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Criticism » A straight gaze (published 14/12/2012)

A writer can either grow or shrink and, in times of history, surrendering to mediocrity finds easy justification in multitudinous displays of precedent. Her uncompromising realism refuses self-serving or sanitised verdicts. Her sympathetic knowledge of the Russian Revolutionary tradition strengthened her resolve throughout. Her socialism raised suffering to a higher level but she saw through to the dull, low philistinism of the Soviet Union of Stalinism and after. Her analytical and demystifying accounts of her own milieu under the most extreme pressure are uncompromising, vivid and reachy. They are truthful, analytical and psychologically insightful accounts offering neither bromide nor sensationalism. In this they astonish. Her portraits of her doomed writers are of legendary children.

Richard Marshall reviews Lidiya Ginzburg’s Alternative Literary Identities: A Collection of Articles and New Translations .

Buzzwords » The Missing Links (published 11/12/2012)

The lure of the writer’s cabin. * The literary kingdom of Redonda. * Greg Baxter interviewed. * It’s a Bad Brains Christmas, Charlie Brown. * An interview with Christine Schutt on Bookworm. * Against architecture. * Nothing will have taken place. * Desperately seeking Susan Sontag. * Why Thai women cut off their husbands’ penises. [...]

Interviews » Dream big (published 29/11/2012)

As for the funding of the magazine there’s no money coming in and none going out, which I believe is partially responsible for its success. My idea of success, that is. Removing that influential and often dictatorial factor has liberated Paraphilia and preserved its integrity. And that was another motive behind the magazine’s creation: to give phenomenal art – sans the industries’ grip – to anyone who would love and appreciate it. I can’t say for certain that Paraphilia Magazine will always be an entirely non-monetary (ad)venture, but for the time being.

David Hoenigman interviews Díre McCain.

Criticism » ‘Pataphysics’ useless guffaw (published 21/11/2012)

We are biased towards usefulness. ‘Pataphysics resists this bias. It bombards us with samples of the inutilious. Rennes schoolboys invented the world ‘pataphysics’ in 1888. Alfred Jarry was the leader of that particular gang. Absurdism, Dada, Futurism, Surrealism, Situationism et al find roots in its soil. Hugill notes that the name works like the self defeater lying at the heart of Groucho Marx’s joke that he wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would accept him. We seek out solutions to problems. ‘Pataphysicians seek out solutions to non-problems.

Richard Marshall reviews Andrew Hugill’s ‘Pataphysics: A Useless Guide.

Buzzwords » Riffs around surrealism (published 09/11/2012)

Stewart Home on Claude Pélieu: Claude Pélieu was an associate of William Burroughs and his 1973 anti-novel Kali Yug Express is a continuation of the cut-up experiments begun more than a decade earlier by Brion Gysin. Although the book appeared in French (the language in which it was written) and German back in the 1970s, [...]

Buzzwords » The Missing Links (published 16/10/2012)

The weirding of philosophy. * Ben Woodard‘s Slime Dynamics reviewed. * Nick Land and sci-fi. * Berlin’s abandoned shopping trolleys. * Decoy Paris. * An interview with Christine Schutt. * Beckett reading from Watt and directing Godot. * An interview with Gabriel Josipovici (video). * László Krasznahorkai interviewed. * The beginning of Thomas Bernhard‘s Correction. [...]

Criticism » Quote (published 15/09/2012)

Stewart Home said ‘there’s a need to upset the bourgeoisie art lover.’ In any context where we quote Home saying this, the meaning of the words in the quotation marks remains stable. Claims that this is not the case over-generate, can’t account for indirect disquotational reports using quotations, can’t guarantee the truth of a strong disquotational schema for quotation ( eg ‘Rebecca Gayheart Sits in a Jacuzzi, naked, While Smoking and Talking With Her Husband, Eric Dane, and Former Miss United States Teen Kari Ann Peniche’ in English is true if and only if Rebecca Gayheart sits in a jacuzzi, naked, while smoking and talking with her husband, Eric Dane, and former Miss United States Teen Kari Ann Peniche), and various other things.

Richard Marshall reviews Jarett Kobek‘s If You Won’t Read, Then Why Should I Write?

Interviews » Psychogeographic soul sister (published 27/08/2012)

I did buy an introduction to psychogeography which again barely mentioned any women writers – quite a feat, when Virginia Woolf’s essay ‘Street Haunting’ is absolutely central. Is it that people are interested in making psychogeographic musing as a male thing? Streetwalkers do a lot of looking: why aren’t we open to their musings? Plenty of women write fabulously about place. Part of the problem may be in the concept of Muse – if you’re male, it’s easier to appear to have a hotline to inspiration in the form of a Muse because a Muse is traditionally feminine. It’s a whole lot harder for women who write to have a Muse like that, or a gendered muse at all.

Richard Marshall interviews Clare Brant.

Buzzwords » The Missing Links (published 19/06/2012)

Jennifer Egan‘s twitter story, “Black Box“. * Rilke in pictures. * Stewart Home on the 10 best ways to fail. * Tom Bissell: “To write is to fail, more or less, constantly”. * Steven Millhauser interviewed, 2003. * Witold Gombrowicz‘s Diary. * Le Récit minimal. * Brian Dillon: “[T]he only future that seems to have [...]

Criticism » Metaphysical London Dark (published 07/06/2012)

198219So, is the dark a manifestation of London power, where London is the power and the dark its manifestation? Or is the dark the power, and London the manifestation? And when does a substance make its powers manifest? What stimulation is required to bring out the promised power…What many of these stories do, in fact, is suggest different gradings of necessity. Perhaps we should understand these stories as particles, each with basic, fundamental properties all linked to the basic law of the London haecceity, but some derived more directly than others. But there is no agreement about any of this and that may well be because no one knows what the basic laws are. No one knows which are the most fundamental ones. No one in fact knows if London is a power even, although Shakespeare thought it was, Ted Hughes agreed, and it seems all metaphysical cities are metaphysical London.

Richard Marshall reviews Oscar Zarate‘s It’s Dark In London.