Gabriel Josipovici on New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani

Gotta love a guy who can start a review with an extended quote from Wordsworth:

One of the most mysterious and disconcerting episodes in The Prelude concerns Wordsworth’s encounter in London with a blind beggar “who, with upright face,/Stood, propped against a wall, upon his chest/Wearing a written paper, to explain/His story, whence he came, and who he was”. The sight, the poet tells us, sent his mind spinning, “As with the might of waters”, for it seemed an “apt type . . . of the utmost we can know,/Both of ourselves and of the universe”. Can this be true? Is the blind beggar, his name written on his chest but unable to read it, an emblem of ourselves?

The idea is shocking to most of us, who believe that we are transparent to ourselves and that the world is, to a certain extent, open to our understanding.

Diego Marani’s remarkable novel sets out to explore these questions . . .

Also read his essay on Thomas Bernhard in the same periodical.

Recent Posts

Criticism Isn't Free

CR is dedicated to thoughtful, in-depth criticism without regard to what's commercially appealing. It takes tens of hours each month to provide this. Please help make this sort of writing sustainable, either with a subscription or a one-time donation. Thank you!

You could also purchase one of my acclaimed ebooks.

Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2019. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.