘in itself’ is unknowable by us, Schopenhauer thinks he knows what it is. (At least he thinks he does in his youth. Later on he retreats, somewhat, from the claim.) What underlies the surface of things, Schopenhauer claims, is the tormented and tormenting ‘will’.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Julian Young

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Brentano’s Mind, Frege’s Sense published 14/10/2017

Brentano is a thorn in the side of pragmatically-minded philosophers such as Mach and later Schlick. He held that we can study cognition from the first-person standpoint independently of its function or purpose. Part of the development of Austrian Philosophy are attempts to overcome Brentano’s point of view. Brentano’s descriptive psychology is still a model for Non-Naturalists and Non-Pragmatists.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Mark Textor.

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A Very Tragic Arc: Reiner Stach’s Kafka published

It is clear that Brod didn’t really understand with whom he was dealing. His religious interpretations of Kafka, especially those of his later years, are sentimental and narrowminded. Brod had no real feeling for the modernist quality of Kafka’s texts. When Beckett became famous in the Fifties and people began to compare him with Kafka, Brod worked himself up into a rage: This absurd stuff, he proclaimed, had absolutely nothing to do with Kafka. Of course, this view put him far off the mark.

Richard Marshall interviews Reiner Stach about the final volume of his Kafka biography: Kafka: The Early Years.

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Rummaging in the Ashes: An Interview with Simon Critchley published 10/10/2017

We were bored with pleasure, with the sterile hippie pleasures that had been retailed to us for the previous decade, especially sex (we were very anti-sex and thought it was reactionary — remember Johnny Rotten’s remark that sex was just two minutes thirty seconds of squelching noises). We wanted to stay with boredom and use boredom as a tool for a more minimal and more overtly nihilistic form of Romantic naivety. All forms of Situationist détournement would always be recuperated by the music and culture industry that punk sought to subvert. But that didn’t mean ceasing from all subversion, but to go on détourning, to go on making and listening to music, in the full awareness of the naivety of what we were doing and its limitations. We were not going to change the world and the world was rubbish anyway, just another council tenancy.

Andrew Gallix interviews Simon Critchley in this exclusive extract from Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night.

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