Colin Marshall in the LARB:
Within 50 pages, Kim name-checks The Death of Marat, Henry Miller, Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, Gustav Klimt, B.B. King, Animal Kingdom, Chupa Chups lollipops, Chet Baker, Antonio Banderas, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Stranger Than Paradise, at which point the book only has 69 pages left. Comparisons to Murakami come easily, and those looking for his South Korean equivalent will, at least in this particular novel, find pieces of what they seek: modern topics, pop references, narration that refuses to strain for belletristic heights. But Kim writes with a harder edge, under a . . . continue reading, and add your comments
This caught my eye, mostly since I just got through delivering a paper on precisely this topic.
Javier Calvo: The other day I saw a book by Alejandro Zambra on a list of the most anticipated books of 2013 in the United States, and I wanted to ask you this: what do you think of this phenomenon, which to me is one of the most important things that have happened in American publishing in a long time? I’m talking about the attention Spanish-language fiction has been getting since Bolaño. How have you experienced this change as a translator, . . . continue reading, and add your comments
It’s nice to see Gaddis’s letters reviewed in the Times, even if this review is symptomatic of that paper’s decline.
Kinda ballsy to make the lede how the critics completely messed up on The Recognitions and J R and then not quote from the Times’ participation in said fiasco . . .
It’s almost as though they learned nothing from the past decade.
For the moment, data about how well MOOCs work are diffuse and scant. A cornerstone of the case for them is a randomized study that Bowen helped plan, through the Ithaka organization, a Mellon Foundation spinoff. It showed no significant difference in educational outcomes between online learning and traditional classroom learning. The MOOC in question was a statistics course, however, and a “hybrid” one: its students had a weekly in-classroom Q. & A. session. When MOOCs are a purely online experience, dropout rates are typically more than . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Traveling this week. Blogging might be a little light.
Witold Gombrowicz was a strange guy. Kronos, apparently his last unpublished text, sounds like an especially strange book.
The new book lays out Gombrowicz’s meticulous monthly tabulation of concerns – his erotic ventures as lists of partners’ first names and his health and lack thereof are the carnal, corporeal priorities. Then travel, meetings, invitations, exchanges of gifts and letters. In finding a form for his unrelenting self analysis, the new book gives the writer something of a last word on his life.
A key work that was conspicuously absent for decades – as a full biography of . . . continue reading, and add your comments
We seem to be in a weird place right now vis a vis books. For the most part, Jaron Lanier comes across as non-alarmist non-techno-utopian in this interview (e.g., “My cyber-friends think if you can just come up with a perfect scheme, that some perfect digital scheme will solve all the problems.”) but then we get on to the book business and it’s “oh my god!!!!”
To me a book is not just a particular file. It’s connected with personhood. Books are really, really hard to write. They represent a kind of a summit of grappling with what . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Somewhere at the intersection between the social sciences and literary criticism we find Franco Moretti’s writing on literature.
“The form of any portion of matter, whether it be living or dead,” writes D’Arcy Thompson in his strange wonderful book On Growth and Form, “may in all cases alike be described as dur to the action of force. In short, the form of an object is a ‘diagram of forces’ . . .” Diagram: Cartesian space. But diagram of forces. The distribution of events between the Black Forest villages and the administrative towns is the diagram . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Obviously I get the point of why things like this are necessary, and to the extent that artistic endeavors can make a good argument for themselves in the language of capitalism, good for them. But I do also feel that this sort of thing takes away from the message that the arts should be sending: we’re not capitalism and we don’t want to be.
As the post points out, the arts don’t exist to make money; they only do so because anything that doesn’t make money in this world soon dies. Art is practically unique in this regard. . . . continue reading, and add your comments