by | 04.27.2009
Readers of Things Fall Apart will recall the moment in the penultimate chapter of the novel when the gathering of the people of Umuofia is rudely interrupted by messengers from the white man. The messengers are confronted by Okonkwo, who happens to have taken a position at the very edge of the gathering.
by | 04.20.2009
As I teach Don Quixote once again, I am struck by how difficult it is to avoid converting the book into either a tragedy or a satire. Auerbach should provide a remedy, but his discussion of the novel's "gay wisdom" does not seem to speak to students.
by | 03.30.2009
I got interested, for obvious reasons, in reading Hardy's "The Darkling Thrush". There is a discussion about the poem, initiated by Robert Pinsky, going on at Slate's "The Fray" at the moment.
by | 03.30.2009
In 2001, Napster introduced the world to file-sharing, and ever since the media has been filled with feverish stories about the music market's decline. Indeed, no one sells 10 million or even 5 million copies of a single album anymore; that said, some success stories have been ignored. Many artists in the independent sector are experiencing unprecedented popularity.
by | 03.02.2009
Contrary to the menacing spectacle of national chauvinism associated with China today, Confucian universal values embodied by the idea of tianxia (all under heaven) stem from an ethical scheme of ritualistic empire. This global view based on cultural improvement is a far cry from the image of modern empires bent on acquiring territories, markets and resources.
by | 02.27.2009
The incapacity of the mind–or rather of the Western mind culturally trained to succeed and strive–to conceive of reality. We are not taught to see what is, but to dream, long, hope, desire, strive, reach for a perfection (physical, intellectual, financial, social) that does not exist outside of our projections and the standards of the society where we are born.
by | 02.02.2009
Dictation implies a separation between “me” and the writing itself. I had to re-imagine what the writing life would look like. Suddenly I was speaking my text to someone. I was externalizing a step of the process that had been so far silently kept within. We were now two in the room, and at the beginning there was no obvious agreement on what should be typed on the screen.
by | 01.18.2009
“Il faut souffrir doucement les loix de nostre condition. Nous sommes pour vieillir, pour affoiblir, pour estre malades, en despit de toute medecine."