zenomax: the small hidden door

KeskusteluClub Read 2011

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zenomax: the small hidden door

Tämä viestiketju on "uinuva" —viimeisin viesti on vanhempi kuin 90 päivää. Ryhmä "virkoaa", kun lähetät vastauksen.

joulukuu 17, 2010, 1:07 pm

"The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens into that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was a conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach."

The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man, C G Jung

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 19, 2010, 12:36 pm

Potential authors and books I'd like to associate with in 2011 (this is an unreliable indicator of what I will actually read, I read in a conventional sense very few books in a year - I dip into books at random pages, I think about the themes, images, stand out paragraph excerpts, and sensory feel of a book, and I indulge in what - ifs and what - nexts, sometimes as a result of direct ideas sparked by a book, sometimes based on illusory connections - but read a book from cover to cover? Not often.)

And so to the list - a ghost list for the moment, something to work towards:

Keri Hume
Jeanette Winterson
Maori language and culture
Artificial intelligence
More Denton Welch and Marguerite Yourcenar
More WG Sebald On the Natural History of Destruction and After Nature
Recent discoveries:
Thomas Bernhard
Emilio Lascano Tegui
Andrei Bely
Jules Renard
Curzio Malaparte (a name taken in juxtaposition to Buonaparte)
And more of:
Canetti, Victor Serge, Gracq
Dictionary of the Kazars
All that is solid melts into air and other books on modernism.

I will also continue to ruminate on those writers who have forged the way for my ideas on this world, this universe, and all possible other worlds and universes, small, large or infinitesimal. Writers including - but not exclusively:

Kafka, Proust, Kis, Musil, Schwitters, Peret, Atget....

joulukuu 20, 2010, 7:16 am

Hello there. I am another Aussie, though still living Down Under. I read Jeanette Winterson for the first time last year and was very impressed. Hope you enjoy her.
Oh, and W.G.Sebald - bliss!!

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 20, 2010, 12:37 pm

Hi amanda - nice to see another aussie, although I guess I'm now officially an aussie-kiwi-pom.

Where in Australia are you from?

ETA: oh I see you are from Sydney. I was born there - not been back (to Sydney) for over 20 years.

Do you support any NRL league team?

joulukuu 21, 2010, 6:44 am

I was raised in rural NSW but haved lived in Sydney all of my adult life. I'm not a NRL fan, but two of my sons support Manly. Do you support a NRL team? If so, why??

joulukuu 21, 2010, 1:12 pm

Yes, mainly because I wanted to retain a link to my birthplace - I've lived most of my life in New Zealand. I also like sport - football (aka soccer mainly) but I follow rugby too - both league and union.

St George are my team...

joulukuu 21, 2010, 10:18 pm

St George was my grandfather's team. I have a husband (English-born) and three sons and they are soccer-mad. Their team is Manchester United.

joulukuu 29, 2010, 8:26 am

Well Amanda, as a Liverpool follower I can say nothing more than that is nice for them.

joulukuu 29, 2010, 8:33 am

Books which I am reading and will complete by early January:

The Blind Owl - impression so far is it is not as good as I expected, given the write ups around LT. Less than half way through, so potential to improve.

The Art of Memory - a christmas present. I was after her Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, but this, the precursor, looks even better.

England's Dreaming, a quite old book now, but the best overview of the mid to late 70s music and culture. My wife bought in for me on spec - has been the book I've been reading into the night, hard to put down. Jon Savage also wrote Teenage: the creation of youth culture and writes well on the undercurrents of working class culture and fashion in the run up to 'year zero' when punk rock hit the streets.

joulukuu 30, 2010, 5:59 am

interesting 2011 potential authors list you have there! i see some names i'd like to get to myself at some point. i hope you share with us your ruminations...

sorry to hear about The Blind Owl, i was just about to purchase a copy recently but hesitated, don't remember exactly why.

joulukuu 30, 2010, 9:59 am

Hi deebee - my aim this year is to be more structured in a) reading books cover to cover, and b) discussing them. Last year's thread seemed to turn into some random thoughts and ramblings.

So hopefully I will be able to share something useful.

I wouldn't be put of The Blind Owl by my views - many on LT whose opinion I respect like it a lot. Maybe I just have a blind spot as far as it is concerned.

I'm hoping you have a thread running this year? You were always one of my key sources for previously unknown-to-me books and authors.

In fact Dictionary of the Khazars on my list for 2011 was from one of your threads. I'm still looking out for it in bookshops across the land.

joulukuu 30, 2010, 10:25 am

Juxtapositions. Sometimes seeming opposites make encouraging bedfellows.

I have been playing this track on my iPod recently. It works tolerably well with England's Dreaming and is a perfect fit for The Blind Owl. In my eyes.


joulukuu 30, 2010, 10:27 am

Meantime, this goes perfectly with The Art of Memory, which I have only dipped into but looks fantastical.


joulukuu 31, 2010, 6:01 am

> 11 didn't realize that The Dictionary of the Khazars is not easily available there. i checked Amazon UK and indeed, they only showed copies being sold by Marketplace vendors, the very few new ones being sold at 60 to 100 euros! a pity that no new edition has been published recently the available ones still from 1988, which i believe was the first ed. i'll be on the lookout for a copy for you (mine was a gift from a Serbian friend).

not too sure if i can maintain a thread in 2011...too many things crowding out reading in the coming year. but i'll be around...

i see you have Yourcenar on your list. anything specific of hers you have in mind? interestingly, my best read this year was her The Abyss. also i see Malaparte -- any particular title? i have 2 of his, The Skin and Volga Rises in Europe, still unread though. i also just discovered Winterson this year (Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit) and really enjoyed her writing.

if you've not yet gotten to them, i'd like to recommend 2 books which i think you might like -- one is The Abyss already mentioned, and the other is The Lost Steps by Alejo Carpentier -- a great book to inspire musings and ramblings.

joulukuu 31, 2010, 7:09 am

I was intrigued to learn from the Introductions thread that you are planning to learn Maori this year. I am at the level where I can get by with a dictionary - and a lot of time - in attempting to read Maori text, but get left behind after a few words when listening to spoken Maori.

I'll be interested to hear how you get on with Keri Hulme, too. I know many people who love her work. I have enjoyed her short fiction, but been able to get into her Booker Prize-winning novel The Bone People.

I could recommend some other Maori writers (admittedly, from a Pakeha perspective!) if you're interested.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 31, 2010, 12:53 pm

14 deebee - it is very kind of you to look out for the Khazars book, thank you.

The Yourcenar I am after is Dear Departed, whilst I already have a copy of Memoirs of Hadrian although I have not read it. Malaparte's book I want is Kaputt.

I will keep The Abyss in mind too, particularly if I cannot get hold of Dear Departed.

As for Lost Steps I see it was in Danilo Kis' library. So to be recommended by deebee and Kis makes it almost impossible for me not to seek it out. As usual, what actually gets read and what doesn't will be based on ease of purchase, happenstance and various biases in my fickle reading mind.

joulukuu 31, 2010, 12:58 pm

15 Tim, nice to see you here. Hope 2011 is treating you well. Still all to come over here.

Any recommendations on Maori texts - either dictionary, teach yourself the language, or culture would be gratefully received. And any other Maori writers you could recommend would be great too.

My mother learned Maori and then Samoan and speaks it fairly well at a rudimentary level. It is only now that I am distanced by time and space that it begins to interest me more.

I have a plan to do something on here with my learning, not sure how or where as yet.

joulukuu 31, 2010, 5:52 pm

>17 zenomax:: In terms of fiction, I would recommend the novels of Patricia Grace, the early novels of Witi Ihimaera - and maybe the later novels too: opinion is sharply divided about many of those; and, among newer writers, the short fiction of Tina Makereti.

If you are interested in poetry, I could make some suggestions there too.

As for dictionaries, there is a good overview of those available here:


tammikuu 1, 2011, 5:33 am

Tim - thanks so much. Looking forward to doing this now.

tammikuu 1, 2011, 9:00 pm

I know very little of any of the authors on your list so it will be interesting to see your thoughts on some of them. One of the best things about LT for me is finding out about new books/authors that I otherwise would never have found.

tammikuu 1, 2011, 9:39 pm

Dictionary of Khazars is fantastic. There are two versions, a male and a female.

tammikuu 2, 2011, 8:35 am

I saw the two versions when I looked it up: what is the difference between them and should one read both?

tammikuu 2, 2011, 10:31 am


my version is the male version.

It's surprising that this book seems so hard to get hold of. It's one of the most original and brilliant works of the 20th century.

tammikuu 2, 2011, 11:17 am

Amazon has the female edition for $11.88 (I just ordered it) and the book Depository appears to have both editions (based on ISBN, since they don't otherwise identify them).

tammikuu 7, 2011, 7:24 am

#18 Patricia Grace is on my Must Buy list for 2011.

tammikuu 7, 2011, 8:36 am

>11 zenomax: Last year's thread seemed to turn into some random thoughts and ramblings.

zeno I loved it. Much to absorb {while lurking} here.

tammikuu 7, 2011, 9:21 am

Hi. Janet here, first time visitor to your interesting thread. Just to say I really enjoyed Dictionary of the Khazars - it is well worth searching for. I seem to remember there's only one paragraph difference between the versions - a bit of a gimmick, but a nice talking point!

tammikuu 9, 2011, 10:54 pm

Joining the little Aussie party a bit late, but it did feel strangely homelike to read that conversation!

Zeno, I love the description in #2 of how you read. I think this reveals that you have the mind of a poet-philosopher.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 12, 2011, 2:27 pm

20 - 28 thanks Jane, Murr, Rebecca, Amanda, detail, Janet & Rena - for dropping in to comment.

26 detail - don't worry, I don't think I will be able to help myself but continue the ramblings, and thank you for your kind comments about them.

28 - Rena, I have never been compared to a poet-philosopher before, but I am liking the sound of it. Something for me to aspire to perhaps (although still some way to go I regret to say).

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 12, 2011, 2:43 pm

The Blind Owl, Sadeq Hedayat.

A disappointment for me, I was expecting a book of imagination, a story perhaps of a visionary in existential agony. But for me this story, while a simple myth, repeating key motifs, was not a work of towering imagination. It did not make me momentarily enter new and ethereal lands of the mind (as I momentarily am allowed to inhabit when reading the likes of Proust, Musil, Kafka and others).

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 12, 2011, 3:08 pm

England's Dreaming, Jon Savage

I really enjoyed this book. Savage also wrote Teenage: The creation of youth which draws together the various cultural, musical and style movements that feed into 'teenage'. He is therefore very good at introducing the styles and themes that influenced Punk (at least in the UK - in the US Punk was less self - destructive). Interestingly he draws a direct line from Paris 68 and the Situationalists to Malcolm Maclaren and Viv Westwood. The teddies also get a look in. I was interested to read that the teddy boy look was garnered from a short - lived upper middle class fashion of the 1950s - the 'Edwardian' which harked back to the Edwardian era.

My favourite story, which I have related elsewhere here:

McLaren was managing the NYDolls. He decided to change their 'look' from drag to a theme of communists! (His tactic seemed to be to make his bands the opposite of 'normal', hence the Sex Pistols wore short hair, didn't officially do drugs, had straigh stove pipe trousers, and used right wing imagery to delineate themselves from the hippies).

Anyway, the US journalists asked the band why this offensive theme around communism. JoHansen 'being the old trouper that he is, says "It ain't nuthin' serious, y'know". Malcolm was looking at him and thinking "you bastard", because Malcolm was serious. Lenny Kaye went over to Thunders and asked him the same question. Much to Malcolm's delight, Thunders said "What's it to ya?" Malcolm would tell this story over and over again. To him that was attitude.'

tammikuu 13, 2011, 7:14 am

Enjoying your thread.

tammikuu 13, 2011, 9:42 am

Thanks amanda. Guess your 4 'boys' would have been happy with beating Liverpool last week (said through gritted teeth)..

tammikuu 13, 2011, 2:10 pm

Ooh, Zenomax, another Liverpool supporter! That settles it - I was following your thread anyway, because of the books, but now you are starred!

tammikuu 13, 2011, 5:48 pm

So an american Liverpool supporter from London?

tammikuu 13, 2011, 5:52 pm

Right. There IS a logic to it, though. My husband is from Widnes, just near Liverpool. Although we live within hearing distance (when something really amazing happens) of the Arsenal, my children have always loved being different and supporting Liverpool (well, until this year, anyway). And a Australian born Liverpool supporter in Oxfordshire??

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 13, 2011, 6:41 pm

First World War Poems, chosen by Andrew Motion.

What I like about this book is that the poems chosen range from what Motion terms 'Thomas Hardy's sombre warnings' through to a poem published in 1995 by the son of a first world war veteran. It is not a book of war poets but a book of war poems.

i have read and am familiar with many of the first world war poets (due more to an interest in that war rather than in poetry) so it was nice to be able to broaden out into the perceptions of later poets.

In fact those I took most notice of were some of the post WW1 poets.

Philip Larkin writes of an evocative time '...never such innocence again...' in MCMXIV.

And two sons write about their fathers.

In 'A Grand Night' D J Enright describes how his father writes to the local cinema manager when a film about Gallipoli comes out to say he was there. He is asked to talk to the audience before the showing:

But he was shy, so the manager
Read it out, while he fidgeted...

And the final poem by Glyn Maxwell, 'My Grandfather at the Pool':

"The photo I know best of him is him
With pals of his about to take a swim,

Forming a line with four of them, so five
All told one afternoon, about to dive:

Merseysiders, grinning and wire thin,
Still balanced, not too late to not go in,

Or feint to but then teeter on a whim.
The only one who turned away is him..."

tammikuu 13, 2011, 6:38 pm

36 - Fate maybe? Always had a thing about Liverpool - the people and the football team. And watching Boys from the Blackstuff was a formative experience in my younger days.

Never that keen on the mersey sound though - the one thing Manchester has on Liverpool is its music....

tammikuu 13, 2011, 6:45 pm

37 - Ooh! I'm pretty sure that's the WW1 poetry book I read when I was house sitting once, and haven't seen it since. It's brilliant! Zeno, there's a poem in there by I think a woman, where they go for a picnic on an island, and there's something about the distant sounds of guns I think. And the wind in the pines. If you find it, could you pleeeaaase post it here? I want to read it again.

tammikuu 13, 2011, 6:48 pm

Oh yes, Rose Macaulay...

I will post it sometime over the next couple of days.

tammikuu 13, 2011, 6:53 pm

Was it really? I wonder why it didn't click for me at the time that she was the poet. Never mind, I've found it online now that I know who wrote it, but thank you anyway!


The internet makes the discovery of things so unromantic.

tammikuu 13, 2011, 11:19 pm

31 - That sounds really interesting.

Also, oddly enough I have a large group of friends that are Liverpool fans.

tammikuu 14, 2011, 6:08 am

And yet again I am the only Grimsby Town (football) supporter. It is a proud and lonely thing...

tammikuu 14, 2011, 8:17 am

Rena - glad you found the poem. Interestingly, the one you quoted in the Nature thread is twice as long as the version in the book!

Jane - good to see we are global. You will notice us at present by our hunched shoulders and slightly bowed heads.....

Tim - I am also a Lincoln City supporter (I consider that to be my home team as grandparents came from Notts & Lincs area). So Grimsby are the arch enemy... The last game I went to at Sincil bank was v. Grimsby - probably 3 years ago now. There were police everywhere in the city.

tammikuu 14, 2011, 8:32 pm

#38 Sadly I have to live with the Mersey sound as well. My husband is English and a Beatles fan. (Isn't there a limit to how many times you can listen to that stuff. Shoudln't one thousand times be enough??) He played for Manchester United Juniors then moved to Australia, hence the Man United connection.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 15, 2011, 5:32 am

Grimsby have now dropped to the depths of non-league football. I saw them play two games when I was in the UK in 1989, and the combined net score was 0-5. These are dark times, there is no denying.

P.S.: I was born in Cleethorpes, but we emigrated to New Zealand when I was 2. So the team I mainly support is the Wellington Phoenix in the A-League.

tammikuu 15, 2011, 9:48 am

amanda - your husband must have had a degree of talent to have made it to Man U Juniors. Did he continue playing when in Aussie?

tim - the Phoenix arose after I left the country, but I know most of the home domiciled All Whites play for them. I played (usually at a lowish level) for Western Suburbs, Tawa and Waterside Karori in various Wellington leagues, although I did spend a season playing central league football. Retired when I moved over here, although I still play 5 a-side as well as a bit of tennis and squash.

Sport allows me to become a bit more extroverted, a bit more in touch with the real world. Although I'm now thinking about the famous Monty Python philosophers' football match - Rena you are to blame for this line of thought....


Muokkaaja: tammikuu 15, 2011, 10:01 am

Never try to teach a pig to dance - it wastes your time and just annoys the pig.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 15, 2011, 11:09 am

Voices from the Great War, Peter Vasittart (Not to be confused with Forgotten Voices of the Great War):

This book follows the war chronologically, taking diary entries, letters home, songs, poems, and a record of key battles and events. Soldiers, politicians, poets and philosophers. It does not seek to look at the everyday soldier or civilian's experience - but as long as you understand that limitation (which it is in my view) then it is an entertaining read.

My two favourite pieces both happen to have been written from prison cells.

Rose Luxemburg is spending her first night in prison in Berlin. It is her second time in a prison - she was once imprisoned in Warsaw where "...the Russian gendarmes treated me with great respect as a 'political', whereas the Berlin police said they didn't care a snap of the finger what i was...".

Despite the inconvenience and angst, what worries her most is "That I had to go to sleep without a night-dress and without being able to comb my hair."

Luxemburg then refers to Schiller's story 'Mary Stuart' (as one does when talking about a first night in prison):

"Mary's trinkets are taken from her, and Lady Kennedy observes sadly: 'To lose life's little gauds is harder than to brave great trials.' Look it up; Schiller puts it rather better than I do. But heavens! where are my errant thoughts leading me? Gott strafe England! And forgive me that I compare myself to an English Queen!"

Bertrand Russell writes to his brother from Brixton. as well as talking about his regime (4 hours writing philosophy, 4 hours reading philosophy, and 4 hours general reading), he gives his thoughts on Madame Roland (whose memoirs he is reading)and ends with the thought:

"For the next 1000 years people will look back to the time before 1914 as they did in the Dark Ages to the time before the Gauls sacked Rome. Queer animal, man!"

tammikuu 15, 2011, 1:43 pm

>49 zenomax:, zeno, that sounds like a great book to add to my ww1 pile.

tammikuu 15, 2011, 2:47 pm

Glad to help the pile fp. Not as good as Forgotten Voices of the Great War but good at background.

tammikuu 15, 2011, 4:57 pm

>51 zenomax:, Oh drat, now I have two books to add. :)

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 17, 2011, 5:22 am

Thinking recently about the times when you have an avenue to the past - one that you know you are privileged to be part of, but which you know is temporary, and so to be even more treasured. Perhaps sparked by the Bertrand Russell quote...

I walk every Saturday morning behind horses around the grounds of a National Trust site in UK. The horses are part of a riding group run out of stables owned by 80 year old brother & sister - neither of who has ever married, living in the house where they were born. The house has not changed apart from a few (very few) modern conveniences. They remind me of a comment in one of James Lees-Milne's diaries where he meets a family who he sees as the last of englands yeomanry - those freemen who of peasant stock secured their own land and freedom from the landlord. Lees-Milne's yeoman family, if memory serves, held the same house and land for centuries, and, as such, the house had been little changed. Like stepping back into the past.

So for me every Saturday morning I have 2 windows on the past, the old stables and the brother & sister from days of yore, and the walk in all weathers & seasons around the grounds of a stately home.

I write this because the auguries are poor. Old age, the death of 1 horse and retirement of a sceond, and the encroaching National Trust (bulldozing literally and metaphorically towards the stables) makes it run of those idyllic interludes which must of necessity soon end.

tammikuu 17, 2011, 5:39 am

>47 zenomax:, zenomax: This is my last football-related comment, I promise... You played at considerably higher level than I managed, but I can't leave the topic without mentioning the (sole?) highlight of my "football career":


tammikuu 17, 2011, 5:26 pm

That is a great story Tim.

I think I'm probably neck and neck with you in the goal scoring stakes. I tended to be a wing back or sweeper, rarley getting up near goal.

tammikuu 18, 2011, 5:51 am

Thanks, zenomax!

tammikuu 18, 2011, 7:00 am

Well, I'm not a big non-fiction reader but I do love Bertrand Russell.
(My husband had a couple of knee operations, then played semi-profesionally and is still playing. He's going for the Stanley Matthews Award. He still is a very talented player but don't tell him I said that.)

tammikuu 22, 2011, 8:28 am

amanda - what I like about A History of Western Philosophy is that it is so opinionated. You read it not to understand the history of philosophy in the West, but to understand Bertrand's views on these strands of philosophy.

I suspect if you asked why some people do not like the book you would get the same reason.

tammikuu 22, 2011, 8:28 am

"The President of the Republic of Dreams"
Louis Aragon on Raymond Roussel.

tammikuu 22, 2011, 10:20 am

"Dandyism is a setting sun; like the declining star, it is magnificent, without heat and full of melancholy."

tammikuu 22, 2011, 1:56 pm

The flaneur.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 23, 2011, 1:39 pm

The Mechanical Turk, Tom Standage

A light book, an interesting topic. The Mechanical Turk was an automaton invented by Wolfgang von Kempelen. In fact, the more interesting aspect of this story to me is around the history of automata - which is touched upon in this book but not fully fleshed out (so to speak).

Standage does explain at the beginning of his story:

"Automata are the forgotten ancestors of almost all modern technology....As the first complex machines produced by man, automata represented a proving ground for technology that would later be harnessed in the industrial revolution."

As for the book, it tells how translator, scientist, man of parts, Wolfgang von Kempelen showed his major talent, via his invention, to be that of showman. Having just read England's Dreaming I could not help but compare von K with Malcolm Maclaren.A delight in showmanship and in the magician's art.

EA Poe enters the story as the Turk moves to the US. Poe, in an essay, compared the Mechanical Turk to Charles Babbage's calculating machine. Poe argued in favour of the Turk, but added that '...it is quite certain that the operations of the automaton are regulated by mind, and by nothing else...' In this Poe was quite correct, the automaton had a human operating it. The hows and wherefores of this though make up the interesting part of the story.

Standage also intriguingly compares the Turk to a chess playing computer program written in 1946 by the incomparable Alan Turing. Although he basically invented the computer, Turing in 1946 had no access to one. He therefore wrote the 'program' on paper and proceeeded to use it to play a friend at chess. His friend could use any legal move, Turing was limited to using the appropriate move suggested by his chess playing program. Turing lost - but worked on the program further before his death. This is now seen as the precursor of computer chess, and, in passing, of 'the field that subsequently came to be known as "artificial intellignece"'.

tammikuu 23, 2011, 1:54 pm

The small hidden door.....

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 23, 2011, 2:01 pm

Speaking of doors, perhaps I may be indulged in being allowed to rekindle my fascination with Atget by publishing this...

tammikuu 24, 2011, 4:56 am

Yes you can be indulged with your Atget pictures

Have you come across La France, Raymond Depardon. He had an exhibition in Paris last summer which I was fortrunate to see. He travels around France in an old camping van and takes pictures using a large plate camera. The pictures are beautifully composed and although they are in colour this does not detract from the compositions.

tammikuu 24, 2011, 11:48 am

Coveting small hidden door no. 1. I could be very happy in there, methinks.

tammikuu 24, 2011, 1:12 pm

>62 zenomax: zeno this reminds me of IBM’s Deep Blue chess-playing computer and now its Deep QA project -- one part of which is the Watson challenge, where a computer will play as the third contestant in a February Jeopardy! com-pu-tition (haha their word) against the game show’s all-time top two winners. (Does Jeopardy air where you are?)

The Watson project will be chronicled in Final Jeopardy by Stephen Baker, due out after the competition airs; the ebook comes out this week and will be updated with the final chapter in February.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 24, 2011, 1:20 pm

baswood - as an occasional lurker on your own interesting thread, may I say how nice it is to see you here. i have not come across Depardon but it sounds as though I need to.

I admit that a large part of my attraction for Atget is the time period he captures. However, I also love the 'art' of the old plate cameras. So a modern take would be most acceptable to me. I need to follow this up when I have time.

cg - I'm with you 100% on that. An interesting aside - an INTJ who I work with (but who is several steps above me in importance! - he actually heads up strategy for our company in the UK) once told me after a few drinks that his preference whenpresenting a a piece of work would be to bring it to the door of our company boardroom, deliver it not by entering and presenting the said piece, but instead slide it under the door and scuttle away to the safety of his office.

Maybe this is where our fascination with doors, hidden & small originates from?

tammikuu 24, 2011, 1:19 pm

67 detail - good call! the final chapter of the book deals specifically with Deep Blue and the Turk.

I have a recent fascination with artificial intelligence which I hope to pursue at some time via this thread...

tammikuu 24, 2011, 1:28 pm

It would also be nice if others would slide their demands and requests under the door, and I would emerge when I felt like dealing with them.

tammikuu 25, 2011, 1:16 pm

Z - stepping in for a moment to catch-up. Great posts on the Mechanical Turk and Voices of the Great War.

tammikuu 26, 2011, 2:44 pm

70 - quite so, cg. Couldn't put it any better.....
71 - dan - welcome and thanks for your comment. What are your plans re Proust this year, if any? Have you read Musil?

tammikuu 26, 2011, 2:52 pm

Z - I've changed mental gears and Proust "looks" like work. The mind is rebelling. I'll come back, and that will be a good time for Musil (inspired here...well, your threads, pural). Right now I'm working towards Florida, in books, in some weird exercise I can't quite explain. My growing up in south FL has a lot to do with it.

tammikuu 26, 2011, 5:14 pm

A rebelling mind is always a good thing, dan.

For anyone at all vaguely interested, my favourite self imposed concept at the moment is 'minimal infinity'.

Although I am also mulling over 'minimal infinities' which, I believe, may be something altogether different.

tammikuu 27, 2011, 3:34 pm

How would you describe "minimal infinity"? Or the plural?

tammikuu 27, 2011, 3:45 pm

The least of all infinities, and the smallest imagined number of infinities (as opposed to the smallest imaginable number of infinities)...

tammikuu 27, 2011, 3:48 pm

Ze mind boggles.

tammikuu 28, 2011, 7:57 am

Enjoying your thread very much.

My eldest son is reading A Random History of Football by Colin Murray, sometimes out loud to me. Murray discusses the way modern players are "wrapped in cotton wool" and compares them to the players of old:
On p.19 he talks about Graham Roberts, a Spurs player, and his performance in 1981:
"Already bleeding heavily as a result of an accidental collision with a Man City player, the defender (Roberts) made a valiant effort to clear his lines with a header, but in stooping low took the full force of a blow from his own team-mate Chris Houghton, who booted him squarely in the face. Knocked out cold and covered in blood, Roberts was now missing two front teeth, yet he refused to be substituted. Even at half-time, when the team doctor told him it was ridiculous to even consider continuing, he was having none of it. Instead, he popped two aspirins and played right through normal time and extra time."

tammikuu 31, 2011, 1:24 pm

amanda - yes, I remember Graham Roberts. Funny thing, I remember in Roberts' time the commentators saying how the previous generation were a lot tougher! The likes of Ron 'Chopper' Harris, and half of the Don Revie - era Leeds team for instance. Maybe every generation has the same view.

Having said that, the game has changed in that physical tackles are less accepted. Players are also cleverer now - the least touch and they are willing to fall down in agony, much to the consternation of 'traditional' british commentators who see it as a travesty.

Of course, as recent events have shown (Andy Gray, Richard Keys, Sky sports), 'traditional' british commentators may have a little way to go before they realise which century they now find themselves in...

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 31, 2011, 1:43 pm

So, a long weekend away from it all in Suffolk.

From this came 4 books. 2 sat in our cottage waiting to be read:

Puck of Pooks Hill and Rewards and Fairies, books I have been thinking of in the recesses at the back of my mind recently, both fairly short and easy to read. So they were read. Reviews to follow.

And 2 purchases from book shops. From a second hand book shop in an old chapel, run by 2 middle aged former (I am guessing) hippies. To get their attention when a purchase was to be made one had to bang a piece of driftwood against an empty oil can. The lady came out and offered me a cup of tea - no my wife and son were waiting in the car (too cold for them in the chapel - minus 1 outside, colder still inside) so I better hadn't. 5 minutes later banged on the can and out came the man - longish grey hair, a faraway, distracted look, and wearing old fashioned striped pyjama bottoms!

Anyway, bought My heart laid bare, prose writings of Msr. C Baudelaire. A good find.

Finally, from Snape Maltings, a day after a documentary had been shown at the theatre there on Sebald, the book shop had a number of his books on public display. And so ref. message 2, I believe I have the first of my 'ghost list' to be struck through with a certain nonchalant air of triumph. The book - After Nature.

Reviews on all in due course. The game's afoot!

tammikuu 31, 2011, 2:33 pm

Hmmm...didn't know Baudelaire wrote prose. Les Fleurs du Mal is probably my favorite poetry book, but I take that in snippets. Don't know if I could handle his prose. You'll have to let us know how it is.

helmikuu 1, 2011, 5:41 am


Isn't it wonderful that there are people like this still around and running book shops. I wonder if they might have been ex-librarians as well.l

helmikuu 1, 2011, 2:43 pm

81 - oh yes, CB - the dandy that he was - was an art critic of some renown and wrote on a number of themes. This is now the second of his prose books I own.

By the way, I have never been fully satisfied with my translation of Fleurs du mal (Mcgowan). At the same chapel bookshop there was a hardcover version where each item seemed to have a different translator. Unfortunately - when in a marriage one has to have a strategy - little and often - so as not to upset the applecart. So, sadly, this book will have to wait for another day.

82 - librarians yes, quite possibly. I forgot to mention the fellow had a beatific smile as he padded out (sandals? barefeet? I can't say for sure). He didn't say a word the whole time, but gave off an air of extreme benvolence to the world and its ways.

helmikuu 1, 2011, 2:45 pm

Unfortunately - when in a marriage one has to have a strategy - little and often - so as not to upset the applecart. So, sadly, this book will have to wait for another day.

What a coincidence, I employ that very same marital harmony strategy. That, and, "What new book? I've had that forever."

helmikuu 2, 2011, 1:31 am

zeno, I wonder if you would be interested in joining our group read on 15 Feb? http://www.librarything.com/topic/108934

I haven't figured out yet if you dip into the salon with one toe, or if you're all in it. If the latter, you'll already know about this read, but just in case you're not, here's a Special Invitation. Hey, you might even want to help me lead it, in which case you'd be more than welcome!

helmikuu 2, 2011, 2:02 am

Zeno, just found your thread. Love your approach. You have touched on many titles and authors of mutual interest. More later . . .

helmikuu 2, 2011, 2:07 pm

Among other things, I wanted to ask you about the Baudelaire. Does that book contain his 1863 essay called the "Artist of Modern Life"? If so, I'll have to add that to my list.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 2, 2011, 2:30 pm

My Heart Laid Bare:

This is the other Baudelaire prose book I own:

Both contain 'Artist of the Modern Life' although the latter book appears to have a truncated version. So I have 2 versions, 2 different translations.

helmikuu 2, 2011, 3:15 pm

The whole of the universe is something else
And toil, like seaweed or fallen leaves,
Floats on the surface of nothing. A slight wind
Stirs the waters a little, and this is life.

- Fernando Pessoa, excerpt from Ruba'iyat

helmikuu 2, 2011, 3:18 pm

Thanks much! Been looking for that essay. Art history prof made a big deal of it.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 3, 2011, 2:30 pm

Puck of Pook's Hill, R Kipling

Una and Dan come across Puck himself on midsummersday. Puck introduces them to characters from the pageantry of english history.

Also involved Hobden, the local hedger, and his unusual son, the bee boy - who has the knack of picking up swarms of bees without being stung.

Now Kipling was of his time, and fed into some of the worst of imperial Britain's dream-time mentality about its role and importance. But his strength is his ability to imagine himself into the symapthetic part of someone else - whether it be a Pict or Elizabeth Regina. His other strength is his ability to tell a rattling good story.

I also like his evocation of the english countryside as something more mythical, magical than mere sod and leaf. In this PoPH reminds me of JC Powys' novel Porius.

Here is a description:

...they climbed up Long Ditch into the lower end of
Far Wood. This is sadder and darker than the Volaterrae
end because of an old marl-pit full of black water, where
weepy, hairy moss hangs round the stumps of the
willows and alders. But the birds come to perch on the
dead branches, and Hobden says that the bitter willow-
water is a sort of medicine for sick animals.

This combines imagery around the timelessness of the english countryside (if this was a real place Long Ditch would probably be named such - allowing for changes from middle into recent english dialect - at Domesday and would still be in existence to this day), folklore, and close observation of nature's manifestation.

Oh yes, the bee boy has something to say about the slow worm too:

'If I had eyes as I could see,
No mortal man would trouble me.'

It may be apparent that despite making up most of the book, the visitors from other ages such as Queen Bess impressed me less, but having said that, by reading the book cover to cover you do understand a certain type of British (English?) pride in the country and its heroes (and Kipling's strength in imagining himself into other people means the heroes are not always englis).

I like very much K's poem here (each section ends with an illustrative poem) about the Picts. I first came across this as a Billy Bragg song. It has some nice sentiments for the nascent anarchist.

A Pict Song

Rome never looks where she treads,
Always her heavy hooves fall
On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads;
And Rome never heeds when we bawl.
Her sentries pass on - that is all,
And we gather behind them in hordes,
And plot to reconquer the Wall,
With only our tongues for our swords.

We are the Little Folk - we!
Too little to love or to hate.
Leave us alone and you'll see
How we can drag down the Great!
We are the worm in the wood!
We are the rot in the root!
We are the germ in the blood!
We are the thorn in the foot!

Mistletoe killing an oak -
Rats gnawing cables in two -
Moths making holes in a cloak -
How they must love what they do!
Yes - and we Little Folk too,
We are as busy as they -
Working our works out of view -
Watch, and you'll see it some day!

No indeed! We are not strong,
But we know Peoples that are.
Yes, and we'll guide them along,
To smash and destroy you in War!
We shall be slaves just the same?
Yes, we have always been slaves,
But you - you will die of the shame,
And then we shall dance on your graves!

helmikuu 3, 2011, 3:06 pm

And let us not forget Rewards and Fairies in which Dan and Una come across Puck exactly 1 year later, meeting more of colourful characters from British history.

helmikuu 4, 2011, 3:22 am

My enthusiasms generally describe a parabola, moving from excited discovery to insight, to understanding and then acceptance. Sometimes the parabola is high and narrow, sometimes gradual but wide. Sometimes there are little after-blips as I stumble across an old book or there is a newspaper article that leads to a brief flaring up of interest reignited.

Anyway, that is by the by, other than to say that I am still at the stage of insight with Baudelaire - still learning new things from him, still surprised by what he writes and what delights and fancies his words spark of in my mind.

I have still to fully formulate my ideas on B's use of colour in his writings. They always add something extra, something stimulating to his flow of ideas. It is partly their unexpected appearance (very few other writers use colour as an imaginative force), partly the actual colour or pair of colours he deigns to name, and partly his co - opting of colour as something almost living and breathing.

"A room like a daydream, a truly spiritual room, where the still atmosphere is faintly tinted with pink and blue."

Opening line of 'The Double Room', from Prose Poems, My Heart Laid Bare.

helmikuu 4, 2011, 3:00 pm

Re Kipling and his ripping good yarns, Kim is one of my all-time favorite books. I've read it several times. Cannot get through it without crying. It must be full of political incorrectness, but all I see is the sensitivities. So color me politically incorrect! But I do love that book.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 7, 2011, 1:14 pm

Yes, Kim sounds the business.

Currently on order from the library: Kaputt - looking forward to it.

I also have working class millenialism on my mind. The 'Norman Yoke' in particular fascinates. It links in with another interest - how genetic testing can show who actually makes up a genepool.

helmikuu 7, 2011, 1:19 pm

I have managed to insert a couple of movie choices into my wife's film club purchases. Hopefully these will feed through in the next couple of months....

Mirror (Zerkalo) by Tarkovsky
Passion of Jeanne d'Arc by Dreyer

Any other film recommendations welcome (unknown, eccentric, visionary or all 3 would be nice).

helmikuu 7, 2011, 1:21 pm

As Donald Rumsfeld said, there are known unknowns and unkown unknowns.

helmikuu 7, 2011, 6:51 pm

I have Puck of Pooks Hill on my shelf. I've never read Kipling, being wary of the imperialisims. I recently re-read some Edith Nesbit (her Treasure Seekers books are some of the best children's books of her time) and in it the most offensive attitudes are all the places where the characters refer to Kipling. Still, I want to read him, even for the reasons you give above. Thanks zeno, very interesting.

helmikuu 9, 2011, 1:18 am

98 - He also gives colour to an understanding of the cultural milieu (in the UK and commonwealth at least) leading up to the Great War.

By the way, at the weekend I came across a book written in 1947 which referred to the 1939 - 1945 war as the 'second Great War'. I wonder if that was a common term at the time, hadn't come across it before.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 12, 2011, 1:05 pm

After Nature, WG Sebald.

Sebald's three part poem, running in chronological order from Grunewald, the painter, GW Steller, the botanist, and Sebald himself. This is a prose poem, an interesting format for telling these 3 stories. More limiting than straightforward prose but, never-the-less, an interesting way of squeezing the quirks, inconsistencies and fettered visions out of each remembered life.

From the first piece, on the mysterious Grunewald:

"On the Basel Crucifixion of 1505
behind the group of mourners
a landscape reaches so far into the depths
that our eyes cannot see its limits.
A patch of brown scorched earth,
whose contour like the head of a whale
or an open-mouthed Leviathan
devours the pale green meadow plains
and the marshily shining stretches
of water. Above it, pushed off
to behind the horizon, which step
by step grows darker, more glowering
rise the hills of the prehistory
of the Passion. We see the gate
to the Garden of Gethsemane, the approach
of the henchmen and the kneeling figure of Christ
so reduced in size that in the
receding space the rushing
away of time can be sensed."

Many of WGS's common motifs are already visible in this early book (although a late-comer to his in-english-translation canon): nature burdened by man, various manifestations of 'outer limits' with a blurring of the real and unreal on the edges, all things turned inwards.

helmikuu 14, 2011, 9:53 am

Hi zenomax
I do like the excerpt from After Nature. I have always thought I would like to read some of WG Sebald's stuff, but have never got round to it. Now might be the time and I am wondering whether to start with After Nature or something else. Any recommendations?


Muokkaaja: helmikuu 14, 2011, 5:25 pm

Barry - I think After Nature is a perfectly acceptable starting point. The themes are similar to most of WGS's other books, although the format differs.

It is also a relatively short book.

If you like it, you will have a pleasant number of further Sebald books to read.

One interesting point - although Sebald spent most of his academic life in the UK, and whilst much of his work is inspired by, or directly about East Anglia, all his works (I believe) were published in German and then translated into English.

The translation of my edition of After Nature was reputedly approved by WGS shortly before his death.

helmikuu 15, 2011, 5:06 pm

Akira Rabelais takes on Satie's Gymnopedie No.1.


Slower, slightly out of synch, like the peal of chimes heard underwater, or the sounds Tinkerbell might hear, having awoken from a morphine - induced slumber.

helmikuu 16, 2011, 10:18 pm

100 - Lovely excerpt.

helmikuu 18, 2011, 6:35 am

I should have been working for the last 2 and 1/2 hours, but after posting on a couple of other threads I seem to have got distracted by a passing daydream.

A post on Poquette's thread is to blame - it has got me thinking about Jung again.

So I have dug out an overview which puts J's work in perspective.

Teach yourself Jung, Ruth Snowden.

I like this excerpt on Jung's travels in Africa:

Jung saw so many interesting sights on the long train journey that although his descriptions are vivid, he says that he could not find enough words to describe everything properly to Emma. He was enthralled to stumble upon Roman remains everywhere, and see ancient amphorae for sale in the markets. 'I do not know what Africa is really saying to me', he wrote, 'but it speaks.'

helmikuu 18, 2011, 6:44 am

104 -glad you liked it Jane, it is the second piece of writing around Christ that has really grabbed me recently.

In A Dark Stranger Gracq writes about the interregnum between Christ's rising from the dead and his ascension - a really powerful, evocative piece.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 18, 2011, 8:04 am

Which leads me on to Musil.

From a wonderful blog, http://marcelproust.blogspot.com, a quote from the introduction to an edition of The Confusions of Young Torless:

"As soon as we put something into words, we devalue it in a strange way. We think we have plunged into the depths of the abyss, and when we return to the surface the drop of water on our pale fingertips no longer resembles the sea from which it comes. We delude ourselves that we have discovered a wonderful treasure trove, and when we return to the light of day we find that we have brought back only false stones and shards of glass; and yet the treasure goes on glimmering in the dark, unaltered."

This introduction comes from the writer Maurice Maeterlinck.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 18, 2011, 8:07 am

... and so the trail continues on to Maeterlinck, who I had not come across before.

This MM quote from Wikipedia, pertaining to Othello's jealous rage as sparked by Iago's machinations:

"...is it not perhaps an ancient error to imagine that it is at the moments when this passion, or others of equal violence, possesses us, that we live our truest lives? I have grown to believe that an old man, seated in his armchair, waiting patiently, with his lamp beside him; giving unconscious ear to all the eternal laws that reign about his house, interpreting, without comprehending, the silence of doors and windows and the quivering voice of the light, submitting with bent head to the presence of his soul and his destiny—an old man, who conceives not that all the powers of this world, like so many heedful servants, are mingling and keeping vigil in his room, who suspects not that the very sun itself is supporting in space the little table against which he leans, or that every star in heaven and every fiber of the soul are directly concerned in the movement of an eyelid that closes, or a thought that springs to birth—I have grown to believe that he, motionless as he is, does yet live in reality a deeper, more human, and more universal life than the lover who strangles his mistress, the captain who conquers in battle, or "the husband who avenges his honor."

Very Jung those thoughts, and more than a little of Kis, Proust, Kafka & Musil. An important strain of philosophy for me too. Something I am still coming to terms with.

helmikuu 18, 2011, 10:29 am

zeno, are you familiar with Debussy's opera Peleas and Melissande, based on Maeterlinck's famous play?


helmikuu 18, 2011, 11:49 am

Murr - I am sure I have heard of that opera, but have not heard it. I appear unable to make any connections with opera - it is as distant as another constellation from me. But very interesting that Maeterlinck seems to be far better known than I had presumed.

By the way, when I first read the quote in 107, the line from your Fyodor Tyutchev poem sprang to mind: 'a thought once uttered is untrue'.

helmikuu 18, 2011, 5:51 pm

The opera is difficult; there are no arias, for example. The libretto is essentially the play set to music; adaptation was minimal, so you might want just to read the libretto or play. When I was paying attention to the opera, The Treasure of the Humble came up. I read it and got from it Maetierlinck's notion that mystery is what makes life worth living.


Muokkaaja: helmikuu 19, 2011, 9:48 pm

Zenomax, I think you are trying to sidetrack me with all this talk of Jung! I was putting away my copy of Psychology and Alchemy and noticed Jung and the Story of Our Time by Laurens van der Post. Flipping through it, I came across this comment about Psychology and Alchemy:
. . .though this book appears formidable to the eye of the reader and, with all its necessary and laborious footnotes, fit only for scholars, it is one of the most rewarding books of history I know, easily read and in the end leaving one humble, grateful, and infinitely reassured. Far from difficult, it is a great Homeric epic of the Western spirit and, although obviously not written in heroic couplets, a resounding poetic statement.

And he quotes this little gem from Jung's book:
I sleep and my soul awakens.
Imagination is the star in man.
Thus there is in man a firmament as in Heaven but not of one piece; there are two. For the hand that divided light from darkness and the hand that made Heaven and earth has done likewise in the microcosm below, having taken from above and enclosed within man everything that Heaven Contains.
As the great Heaven stands, so it is implanted at birth.

I may have talked myself into adding this to my TBR. Wanna do a group read? Do you think we'd have any takers? LOL!

BTW, that's quite a quote from Maeterlinck.

ETA to fix spacing.

helmikuu 19, 2011, 7:33 am

Ooh. Some luscious excerpts here.

helmikuu 19, 2011, 10:09 am

Robert - that is certainly a notion to be conjured with: mystery is what makes life worth living.

The rationalist in me would have trouble with such things, but that side is not as dominant as it once was.

Suzanne - I would not want to sidetrack you from your current vein of reading as it is fascinating to follow. Both you and Barry are increasing my education exponentially in that area.

Having said that, I am happy to talk about Jung until the cows come home. Anytime you are ready to just give me a shout. Group read - definitely on for that.

Have you thought of joining Le Salon? Might be one avenue for a group read - they are up for any intellectual challenge/dust up....

amanda - glad you like the excerpts, plenty of food for thought for me too.

helmikuu 19, 2011, 10:20 am

Music I am currently listening to:

Popol Vuh - soundtrack to Aguirre
Butcher Claws - a day up North
AG Geige - Ich bin ihr Boy


I am intrigued by the soft pronunciation of Ich. I know this band originated from the DDR so I wonder if this is an 'Osti' thing?

According to the Wikipedia entry the band influences are Dada, Soviet scifi, and The Residents!!!

helmikuu 19, 2011, 1:14 pm

Zenomax, I'll take you up on that in due course. I'll check out Le Salon, if I can find it. Thanks!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 19, 2011, 5:40 pm

helmikuu 19, 2011, 7:47 pm


Well! I never realised that Popol Vuh did the soundtrack to "Aguirre wrath of God", which used to be one of my favourite movies, but I havn't seen it in a long time. Klaus Kinski alone on that raft at the end - classic stuff. I have a Popol Vuh cd in my vast collection, but I don't think I have ever played it.

I have never heard of Butcher Claws. Am I missing out? I liked the song Ich bin ihr boy, but shame about the video

helmikuu 20, 2011, 3:49 am

Zeno - I found Le Salon. Turns out I posted there once and didn't remember or didn't realize it was what you were talking about. At any rate, there is so much going on there, my head is swimming. Very amusing group!

You and Barry are so far ahead -- I think! -- of me musically. I have no idea what you are talking about! Popol Vuh? Sorry, but I'm stuck in the 18th century. Talk to me about some good old Handel or Mozart, and then we'll be in tune! ;-)

helmikuu 21, 2011, 7:18 pm

*Edited to say that I went to Amazon and sampled some pieces from the soundtrack of Aguirre (which I had also never heard of -- perhaps it didn't make it to this side of the pond or possibly I'm even more out of touch than I had already feared) and I must say, it was not at all what I expected. Perhaps the time has come to broaden me olde horizons . . .

helmikuu 22, 2011, 1:56 pm

~118 Barry - Butcher Claws is from the experimental end of the spectrum I fear - so not to everyone's taste. It comes from an experimental label V/VM. A day up north is sort of a stream of industrial noise (the mills?) overlayed eventually by the plaintive melancholy sound of a brass band - the sounds of a past 'up north' with echoes in the present day?

~ 119;120 Suzanne - there are more things in heaven & earth...

helmikuu 22, 2011, 2:09 pm

Re 93 one of my parabolic enthusiasms for a period was the Crazy Gang. Here is Flanagan & Allen singing in the aftermath of an air raid during WWII.


For some reason, when I watch this, I think of a later iteration. It is the first Gulf War and from inside the Lincoln Memorial emerge Jackson & McCartney to sing The Girl is Mine - with Michael's immortal line "I think I told you Paul,I'm a lover not a fighter..."

The watching crowd are non plussed...

helmikuu 22, 2011, 5:39 pm

Hi zenomax,

The nearest I get to industrial is Rammstein and so I will give Butcher Claws a miss. liked the youtube clip

helmikuu 26, 2011, 12:10 pm

Yes, probably a sound choice Barry.

At this point I think it appropriate to disclose that my favourite tree species is the Elm.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 2011, 12:31 pm

Browsing this book obtained from the library this morning.

The Autobiography of the British Soldier.

It surprised me to find, having been reading a little on WWI, that in point of fact the first modern war was not the Great War but the Boer war. This impression comes from reading the account of Private Thomas Humphreys where his telling of the battle at Spion Kop could have come straight out of Flanders.

"I do not exaggerate when I say that, on reaching the plateau, as we did at last, we were in the thick of a very hell of fire - not rifle fire, but the infinitely more merciless and destructive shell fire. It was terrible to see the havoc which had been wrought already; pitiful to notice the dead, and unendurable to look upon the wounded."

The explanation is that this was the first war where a) modern industrial strength weapons were available, and b) both sides could afford such weapons. As the introduction to this account states:

"Nearly all the myriad wars of Victoria's latter reign were fought against numerous but poorly armed 'natives'. In the Boer War of 1899 to 1902 the British Army got its own taste of modern warfare."

maaliskuu 1, 2011, 5:52 pm

Tall nettles cover up, as they have done
These many springs, the rusty harrow, the plough
Long worn out, and the roller made of stone:
Only the elm butt tops the nettles now.

This corner of the farmyard I like most:
As well as any bloom upon a flower
I like the dust on the nettles, never lost
Except to prove the sweetness of a shower

Edward Thomas

Simple joys or, perhaps, the joy of simplicity.

maaliskuu 1, 2011, 5:56 pm

Ephemera, traces.

The past made real, hurtling through a wormhole to a static point in time and space.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 4, 2011, 3:07 pm

Collected Poems 1914-17 and war diary 1 January - 8 April 1917.

As the introduction points out Thomas was not a war poet but a poet who fought in the war.

From the introduction:

"... his stylistic choices seem always to have been in service not of the poet, nor perhaps even of 'poetry', but rather of those elements of a turning and returning world whose robust yet also delicate and destructible loveliness Thomas wished to witness in the deepest sense, as a communicant."

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 6, 2011, 3:11 pm

Took Labyrinths to the coffee shop for a read.

A reread of 'Kafka and his precursors', which starts with the earliest precursor: Zeno's paradox, where

"a moving object at A ... cannot reach point B, because it must first cover half the distance between the two points, and before that, half of the half, and before that, half of the half of the half, and so on to infinity; the form of this illustrious problem is, exactly, that of The Castle...."

Borges also mentions others, including Kierkegaard and Browning. He concludes:

"In each of these texts we find Kafka's idiosyncrasy to a greater or lesser degree, but if Kafka had never written a line, we would not perceive this quality; in other words, it would not exist." Without Kafka having existed we would have interpreted the texts Borges mentions in a different fashion.

Interesting to note that while reading this I went into a daydream, as one sometimes does. For a brief period I had the notion that the lady talking at the next table was in fact narrating the Borges text. Everything had moved a notch - the by stander had become narrator whereas I had moved onto another plain, above that of Borges' narration. A plateau whereby I could look down, if I wished, on the whole of humanity. Once I came back to the real world, to my senses so to speak, I felt that if I had cared to, I could have grasped the secrets. But now, back in the real world, these were once again out of my grasp.

Well, that at least is the fancy I have, looking back on it.

maaliskuu 6, 2011, 3:21 pm

It's been a while since I read Labyrinths. Each story seems to create something like an out-of-body experience, which is exactly what appears to have happened to you. That momentary understanding where you think you've finally got it -- and then it's gone. Like that. In a whisper. That must be some coffee shop!

maaliskuu 6, 2011, 4:08 pm

Any coffee shop will do if I'm in the right frame of mind.

It is the combination of noise in the background and stimulation of the imagination that creates a kind of dreamstate. Musil knew of such things and tried to explain them scientifically.

So, the transcendent:

What I watched this weekend: Zerkalo (Mirror)


What I have listened to: John Fahey


maaliskuu 6, 2011, 5:47 pm

Hi zenomax

#128 I had got my Thomas's mixed up and thought you were talking about R S Thomas at first. Realising my mistake I quickly discovered the only Edward Thomas poems I have are in a collection called The penguin book of contemporary verse. Contemporary that is when the poems were selected in 1962. I liked his two poems from that selection and so will look out for the collected poems.

#129 & #130. Are you sure you were not in a Brown cafe in Amsterdam?

I enjoyed the John Fahey on youtube.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 9, 2011, 5:20 pm

Barry, I don't believe we have any of those sort of coffee shops in Oxfordshire dear boy.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 9, 2011, 5:28 pm

... which somehow reminds me that I must record a book I saw recently at Blackwell's in Oxford, else it will slip from my mind.

My intent is to suggest to my lovely wife that it might make a tolerably good birthday present.

maaliskuu 9, 2011, 7:04 pm

Ah Oxford. Chief Inspector Morse land

maaliskuu 10, 2011, 2:21 pm

Yes, although I was always more Sweeney than Morse!

maaliskuu 10, 2011, 6:40 pm

maaliskuu 10, 2011, 7:10 pm

Ah! The wonderful Tim Buckley

maaliskuu 12, 2011, 2:51 pm

Re #134 - Missed Blackwells when visiting Oxford a few years ago, neither - sadly - did Inspector Morse appear out of the mist, but did bask in a luminous performance of chamber music at the Sheldonian.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 26, 2011, 1:44 pm

New Impressions of Africa, Raymond Roussel.

Like Alfred Jarry, Roussel was an antecedent and vanguard for Dada and Surrealism. From a very wealthy family, he apparently had no need for common sense or a knowledge of the worth of everyday items. His mind was elsewhere.

New Impressions is, like After Nature an exercise in prose poetry. But in most ways it is quite unlike Sebald's work. Convoluted, parentheses in parentheses, it is nevertheless quite enthralling. Every phrase, even in translation, is mesmerising (I think I read somewhere that Breton described Roussel as a great mesmerist...).

Like the greatest of the dadaist/surrealist poets (Schwitters, Peret, Desnos), Roussel's threads of apparent nonsensical whimsy, when read carefully, become weighty symbols of a hidden world revealed. The world of inanimates about to live, expectancy, the real reasons behind commonplace events. Actuality, as revealed when a thin curtain of 'reality' is removed from our eyes. Perhaps the world Jung was grappling towards, a land of commonly shared unconscious images and motifs. A land imagined, and in some frames of mind lived at one remove. A Proustian land, late sunlight patterning a river, the mystical undercurrent running metres below our feet.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 26, 2011, 1:59 pm

Back after a period of time with no internet access from home. Quite a nice change in reality, more time talking, no PS3 games blaring away, even time to read!!! Real books.

Barry - yes, wonderful indeed.

Suzanne - you are much further advanced down the evolutionary track than me, I've lived in Oxfordshire for over 10 years and do not even know where the Sheldonian is!

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 26, 2011, 2:56 pm


Sheldonian Theatre

It must be in the touristy part of town (Broad Street?). I stayed across from the Ashmolean which was just a short walk. Fabulous acoustics.

New Impressions of Africa sounds intriguing.

BTW, have not received My Heart Laid Bare, ordered soon after we spoke of it.

maaliskuu 26, 2011, 4:46 pm

Oh yes, not far from Blackwells. I always wondered what that building was.

maaliskuu 26, 2011, 4:53 pm

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

maaliskuu 26, 2011, 7:46 pm

Zenomax - welcome back! Raymond Roussel is new to me. I had to look him up on Wiki. Sounds interesting

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 28, 2011, 9:42 am

Actually it is not correct to say Roussel's New Impressions of Africa is a prose poem. Parts are, parts are not. It is however written in a precise, structured way.

maaliskuu 28, 2011, 9:43 am

Minute gods.

The numerous small gods, mischief causers, who usually are ignored or unnoticed by the Olympian gods. When they are noticed there is hell to pay, but then they quickly become forgotten again.

maaliskuu 28, 2011, 9:45 am

Minute gods.

A different set of deities altogether. As the old saying goes, 'let the gods take care of the minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves'.

huhtikuu 9, 2011, 4:52 am

Continuing on with Roussel's New Impressions of Africa which I have been mulling over.

I won't even try to add more on structure, suffice to say it is idiosynratic, even difficult if you like a straightforward linear narrative.

I go back to my theme of a hidden world revealed. There are a few authors who bring this out for me, and they tend to be the authors i take most account of - Proust, Musil, Kis, the more inward looking of the dadaist/surrealists. Or maybe it is something I ascribe to them, but is of my own making? Anyway.

In Roussel there is a long passage of things one, by 'sly enchantment' could mistake for something else:

"...ballast that balloonists pour
Out on departing, for the locked cascade
Inside an hourglass"

"That game dogs feel designed to make them go
Away, for a group of chess's humble white
Pawns that black takes"

"Black chamois horns seen in
A Swiss market, for curved lashes that fall
From fair eyes..."

My favourite;

"... dice in their box, eager
Now to be thrown, for two lumps dropped together
To sugar a cup that's empty..."

Apart from the eccentricity, there is a pencilling in of a world that exists in the background. Is it a world populated by archetypes, in the Jungian sense? Minor ones, of course, like the minor gods inhabiting the surrounds of a village inhabited by animists....

huhtikuu 9, 2011, 2:44 pm

Back in the late '70s I had just returned to San Francisco from a safari in Kenya and Tanzania and saw a notice for a reading from New Impressions of Africa. Apparently I didn't pay much attention to the details, because there were some salient points about said reading that I had missed -- the most prominent being that it was poetry and not a travelogue. As you can imagine, it was a mezmerizing experience, although for reasons totally unanticipated. I recently saw a used copy of the new translation with French and English on facing pages and was tempted, but passed at the time. I understand your fascination with the fanciful juxtaposition of images and the sense that the book you are imbibing may not actually be the one the author wrote!

huhtikuu 11, 2011, 7:56 am

@150 - the other strange thing is it seems to change shape at each new reading....

huhtikuu 11, 2011, 10:48 am

Z, catching up and de-lurking momentarily (and reminding myself, through your thread, of the waiting Proust and the unexplored Musil). Very interesting, regarding Roussel.

huhtikuu 11, 2011, 9:28 pm

yeah zeno, I just realised you don't know I'm in here - I keep up with your thread constantly, but never seem to have anything meaningful to add. Enjoying it as much as ever though!

huhtikuu 11, 2011, 9:33 pm

Not to be copy cat (sorry, Choc!), but I'm here, too. Just not much to say, but taking it all in and enjoying it.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 12, 2011, 12:45 am

fabulous thread. I love it.

Zeno, I just acquired Barthes's The Preparation of the Novel. I saw it in the bookstore, thought, mah, and didn't take it. Later, that night at home in bed, I sat bolt upright, cursing myself and thinking 'Are you crazy? You have to read it!' I went straight back to the store the next day and bought the last copy! I've been dipping in and out of it. Utter bliss. If you get hold of it (hint hint Mrs Z) perhaps we could read it together?

(What is up with that touchstone? Jeeez)

huhtikuu 12, 2011, 12:55 am

Now that I've broken my silence, I have discovered that I have a question. Where should a beginner begin with Barthes?

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 12, 2011, 3:25 pm

How lovely to see such august company here Dan, Teresa & Rena.

Rena - Murr is the expert I think on Barthes. I am only a beginner (I only have his Camera Lucida).

Murr - I continue to hope and pray (in a secular way) for Preparation of the Novel as a birthday present. Unfortunately that means I still have an expectant wait of several weeks yet. But a joint read would be fantastic.

huhtikuu 12, 2011, 3:47 pm

Recently read The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton.

It was leant to me by a colleague at work. Not really my cup of tea, but easy to read. Now I need to return the favour, but not sure what book? I'm leaning towards Militant Modernism or The Poetics of Space to continue the architecture theme. However, when I started to talk about socialist realism (in association with Militant Modernism) I fancied her eyes showed the merest hint of glazing over... So not sure.

She is an INFP which should give me some clues I guess.

huhtikuu 12, 2011, 5:18 pm

If she likes Alain de Botton, she might like The Art of Travel. Not what you expect in a book about travel, but pure de Botton. Works for the armchair traveler especially.

BTW, I just found out I am an INTJ. Just so you know.

huhtikuu 12, 2011, 7:11 pm

What interesting stuff you are reading! And a delightful variety. I think we will all be holding our collective breaths until we hear that you have, on your birthday, received what you desire.:-)

huhtikuu 12, 2011, 10:20 pm

no no I'm not an expert at all, but Barthes is one of my Saints.

choco, I would recommend you start with the Roland Barthes Reader edited with an excellent introduction by Susan Sontag. It comprises selections from all the major works, and will give a taste.

S/Z is probably the best work of literary criticism ever written, but it's ferociously difficult, and not a good place to start. One to work towards, perhaps.

huhtikuu 13, 2011, 3:49 am

Lois - thanks for dropping in and for your kind comments. Hope you can all stand the tension of the wait!

Suzanne - my problem is that I am expected to pass on one of my books - and I do not own any de Botton.

I am not surprised you are an INTJ as your tastes and thought processes seem very similar to mine.

huhtikuu 13, 2011, 7:50 am

I've got A Lover's Discourse on my bookshelf, been eyeing me sideways. Not exactly sure what to do with it, how to approach it. Murr?

huhtikuu 13, 2011, 8:51 am

Hmmm. I've got the Roland Barthes Reader, now I just need the time to read it. Maybe I'll just dip in from time to time, beginning with the Sontag intro. I'd read anything by her.

huhtikuu 13, 2011, 3:33 pm

Zeno - Gaston Bachelard in The Poetics of Space seems to confirm the experience of reading Roussel when he wrote, "Forces are manifested in poems that do not pass through the circuits of knowledge."

huhtikuu 13, 2011, 5:22 pm

Yes, but what manner of forces I wonder?

Nice quote Suzanne.

huhtikuu 13, 2011, 9:57 pm

163: Like anything challenging, citygirl. read it slowly, fragment at a time, don't sweat over the stuff you don't understand at first, but just read on, and contemplate the things you do get, the things that strike you. Gradually, your understanding and appreciation will expand to cover the things that at first you found incomprehensible. Barthes demands a different kind of reading, in my experience, one that relies less on a linear approach, and more of a pointilliste approach.

Make sense?

A Lovers Discourse is a strange book, at first sight too intellectual for a passion as strong as love, but it soon works its spell. At least for me.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 13, 2011, 10:02 pm

>161 tomcatMurr: Thanks Murr. I came across Barthes and Chomsky at uni, but everyone seemed to assume 18y/o me would know what to do with them if they just stuck it in front of me. So it all went over my head rather a lot. My work library has the Barthes Reader... I've requested it, but I don't know if I'll find the time to really get stuck into it. Sad.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 15, 2011, 10:55 am

There are books that I haven't really recorded formally because they are always with me, always within reach.

Here are a few of them:

The Arcades Project - no surprise here, I quote from this liberally.

George Orwell Collected essays, journalism, and letters. First read this when I used to bunk of school and go to the local library for the afternoon (I was really wild as a teenager!). Never really been without these 4 books in 30 odd years.

Franz Kafka complete short stories. Again first read these as a callow youth. Always with me in some form or another.

The Illustrated History of the Countryside, Oliver Rackham. When I was young I wanted to be an archaeologist. Additional to this I have always had a strange depth of feeling about countrysides - particularly the english countryside. Hidden pasts have always fascinated me too. All these things come together in this book.

I'm sure there are several more books that I should bring to prominence in this thread. Let me think about it....

huhtikuu 15, 2011, 1:10 pm

The Aubrey - Maturin series, Patrick O'Brian.

My reading for relaxation. A fully formed, self-contained world carrying across 20 novels. When I read my first I was confused. There appeared to be no themed story with a beginning and end, it was more a time period in the life of this seagoing community.

The key is the relationship between Maturin and Aubrey - two very different people (I think of the anima/animus of Jung here), but with deep mutual respect. Cracking stories, and a richly drawn world where even minor characters and passing animal life have their own distinct personalities.

huhtikuu 15, 2011, 1:33 pm

And so back to current reading:

Early Sorrows, Danilo Kis.

After reading Garden, Ashes last year, Kis has become an important influence.

This book of short stories continues the same themes - the childhood Andi, his mother, his dissolute, eccentric, partly mad father soon to be taken with much of the Jewish side of the family to the concentration camps of middle Europe.

The best story is the first, and shortest at around 500 words. It is an abstract story, beginning:

"In autumn when the winds come up, the leaves of the chestnut tree fall swiftly, stem first. They make a noise like a bird toppling on its beak. But the nut itself falls without the slightest wind, on its own, as stars fall, at breakneck speed."

huhtikuu 15, 2011, 1:52 pm

Ooo I like that zeno. One for my amazon cart sometime.
Interested in you barthes reading, I do not know him, but what the pushy cat said about approaches to reading him made me think of my experience of reading Heidegger, do they compare, do you read Heidegger?

There are so many good books to discover, I'm thinking of writing a poem of loss, for all those I may never know, all those Kis' no one points me to, or who I miss the signpost to in doing other things.

huhtikuu 16, 2011, 12:12 am

Of your four books that are always with you, I have read one, Orwell's Collected Essays -- used to own it but can't find it. Read about The Arcades Project when it came out and Francophile that I am (especially re Paris) I've been meaning to buy it . . .

huhtikuu 16, 2011, 6:59 pm

Hi zeno, I think I must get hold of The Arcades Project In another life I like to think I could have been a Flaneur. I suppose you could be a flaneur in Oxford when all the tourists have gone home.

I have a copy of Kafka's Metamorphosis and other stories which I seem to have owned since my student days and which I re-read periodically. Magical stories.

huhtikuu 17, 2011, 7:08 am

Reading up on enneagrams, I came across a Buddhist concept that sounds interesting

The enlightened quality associated with Fours (sometimes called 'Romantics') is what in Buddhist terminology is called 'insight into emptiness '. In Buddhism, 'emptiness' is a technical term that does not have negative connotations. When it is said that things are fundamentally empty it means that they lack 'inherent independent existence'. The direct experiential appreciation of emptiness is called 'Vipassana' (literally, 'insight') and it is a primary goal of certain forms of 'sitting' practice in meditation. This insight involves a direct appreciation of the mind's capacity for pure awareness, that is - the capacity to experience consciousness without an object.


Insight into emptiness is a fascinating term to me - even before I understood what emptiness meant in Buddhist lore.

Enneagrams have seemed a step too far down the typology path, but I may explore them a little further. I am not a 4 by the way, but the insight part caught my fancy. The mind's capacity for pure awareness....

huhtikuu 17, 2011, 7:28 am

172 Tony - I would like to read such a poem. Publish it on your thread!

I haven't read Heidegger. I have all sorts of topics, ideas, philosophies, half thought out realities and the people associated with them, all on elliptical orbits inside the cavernous outer reaches of my mind - sometimes getting closer, sometimes in the furthest regions. Heidegger is one such (of many!) Do you have any particular observations on him to share T?

huhtikuu 17, 2011, 7:30 am

173 Suzanne - I've been trying to push Arcades to others since I bought it. I think you will like it.

huhtikuu 17, 2011, 7:40 am

174 same goes for you Barry. The flaneur is central to Benjamin's book.

Do you have a favourite Kafka short story? I have a soft spot for Blumfeld, an elderly bachelor as it was the first Kafka I ever read. I like very much the descriptions in Eleven Sons and Trip to a Mine - all 3 make me laugh inwardly a great deal.

The Hunger Artist and First Sorrow perhaps affected me most - really seem to draw on something deep - I see Jung's archetypes here really clearly. Tragedy, pathos and again the inward laughing and the surreality of it all.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 18, 2011, 5:09 am

Zeno, I've read a little Heidegger and get a lot from him. The pussy (not pushy! my mobile's spellchecker could start wars, apologies tomcat) cat's mention of how to approach Barthes reminded me of the approach I need for Heidegger. An introduction to metaphysics is where I started and seems a good place, a short piece written to address students. If you fancy having a little look.
We'll see a) if any such poem does get written and b) whether its ever put-upable for others to see, but thanks for the encouragement.

I like that emptiness quote very much. I fear if I misunderstood emptiness I would lose some loving link with the world, and the misunderstanding seems hard to avoid, so I am wary, and I think this is about that.

Edit ~ I've taken up enough of your thread, but I meant 'what is metaphysics' not the introduction.

huhtikuu 17, 2011, 2:22 pm

>174 baswood:, 178 - Zeno and Barry, presumably you have read The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris by Edmund White. Been a while since I read it, but I seem to recall it was quite evocative.

huhtikuu 17, 2011, 7:28 pm

Zeno, my favourite Kafka story from those that I have read is Investigations of a dog. It is such a sad story: the young dogs' meeting with the seven musical dogs that then lead him to his search for answers that almost lead to him fasting his life away. Looks like I shall have to get a copy of the complete short stories.

Susanne, I have not read the Edmund White book - Oh dear that's another one on my to buy list.

huhtikuu 17, 2011, 11:12 pm

Zeno - I forgot to mention that I'm not familiar with the Enneagrams. I checked on your link but couldn't quite relate, largely due to ignorance. The Buddhist aspect is way out of my league. The typology on the left-hand side, however, intrigues me, as you know. Is there a resource (i.e., book or web site) that you're aware of that explains all that?

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 18, 2011, 5:14 am

I haven't read the Edmund White book either.

Suzanne - it took me 3 years to read up and absorb the Jung personality types. Enneagrams is something to leave for another day....

In terms of personality types - lookup Myers-Briggs Type Indicator on Wikipedia and follow the leads onwards from there. David Keirsey, Linda Berens and Interaction Styles are also worth looking up. And its worth going back to source and read Jung's original work on this too.

Also this site gives some good descriptions of the 16 Myers briggs types:


ETA: corrected site address

huhtikuu 18, 2011, 7:00 am

Vipassana Buddhism is a branch off the main shoot, Theravada, especially focussed on meditation. It takes as its foundation this sutta from Majjhimanikaya in which Buddha talks about the four frames of reference:

Satipatthana MN10

The sutta is very long, and one of the most important (practical?) in the Pali cannon, but it begins and ends with these words,which seem very relevant to Zeno's post in 175:

"'This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said."

huhtikuu 18, 2011, 7:01 am

huhtikuu 18, 2011, 11:38 am

Yes, the Buddhist way seems to be circling me.

My wife goes to the odd Buddhist thing and tells me I am a Buddhist, even if I don't realise it!

Not sure - it is still organised religion to me. Am I wrong?

Thanks Murr - definitely has a lot of good things in its favour.

huhtikuu 19, 2011, 12:09 am

Well, it's not a religion, although it looks like one on the outside, and it's totally disorganised lol.

If it was an organised religion, I personally would have no truck with it.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 24, 2011, 6:12 am

The Volga Rises in Europe, Curzio Malaparte

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 26, 2011, 6:40 am

Malaparte gives us a unique look into the war between Germany and the Soviet Union, as an accredited journalist following just behind the Wehrmacht front line.

Malaparte shows himself an acute observer, but his self serving introduction, and his continued emphasis on typing Russian soldiers as peasant or worker, each 'type' with its own innate characteristics, and his view that this is a mechanised war where people are almost incidental, and his emphasis on bourgeois and proletariat and peasant all makes this seem curiously dated now.

There are two stand out pieces of writing here for me. One a short chapter on the siege of Leningrad where the smoke and colour of fires around that city are seen from the cockpit of a reconnaissance plane from a distance - becoming almost a dream sequence similar to what one might find in Proust. The other a description of Repin's house - just over the Karelian border from Russia - in Finland. Here Repin spent his last exiled years - in an eccentric take on the traditional wooden dacha - within a couple of miles of his homeland.

huhtikuu 26, 2011, 10:28 am

Very interesting Z.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 27, 2011, 4:08 am

Thanks Dan.

As mentioned before, I was after Malaparte's fictionalised version of this same wartime experience, Kaputt - but only managed to obtain a library copy in French (unbeknown until I got it home and opened it up)!

I've had a quick search through the internet and came across a book review of Kaputt at this site:


Interrestingly the reviewer also draws a parallel with Proust. I think he also touches on why I have difficulty with Malaparte as an author:

"His almost complete inability to sympathise or to identify with the victims renders it extremely sinister."

Given that the 'victims' in both his fictionalised and non fictional books are real people, this is a problem that cannot be overlooked.

Having said that, I will read Kaputt at some stage. It is by all accounts an exceptional book.

huhtikuu 27, 2011, 8:10 am

...The cocoanuts thrown by the melancholy monkey
Fall like spittle into the water...

Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Sliding Trombone.
(trans. David Gascoyne)

huhtikuu 28, 2011, 5:42 pm

... if we fall others are rising...


huhtikuu 28, 2011, 5:49 pm

huhtikuu 28, 2011, 6:13 pm

The difference is in the difference.

huhtikuu 29, 2011, 5:48 pm

Not surreal but slapstick

huhtikuu 29, 2011, 5:53 pm

Catching up here. Interesting comments of late. I must get a copy of The Arcades Project. We read some portions in grad school, but I haven't gotten to the entire piece yet. Thanks for the reminder.

toukokuu 7, 2011, 10:03 am

Now surreal slapstick, Bas - that would indeed be something to ponder upon!

Jane - yes you must get a copy.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 7, 2011, 10:22 am

"Owing to the small imports of tea during the last few months, considerable inroads have been made in the stocks held in this country. On the other hand, the stocks of coffee are high.

Now it is not suggested that there can be any universal substitution of coffee for tea; national habits are the growth of years, and they cannot be altered in a few weeks. But a partial substitution is possible. There are many occasions when coffee can be drunk instead of tea.

Again, much economy can be observed in the making and consumption of tea. Teapots are often sent away with unused tea in them; and at the present time it is much better that a few people should go short of the extra half-cup of tea, than that many people should waste a great many cupfuls. Any saving in this direction means the liberation of a considerable quantity of tea, and tea, it must be remembered, is essential for the fighting army abroad."

National Food Journal, Sept 26, 1917.

Quoted in Human Documents of the Lloyd George Era.

toukokuu 7, 2011, 10:31 am

"The things I tell you will not be wrong."

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 7, 2011, 11:17 am

This song is interesting - I have come across it twice now whilst following erstwhile musical paths elsewhere.


It appears to have a cuckoo motif running throughout, which in my mind automatically binds it to these two songs:



toukokuu 7, 2011, 1:16 pm

Hi zeno, #199 This was a time before teabags. I'll have you know that I am doing my bit for the war effort by using tea bags twice.

I like those lowdown deadpan vocals on the Angels of light track. I have got a few CD's by the Swans and when I searched my database of mp3's I found I had the Angels of light "We Are Him" CD I'll get round to playing that soon.

Good links

toukokuu 7, 2011, 3:26 pm

>201 zenomax: love your third link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcrKIMf6sJo
In fact, I've listened to it several times while catching up on threads here; very fresh.

Then I listened as conducted by Tai Wai Li; thicker, jammy-er:

Might have to move Copland's What to Listen for in Music up in the TBR pile.

toukokuu 7, 2011, 4:06 pm

Bas - good to see you are following the tea conservation path set down in 1917.

Also nice to know the 'we know what's best' nannying of the second war was just as prevalent in the great war.

dm - I'm not big on orchestral or symphonic music asd a rule. Generally, the less instruments involved the more I am likely to be interested. However, I do love all things pastoral. Any music by RVW, Grainger, or this piece from Delius.

I thought the Beecham piece was wonderful, the best I have heard. But then your Tai Wai Li seemed great as well. I think I just love the music in whatever variation. I've tried to find my CD to see who it was by - b ut cannot for the momnet. Ho hum.

toukokuu 8, 2011, 11:11 pm

Despite the 'we know best' nannying, I like it. Much more straightforward than the emotional manipulation of climate-change advertising now. This 1917 version, IMO, says 'yes, we know best, but work with us, okay?'.


Let it be noted that I'm there with with all the climate change stuff, I just like this 1917 method.

toukokuu 9, 2011, 4:09 am

Agree absolutely Rena. The current holier than thou attitude just puts me off. And I don't believe everything they tell us. I take my lead from James Lovelock (on the whole - he's not always right) in these matters.

toukokuu 9, 2011, 8:50 am

#200 - Thanks for clarifying. Also, love that bit from 1917.

#205/205 - I think I'm one of those who believe what they say about climate change...my concern is not the alarmists, but the ignorists - my country's politicians.

toukokuu 9, 2011, 9:31 am

Murr, sorry for late response. Thank you for suggesting an approach to A Lover's Discourse. I will approach it with an empty mind, as much as possible.

toukokuu 20, 2011, 12:10 am

Zeno, I found a copy of The Arcades Project on sale today – what a tome! Thanks to you for mentioning it as it was previously unknown to me. Not at all what I expected but I look forward to exploring it. Last week I happened to find Benjamin's Illuminations available for my Kindle, which I have begun but probably won't get into seriously for a bit. A couple of other books are higher priority just now. It has an amazing intro by Hannah Arendt which I've mostly read now. His suicide was a big surprise. Anyway, thanks for your recommendation.

toukokuu 20, 2011, 1:16 pm

Suzanne - you are welcome. So glad you now have these two books. Looking forward to comparing thoughts on them.

WB has interestging things to say about (amonst other things) Proust and Kafka in Illuminations. And TAP has a LOT on Baudelaire.

toukokuu 20, 2011, 1:45 pm

Zeno – as I mentioned, TAP is a huge surprise – in addition to being huge. Didn't quite anticipate the Baudelaire, Proust and Kafka. It's going to be quite a ride.

Right now I'm getting into The Art of Memory, which is mind-blowing. More about that later.

toukokuu 20, 2011, 1:58 pm

Yes, I must get around to The Art of Memory. The bits I have read look wonderful in an obtuse, eccentric, hidden corner of history sort of way.

I don't have the dedication to the cause that you have in reading. However, I can fall back on your erudite summary when it is produced in due course. Almost better than reading the book.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 24, 2011, 1:56 pm

"I'm a fifty year old man
What you gonna do about it?"


toukokuu 24, 2011, 2:49 pm

Are congratulations in order zeno. I can hardly think of a better way to celebrate than listening to the truly wonderful Fall

toukokuu 24, 2011, 5:12 pm

I'm not sure congratulations are in order Bas, but as of tomorrow...

toukokuu 24, 2011, 8:19 pm

Happy birthday to you, zeno. Here's a fairly snazzy cake for you (it looks like it's made of wood, but I think it's really chocolate):

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 24, 2011, 8:48 pm


toukokuu 24, 2011, 11:47 pm

Happy Birthday!!

toukokuu 25, 2011, 4:22 pm

Hope you had a Happy Birthday!

toukokuu 25, 2011, 5:06 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you....

It was nice. Also, the book I wished for, The Preparation of the Novel, duly materialised.

toukokuu 25, 2011, 5:10 pm

Congratulations on both counts -- the birthday and the book!

toukokuu 27, 2011, 5:55 am

'No one,' Pascal once said, 'dies so poor that he does not leave something behind.' Surely it is the same with memories too - although these do not always find a n heir.

Walter Benjamin, 'The Storyteller', in Illuminations. Picked this up again when Suzanne mentioned she had bought it. Benjamin has been one of my key influences these last few years.

toukokuu 27, 2011, 3:56 pm

Haven't gotten to "The Storyteller" yet. Just read the amusing "Unpacking My Library" last evening. Enjoyed his excursion into the various methods of acquiring books -- most of which resonated.

toukokuu 30, 2011, 6:37 pm

Zeno – I'm working my way slowly through Illuminations, having gotten through Hannah Arendt's lengthy introduction and the next three essays, including "The Storyteller." I was totally charmed by the essay on "Unpacking My Library" (as noted above), found the essay on "The Task of the Translator to be rather opaque and, in fact, rather offputting to me, at least, was his initial statement that the receiver/reader was unimportant when considering a work of art/literature.

But "The Storyteller" is an entirely different kettle of fish. Something about this piece is strangely energizing and full of interesting observations. I had never heard of Nikolai Leskov and am sorry so little of his work is available in English. I'm going to have to read "The Storyteller" again. It's quite intoxicating. But first, on to the rest of the book.

kesäkuu 1, 2011, 6:10 pm

"Kafka described with wonderful imaginative power the future concentration camps, the future instability of the law, the future absolutism of the state Apparat".


Walter Benjamin I seem to recall said something along similar lines.

kesäkuu 1, 2011, 6:12 pm

224 S. Benjamin can work a spell with his judicious use of language and his joining up of seemingly disconnected ideas.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 2, 2011, 3:24 am

Measurements of inexactitude....

kesäkuu 3, 2011, 5:37 pm

Benjamin on Kafka - the modern world is conveyed to him via the mystical tradition, which is a carrier of wisdom rather than literal truth.

This allows him to experience a world which is both 'frequently of such playfulness and interlaced with angels', and yet also 'the exact complement of his era which is preparing to do away with the inhabitants on a considerable scale. The experience which corresponds to that of Kafka, the private individual, will probably not become accessible to the masses until such time as they are being done away with.'

This was written in 1938.

The nightmare quality of Kafka's visions, and the obstinate clarity of Benjamin's, make me think they had premonitions of that which neither lived to see..

kesäkuu 3, 2011, 6:19 pm

Wow! That's heavy. Alas, Kafka is still largely unknown to me, with the exception of Metamorphosis, which is so overexposed at this point that I can hardly use it to render an opinion. I really need to get a hold of his stories. It's sentences like this from Benjamin that really pique my interest:

Kafka's work is an ellipse with foci that are far apart and are determined, on the one hand, by mystical experience (in particular, the experience of tradition) and, on the other, by the experience of the modern big-city dweller.

kesäkuu 4, 2011, 4:29 am

Yes, I liked that quote too.

WB appears to suggest that understanding Kafka is key to understanding his century (the 20th) just as understanding Baudelaire unlocked the 19th century.

kesäkuu 4, 2011, 4:56 am

And so to the other side of the coin, as it were.

In Campo Santo W G Sebald's final collection of essays and writings, he has a piece which seems to have been the source for his larger work On the Natural History of Destruction.

This shorter piece, 'Between History and Natural History: On the Literary Description of Total Destruction', looks at the destroyed German cities at the end of the Third Reich - the cityscapes of Sebald's boyhood. He wonders why such a fissure in the experience of living was so little talked about - in particular why German writers of the next 20 years did not refer to that thing which physically no one could ignore. Psychologically there seemed to be a collective decision not to discuss, not to look back on what had been, or what it meant.

As I read through to the end of this piece I'll post a little more.

kesäkuu 8, 2011, 10:08 am

Nothing is proven.
Everything is provisional.

kesäkuu 12, 2011, 6:07 am

Blau. Die Rote Farbe. Die Gelbe Farbe. Die Dunkelgrune. Die Himmel ELLENO.

Blue. The colour Red. The colour Yellow. The Dark Green. The sky ELLENO.

Ernst Herbeck quoted in Sebald, Campo Santo

kesäkuu 12, 2011, 6:28 am

great stuff on this thread. Zeno, congrats on your birthday and getting the Barthes! It was a great great pleasure meeting you at Hay. I found lots of JCP shortly afterwards. Did you manage to find your way out of the stacks at the cinema bookshop? What a place!
Sebald looks like someone I need to read.

Are you familiar with the Angelus Novus?

kesäkuu 12, 2011, 7:12 am

TCM so very pleased to have met you at Hay.

I found the 'books in translation' aisle on the first floor of the ciname bookshop (books tgranslated into english, signposted at the end of the shelving by photos of Proust and Pessoa. Spend a good half hour in that one aisle.

I only know of the painting, a Klee, not of the angelus novus - is there a story to it?

kesäkuu 12, 2011, 7:31 am

"A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."

Walter Benjamin
Theses on the Philosophy of History

kesäkuu 12, 2011, 1:07 pm

Yes, great piece of writing. I think I had an idea there was a connection with Benjamin, but was unclear on the detail.

kesäkuu 13, 2011, 6:34 pm

I just happened to read that passage from Illuminations a couple of days ago. Afraid that essay was a bit opaque for me.

In another part of the book, however, in the Baudelaire piece, Benjamin discusses the poem "Correspondences" which has long been a favorite. Reading it yet again in the aftermath of Yates' Art of Memory, I'm seeing it in a wholly new light. The question arose in my mind: Did Baudelaire know about the memory palaces (a temple whose living pillars / Sometimes give forth a babel of words) used by the ancient Greeks, reported on by Cicero and adapted by the Renaissance Hermeticists? One can read that poem in that light, and thus we have yet another correspondance.

I also found some resonance with Powys in this poem as well. So those correspondences go on and on.

kesäkuu 14, 2011, 3:42 pm

"Man walks within these groves of symbols, each
of which regards him as a kindred thing...."

Suzanne, Although I can't find any confirmation on CB's knowledge of the hermetic traditions around memory, it does not at all feel out of the question.

kesäkuu 14, 2011, 3:47 pm

Baudelaire's topics:

- nervous irritability of the individual devoted to solitude
- abhorrence of the human condition and the need to confer dignity upon it through religion or through art
- love of debauchery in order to forget or punish oneself
- passion for travel, for the unknown, for the new
- predilection for whatever gives rise to thoughts of death (twilight, autumn, dismal scenes)
- adoration of the artificial
- complaceny in spleen

Edmond Jaloux quoted in The Arcades Project.

kesäkuu 14, 2011, 3:51 pm

"Baudelaire, who never founded a family, has given the word 'familiar' in his poetry an inflection filled with meaning and with promise such as it never before possessed. It is like a slow, heavily laden haywagon in which the poet carts to the barn everything which throughout his life he had to renounce.

Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project

kesäkuu 16, 2011, 4:33 pm

Hoping to get to The Arcades Project soon.

kesäkuu 17, 2011, 9:12 am

241> oh wow. fabulous that.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 20, 2011, 12:16 pm

Spent the weekend in London, overnighting at my step daughter's flat in Putney.

On Saturday we travelled just off Finchley Road to visit the Freud Museum. Run by eccentric enthusiasts (in the same way as Dimbola, the home of Julia Margaret Cameron). This always makes it much more enjoyable, no corporate message a la National Trust or English Heritage.

I was going to ask in the museum shop whether they stocked any books by Jung - but thought better of it! Didn't want to start a riot....

Interesting to see that the office/library had a shelf full of Thomas Mann (with Joseph & his brothers, & Buddenbrooks looming large. Another shelf held the two Zweigs - Arnold & Stefan)

The best bit for me was SF's desk. On it there were a number of statues of gods, fertility symbols etc. Behind these was placed a seat for visitors. Behind that seat was a shelf with larger gods, statues, busts etc. So, in effect, a visitor seated at the seat in front of SF's desk would blend into a sea of numerous other (inert) faces.

I wonder why Freud did this - was he shy of talking directly face to face with other real people? (When psychoanalysing, his chair was behind the sofa where the patient reclined - the patient could thereby not see SF).

Or did he just like to see humans as part of a greater world which included inanimate representations of the human psyche?

I wonder what Jung would have made of it? Archetypes, anyone?

kesäkuu 20, 2011, 5:58 pm

Zeno, delightful report of your brush with Freud.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 24, 2011, 11:08 am

Thank you Suzanne. I found it an interesting day.

Schwitters and the Ursonate:

One of Schwitters' lifelong projects (the other being the merzbau). Based on Raoul Hausmann's 'fmsbw', but broadened out into the form of a classical sonata '... organized in four movements, with a prelude and a cadenza in the fourth movement...'.

Schwitters 'treated the poem like everything else he encountered, as a found object.'

KS viewed the Ursonate as a piece that could only reveal itself in recital, the representation on the printed page could not show it to its full potency.

'Additionally, Schwitters imbued some of the written text with a decidedly performative, enunciatory dimension, like the exclamation "Ich liebe dir" in Cherry Picture, reminding us that sound and thought are as inseperable as the two sides of a coin.'

ETA above quotes taken from Dada, Leah Dickerman.

I believe that, for Schwitters, traces of the everyday could be used as obscure maps of who and what we are, obtuse measures of a point in time on our journey. The Ursonate, I think, was a running commentary on this journey.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 24, 2011, 3:11 am

Kurt Schwitters, Cherry Picture

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 24, 2011, 11:30 am

Which leads me on to Nabokov. In Speak, Memory, which I have been browsing this week, he writes:

'As far back as I can remember myself (with interest, with amusement, seldom with admiration or disgust), I have been subject to mild hallucinations. Some are aural, others are optical, and by none have I profited much. The fatidic accents that restrained Socrates or egged on Joaneta Darc have degenerated with me to the level of something one happens to hear between lifting and clapping down the receiver of a busy party line telephone. Just before falling asleep, I often become aware of a kind of one-sided conversation going on in an adjacent section of my mind, quite independently from the actual trend of my thoughts. It is a neutral, detached anonymous voice, which I catch saying words of no importance to me whatever.... This silly phenomenon seems to be the auditory counterpart of certain praedormitary visions, which I also know well....The come and go, without the drowsy observer's participation, but are essentially different from dream pictures for he is still master of his senses. They are often grotesque. I am pestered by roguish profiles, by some coarse-featured and florid dwarf with a swelling nostril or ear. At times, however, my photoisms take on a rather soothing flou quality, and then I see - projected, as it were, upon the inside of the eyelid - gray figures walking between beehives, or small black parrots gradually vanishing among mountain snows, or a mauve remoteness melting beyong moving masts.'

This is how things operate for me too. Although the words are banal, they link in (in their flat ordinariness, but in strange combinations or, perhaps, said in strange contexts) to the works of Schwitters, or of Peret in my mind. Half way to Kafka perhaps.

Banal, everyday, but situationally absurd.

The one thing I would add, for me, is that at these times I can also have breakthrough moments when the path to previously insoluble or difficult issues suddenly becomes clear to me. Odd.

kesäkuu 24, 2011, 11:33 am

Nabokov goes on to talk of his 'coloured hearing' . . this I cannot claim to have, although I would love to experience it. Nabokov desribes, for example, how 'The long a of the English alphabet...has for me the tint of weathered wood, but a French a evokes polished ebony.'

kesäkuu 24, 2011, 5:47 pm

Interesting stuff as usual zeno about Schwitters and the Dada-ists. I know you have a particular liking for that period of art(in the widest sense) history. I have never heard of the ursonate

kesäkuu 24, 2011, 6:04 pm

kesäkuu 24, 2011, 6:50 pm

now I understand.

kesäkuu 25, 2011, 6:34 am

Sorry to say that until this moment, Schwitters was totally off my radar screen. The videos were unique, to say the least.

kesäkuu 30, 2011, 5:25 pm

252, 253: Schwitters has been with me since my teens. He contributes, in part, to how I view the world.

kesäkuu 30, 2011, 5:36 pm

KS on the Merzbau:

"I am building an abstract (cubist) sculpture into which people can go. From the direction and movements of the constructed surfaces, there emanate imaginary planes which act as directions and movements in space and which intersect each other in empty space. The suggested impact of the sculpture is based on the fact that people themselves cross these imaginary planes as they go into the sculpture. It is the dynamic of the impact that is especially important to me."

As with all his art, Schwitters used ephemera and everyday objects.

"Erotic misery," for Scwitters, describes the Kantian sublime, the experience of one's separation from the natural world and the simultaneous recognition of one's autonomy.

Dada, Leah Dickerman.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 30, 2011, 5:49 pm

Schwitters called one part of the Merzbau construct the Cathedral of Erotic Misery...

Kurt Schwitters

kesäkuu 30, 2011, 5:47 pm

Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made.

F Kafka

kesäkuu 30, 2011, 6:15 pm

"The attempts that have been made, during the last three hundred years, to grasp the psyche are all part and parcel of that tremendous expansion of knowledge which has brought the universe nearer to us in a way that staggers the imagination."

C G Jung, On the nature of the psyche

heinäkuu 1, 2011, 6:35 am

Expansion of knowledge, the ongoing search for the sublime, the wish for progress....

But what is progress. And how will we know it if we see it?

heinäkuu 1, 2011, 8:04 am

I need further explanation #258 how has that "tremendous expansion of knowledge which has brought the universe nearer to us in a way that staggers the imagination" manifested itself

My own view is the more we know the less we know, we know.

Have I missed the point here?

heinäkuu 1, 2011, 9:03 am

You've lost me totally with Schwitters, but I'm lurking nonetheless. I love the animation.

Bas, isn't that Aristotle's Paradox of Enquiry?

heinäkuu 1, 2011, 4:20 pm

On the other hand we know stuff about the origin and structure of the universe that scientists starting from scratch in several billion years will never be able to figure out. On the third hand what we know we have come to only recently; it was unimaginable to the ancients.


heinäkuu 1, 2011, 9:27 pm

Somehow I think it is all cyclical . . .

heinäkuu 2, 2011, 12:22 am

>234 tomcatMurr:

The (rather unknown) Dutch author Klaus Siegel has written a book in which the Angelus Novus plays an important role as the guardian angel of a Jew throughout his life, during and after the holocaust. However, I do not think it likely that the novel De nieuwe engel will be translated into English. Siegel also quotes the reference to the Angelus Novus in Walter Benjamin.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 2, 2011, 7:38 am

Yes, my string of posts is probably a little non linear and obtuse, even for me.

I was trying to follow a line of thought in my own mind, and always find it beneficial to my thinking to post thoughts as they come into my head. But for you poor blighters it can be tough going sorting the wheat from the chaff! Apologies.

Murr - Schwitters is more than just sound poems, his Merzbau, his paintings (collages of found objects), and his other poetry all orbit around an understated, almost unstated view of the world. It was this I was trying to understand.

Bas - Jung is with you on this point. He was saying that we have made strides in understanding the physical workings of the world, but perhaps at the expense of the earlier metaphysical understanding of the way of things. Jung, Balzac, and Berlin (Isaiah not Irving - although the latter would have been quite interesting too) writing on Tolstoy all clarified this for me over recent times.

Robert - a nice encapsulation of things as usual - the bit about being unimaginable to the ancients is interesting. Where we are now was so far out of their ken that they did not even have the ability to imagine it. It just wasn't part of their worldview in any shape or form. Which leads me to wonder what is the long term future going to hold that we cannot even imagine? And what does that mean for human understanding - will we always be learning new things that we could not have imagined in prior generations? And what does that tell us the workings of the universe...?

Suzanne - I'm also seduced by the thought of things being circular. Didn't Nietsczhe have something to say on that?

Edwin - nice to se you here. The Angelus Novus is something I want to find out more about. You also seem to have the advantage of having access to books in a number of languages - there must be so much important knowledge stuffed away in books in languages other than our own.

As for Kafka - should we even believe in progress? Should we all become small 'c' conservatives, seeking to preserve a prior age, when we knew what things were, and what their value was?

heinäkuu 2, 2011, 7:59 am

amor fati?

heinäkuu 2, 2011, 8:03 am

And here is the backing track to my thoughts.


heinäkuu 2, 2011, 8:44 am

Hey zeno. Thanks for turning mo on to the music by The Caretaker. great stuff and that video is excellent.

Cela est bien dit, repondit Candide. mais il faut cultiver notre jardin.

heinäkuu 2, 2011, 1:57 pm

268 as you someone appears to be thinking of doing in your post on your own thread, Bas......

heinäkuu 2, 2011, 2:01 pm


Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 2, 2011, 2:13 pm

The Caretaker aka Leyland Kirby is a favourite of mine.

Some of his work can be self indulgently melancholy, but his aim is to capture something of memory, forgetting and loss. Philosophically right up my street.

And the imaginary landscapes he builds are often very nice indeed.

His Lacuna Amnesia unspools and replays in my head daily.

heinäkuu 2, 2011, 2:31 pm

Zeno — the lol was for your comment re Barry's latest addition to his thread (just so there's no misunderstanding).

I just spent the last twenty minutes listening to various Caretaker tracks on youtube. Now I get what you are talking about. My favorite of the ones I listened to is Emptiness, which is anything but. This is all new to me. Thanks!


heinäkuu 2, 2011, 4:42 pm

Glad you liked it Suzanne. Usually my musical tastes are even further removed from reality than my literary tastes. Consequently I get little sympathy when I try to play them.

heinäkuu 2, 2011, 5:23 pm

Nice one Suzanne - Excellent link

heinäkuu 3, 2011, 10:31 am

>264 edwinbcn:
how infuriating! Can't we start a clamour to get it translated?

heinäkuu 4, 2011, 8:08 am

>275 tomcatMurr: Go ahead. I left my copy at the University of Fuzhou.

heinäkuu 6, 2011, 2:47 pm

Listened to an interesting podcast about the esoteric (as opposed to scientific) side of Jung.

One thing that struck me was the apparent influence of the neoplatonists on Jung. In fact the collective subconscious seems quite close to neoplatonist world soul concepts.

One of the Podcast speakers also argued that neoplatonism had been sidelined by the Enlightenment when reason and science were introduced, and hence is now something of an underground - even occult movement.

He referred to Jung as a mystic - following in a tradition which others had forged before him.....

Interesting view.

heinäkuu 6, 2011, 4:31 pm

That sounds reasonable to me zeno. I am with the enlightenment. That's not to say I don't have some sympathy with the neoplatonists views, its just that they don't make an awful lot of sense.

heinäkuu 6, 2011, 5:46 pm

I've always been with the enlightenment too - but I am getting a little bored with it, I find.

heinäkuu 6, 2011, 5:47 pm

Inactive worlds...

heinäkuu 6, 2011, 8:39 pm

heinäkuu 7, 2011, 1:33 am

>277 zenomax: - Zeno, that all squares with my understanding. And according to the dictionary definition of "mystic," I think that assessment of Jung is pretty accurate. Of course, Jung used a different vocabulary, but it pretty much amounts to the same thing. Just curious, who was talking on your podcast?

heinäkuu 7, 2011, 3:28 am

Suzanne - here is a link. Not sure if you can pick up the podcast as it is Uk based. But Gary Lachman seems an interesting character. He has published several books on the esoteric influence in the west.


heinäkuu 7, 2011, 3:11 pm

Thanks for the link, Zeno! It downloaded perfectly. I'll listen to it shortly.

I believe it was slick in Le Salon mentioned Lachman to me in connection with my readings in esoterica, but I have not followed up yet. So I shall listen with great interest to this podcast.

heinäkuu 7, 2011, 5:18 pm

Yes, slick is a man of many parts.

heinäkuu 8, 2011, 11:36 am

This thread has now reached the magic number of 286 postings, and so will begin a closing down process, according to the relevant protocols.

heinäkuu 11, 2011, 2:33 am


It still works...

heinäkuu 11, 2011, 3:32 am

Rena - you have not only shattered the illusion, but have also breached the magic number of postings.

The next magic number is 319 - not sure whether we can reach that number of postings in a dead thread.....