:: Essays

The Frame of Lagado published 18/01/2021

For Swift, Knowledge (with a capital K) does not exist. It does not exist in the sense that it is not out there waiting to be found, that its constituent parts are not readymades prepared to be rearranged. The more the search is performed, the more the fragmentary quality of knowledge, of meaning, is revealed. My silence comes as no surprise. It seems I short-circuited that part of my internal belief and was left wordless.

An essay by Joshua Calladine-Jones on Jonathan Swift’s Guillver’s Travels.

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Go On, Cry published 12/01/2021

I want us to cry like girls. I want the phrase “cry like a girl” to become something inspiring, something which people take to heart. I want this phrase to eventually fade out of use because there are completely different categories. Because we’ve smudged the old categories with our tears. Cry for me, Angela!

An essay by Lisa Krusche.

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Guruphobia: Satori Salesmen and their Seductions published 22/12/2020

Of all the prides, the most pernicious is spiritual pride—a holier-than-thou, more-learned-than-thou, or more-advanced-than-thou superiority, overt or (more often) under wraps. The most enslaved of the spiritually proud are the self-deifiers of whom there have been more than a few in every faith and cult.

By David B. Comfort.

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The Squeak Strikes Down the Story published 14/12/2020

A man on a marimba plays a discordant “Flight of the Bumblebee” while a violinist imitates a mouse.  When people call me Josef K., I nod my head painfully.  When they shout, “Gregor,” and offer to toss me peanuts, I open my mouth obediently.  But now—in these precarious times of cat-like shadows creeping in the corners—might I not vault onto the painted pail of the ringmaster and assert my Josefineness all the same?  I am Diva, in a sequined red jacket and black top hat, snapping a bullwhip as I whine about my utter lack of vocabulary when it comes to music writing.  I have entered into a conversation for which I have no words.  And yet, I will sing.

By Nathan Dixon.

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Architectural Possibilities of Renee Gladman’s Prose Architectures published 10/12/2020

Gladman’s work registers that “space as such,” whatever it is, is probably not the affectless cypher to structure but a structure already structured, “geometric or morphological.” Yet its implications are rangier than what might be summarized by a curator as those pertaining to “genre-bending.” Architectures makes to unravel the religious and industrial facing that is empty space. As such, the often pathetically ambivalent “post-ironic” spatially-charged genre of the installation is not just the spelling-out of a-s-s-e-m-b-l-a-g-e or c-u-l-t-u-r-a-l p-a-s-t-i-c-h-e across a gallery room.

Albe Harlow on Prose Architectures by Renee Gladman.

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Retelling the Minotaur myth for the age of isolation published 07/12/2020

‘The House of Asterion’ is an unsettling account of a mind in total isolation. The outside world reaches Asterion only in the form of fractured pieces of information and rumours, which he immediately distances himself from as slander and falsehoods. In his absolute solitude, which cannot be alleviated by literary encounters, he invents disturbing, maddened ‘games’ to make the time pass somehow—I run through the stone galleries until I fall dizzy to the floor; There are roofs from which I let myself fall until I am bloody. For all his claims of voluntary isolation, it seems that he actually yearns for company, or just any kind of interaction—one of his pastimes is hiding and pretending he is being pursued and followed. His favourite game is ‘the one about the other Asterion’, where he pretends that he has been visited by his double and performs a dialogue with himself as ‘the other’, desperate to ease his loneliness.

By Alex Tadel.

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Points of Attack published 01/12/2020

Three essays from Points of Attack by Mark de Silva.

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Theater Symptoms by Robert Musil: An Excerpt from the Preface published 30/11/2020

Musil’s plays, theater reviews, and writings on theater were written between 1921 and 1929. Musil, whom we think of as quintessentially Viennese, was born in Klagenfurt, in what was then Austro-Hungary; he had grown up in Brno (now a city in the Czech Republic) and had studied (philosophy, psychology, mathematics, and physics) in Berlin. Although the Austrian empire had been dismantled at the end of World War I, creating separate Bohemian states, their inter-relationships were still strong, as evidenced by the fact that Musil wrote theater reviews about Viennese productions (sometimes starring or directed by Hungarians or Czechs) for two newspapers in Prague.

By Genese Grill.

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The Gayification of the West: An Excerpt from Paradise Overload published 16/11/2020

In any case, I think that everyone can at least agree that the great project of the Western World, the unicum distinguishing it from all other human societies, is its ambition to build a way of life without God. I can’t think of other examples, maybe Confucian China, but I get the feeling that all that was just something for the elites, and in the poor countryside the local gods were going strong. Here the project, be it consciously or not, is one for the masses. There’s no point trying to reach different conclusions by recalling the success of the Pope, even with younger generations, and people’s devotion to Padre Pio, or Communion and Liberation and whatnot.

Excerpt from Paradise Overload by Walter Siti, translated by Brian Robert Moore.

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The Eels published 02/11/2020

I walk along the bank and chuck the rest in piece by piece, up by where a little waterfall churns the clear water. Still nothing. Then, a minute later, the first eel approaches.

It methodically passes along the rocks on my side of the falls, as if sniffing like a dog or cat. It noses a fallen leaf, moss, and swims near or round a couple of pieces of fat without so much as a glance. Its fin grazes the surface of the stream, sending brush-thin ripples out across the water.

By Ellie Boughton.

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