Author of Wittgenstein Jr and the Spurious trilogy of novels describes Bernhard’s devilish sensibility

Thomas Bernhard is a kind of figurehead for many authors, I think. I’m reminded of what Henry Rollins said of Mark E Smith in a documentary about The Fall:

He really is that guy you really hoped you could be. If you were in a band, you really don’t want to care what people think, but you do. And you really want to crank out a record every nine months, but you can’t. And you’d love to keep surprising people and baffling your critics by every third album turning out your best music.

Bernhard’s reclusiveness from the literary scene, his intransigence, the barbed acceptance speeches he gave for literary prizes, make him an exemplar. He just doesn’t care what the literary world thinks. At the same time, he writes and writes, one masterpiece following on the heels of another. (more…)

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Lara Feigel reviews Peter Boxall’s new book about the relevance of the novel in the 21st century

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In his 1925 essay, “Why the Novel Matters”, DH Lawrence celebrated the novel as the “one bright book of life”. According to him, the novelist alone understands that there is as much life in the hand that writes as in the mind that thinks. Where science and philosophy privilege mind over matter, turning man into a “dead man in life”, the novel resurrects the “whole man alive”. Lawrence acknowledged that books do not constitute life, but insisted that they were “tremulations on the ether” that could make the whole man alive tremble into urgent being.

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I am very curious to see The Revenant since hearing it was filmed almost entirely using natural light. [Read More]

The late great philosopher of logic and life makes an appearance on social media
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Ludwig Wittgenstein
If you are looking for New Year’s inspiration, the austere Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein might not be the best place to look. But then, on the other hand, perhaps he is. Dr Wittgenstein is gradually amassing an online repository of the man’s wisest words, compiling quotations recorded in his work, or remembered by students, colleagues and friends. The quotes reflect not only Wittgenstein’s ethical questions about how to live a good life, but also demonstrate his sense of humour. What follows are a small selection of Dr Wittgenstein‘s tweets, but you can click here for more.

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Thirty-Two Modern Writers Share Aphorisms of Insight, Inspiration, and Wit
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Charles Simic

An excerpt from the publisher’s press release:

A unique anthology that draws together the work and musings of our leading pioneers of short-form writing, this book features writers who take this time-honored literary form to new heights. Concise, wise, and sometimes terse or humorous, aphorisms are short phrases that are often instructional or moralistic. With a brief introductory piece from each author and a generous sampling of each individual’s particular take on the aphorism, the reader is presented with a vast trove of wit, wisdom, insight, and inspiration, as well as new ways to look at language, words, and writing. From “Nothing dirtier than old soap” to “He doesn’t need imagination—he’s got money,” the writers expound upon their favorite adages. The contributors range from prize-winning poets Charles Simic and Stephen Dobyns to bestselling authors like James Geary, David Shields, and experimental writers such as Olivia Dresher and Yahia Lababidi. Short Flights is sure to intrigue and delight all lovers of literature, language, and wordplay. [Read More]