Michael Richardson discusses how literature can help shed new light on our understanding of torture, trauma, and affect
Michael Richardson, Gestures of Testimony (Bloomsbury, 2016)
Michael Richardson, Gestures of Testimony (Bloomsbury, 2016)

How did you come to write Gestures of Testimony?

One of Barack Obama’s first acts as President was to declassify the Torture Memos of the Bush Administration. Suddenly, the architecture of American torture was visible to an extent that it had never been before. At the time, I was working as a speechwriter in Canada for Jack Layton, who was then the leader of the New Democratic Party, and watching very closely what was happening across the border. I became obsessed with how torture was articulated and authorised, and even more so with the effect it had on both survivors and perpetrators. I’ve always understood the world through writing and literature, so I wanted to understand torture in that context too. That led me to a PhD on torture, literature and politics, and from there to writing Gestures of Testimony. (more…)

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Q&A with the new President of the Samuel Beckett Society
Daniela Caselli
Daniela Caselli

I recently caught up with Daniela Caselli to chat about her new role as President of the Samuel Beckett Society, an international organization of scholars, students, directors, actors and others who share an interest in the writer’s work. I asked how she first encountered Beckett’s writing, and what she sees as the next step for the Society moving forward:

“My entire career has been shaped by Beckett’s work. As a first year student I took an amazing course on modernism, with a focus on Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett, taught by Carla Locatelli. It was a revelation, and I never looked back.”

When asked about her plans for the Society going forward, she replied: ‘I aim to develop a Society that is as inclusive as possible, and to develop themes and priorities that reflect the great diversity of the Beckett community.’

You can read our exchange in full at samuelbeckettsociety.org.

Curating some of the best recent links across literature, philosophy, and the arts
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Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures, designed by Peter Saville.

discover-badge-circle-rhystranter-comA selection of the articles, reviews, interviews and miscellany that have caught my eye this week. Highlights include: an interview with President Barack Obama on his life as a reader and writer; the late Mark Fisher’s discussion of post-punk group Joy Division; a free Yale course on the American Novel since 1945; and much more.
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Curating some of the best recent links across literature, philosophy, and the arts
Elisabeth Moss in the Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale
Elisabeth Moss in the Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

discover-badge-circle-rhystranter-comIn the first weekly-round up of the year, a selection of the articles, reviews, interviews and miscellany that have caught my eye. Including: a premiere date for Hulu’s adaptation of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale; J.R.R. Tolkien’s grandson on one of the key influences on The Lord of the Rings; tributes pour in for the late art critic John Berger; Karl Marx’s favourite London haunts; and much more.
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Curating some of the best recent links across literature, philosophy, and the arts
Carrie Fisher portrays Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars franchise
Carrie Fisher portrays Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars franchise

discover-badge-circle-rhystranter-comIn the final weekly-round up of the year, a selection of the articles, reviews, interviews and miscellany that have caught my eye this holiday season. Including: reflections on the legacy of actress and screenwriter Carrie Fisher; an interview with Bethany Rose Lamont, whose print journal Doll Hospital uses art and literature to explore mental health issues; 2016’s most essential jazz reissue; and much more.
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