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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Samuel Beckett. Photograph: Jane Bown.
An announcement from Tullow Parish Carrickmines:

The 1969 Nobel Literature Prize winner, Samuel Beckett, had a strong connection with Tullow Church. His mother was a faithful member of our Parish Church and the young Samuel used to regularly attend with her Sunday by Sunday. These, and other local experiences, were ultimately woven into many of his later works.

Plans are now well advanced in celebrating this link with Tullow Church and it is proposed to hold a “Beckett Evening” on Saturday 5th March 2016. This event will employ the talents of well-known professional actors as they present ‘tasters’ of Beckett’s novellas and plays and a narrator will demonstrate the links between the Church and locality with the works themselves.

Tickets (which are due to go on sale in January) may be booked through a link on the Parish Website from January: beckettinfoxrock.wordpress.com. [Read More]

I am delighted to have an article included in the prestigious Beckett periodical, Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui . This most recent volume celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Beckett International Foundation

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Casey N. Cep explores an online repository of Dickinson’s work

Emily Dickinson published only ten poems. Printed in various newspapers, her verses all appeared anonymously. It was not some failure of contemporary taste but her own decision that kept the rest of her poetry private. Dickinson wrote in one poem that “Publication—is the Auction / Of the Mind of Man—” and indeed she seems to have felt there was something crass, even violative about fixing one’s words in a particular arrangement of type, surrendering them for a price. (more…)

A new collection, published in English for the first time
Thomas Bernhard,On Earth and In Hell: Early Poems
Thomas Bernhard, On Earth and in Hell: Early Poems

From Three Rooms Press:

November 13 marks the release date of one of our proudest moments here at Three Rooms Press: the release of the first English translation ever of world-renowned Austrian author Thomas Bernhard’s first book, On Earth and in Hell, early poems, translated from the German by the remarkable Vienna-based poet Peter Waugh.

The book caught the attention of famed poet Edward Hirsch, who raves, “These hard won-poems, these furious convulsions, by turns savage and tender, mark the beginning of Thomas Bernhard’s true work, his first startling blows. It is deeply illuminating to have them so wonderfully translated into English.”

National Book Award Winner Jaimy Gordon (Lord of Misrule) was likewise impressed. In her introduction, she writes, “In these poems, written in Bernhard’s mid-twenties . . . all the matter of the subsequent malicious laughter is there—the self-splitting disgust and nostalgia, the hyperbolic despair, the failed (desired but also scorned) glory, the juxtaposition of village idyll and doom, of scathing superiority and terminal degradation, of sex and nauseated frailty and exhaustion.” (more…)

Rendering Russia’s literary masterpieces into English

Orlando Figes

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have begun a quiet revolution in the translation of Russian literature. Since the publication of their acclaimed version of The Brothers Karamazov in 1990, they have translated fifteen volumes of classic Russian works by Dostoevsky, Gogol, Bulgakov, Chekhov, and Tolstoy, restoring all the characteristic idioms, the bumpy syntax, the angularities, and the repetitions that had largely been removed in the interests of “good writing” by Garnett and her followers, and paying more attention (in a way that their predecessors never really did) to the interplay or dialogue between the different voices (including the narrator’s) in these works—to the verbal “polyphony” which has been identified by the literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin as the organizing principle of the novel since Gogol.

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An abridgement of Simon Critchley’s landmark essay on the 1999 film
Wittgenstein asks a question, which sounds like the first line of a joke: ‘How does one philosopher address another?’ To which the unfunny and perplexing riposte is: ‘Take your time’. Terrence Malick is evidently someone who takes his time. Since his first movie, Badlands, was premiered at the New York Film Festival in 1973, he has directed just two more: Days of Heaven, in 1979, and then nearly a 20 year gap until the long-awaited 1998 movie, The Thin Red Line, which is the topic of this essay.

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Two photographers take a look around the iconic literary journal
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Photograph: Paul Barbera

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Trinity College Dublin •  5–6 August, 2016
Samuel Beckett in London, 1979. Photograph: Paul Joyce
Samuel Beckett in London, 1979. Photograph: Paul Joyce
As suggested by his original title for More Pricks Than Kicks (1934), and proved by the pochades, roughs, foirades, and (un)abandoned works of his mature œuvre, works often presented by their author as being no more than the run-off from the creative process, Beckett was anything but put off by draff. The same can surely be said of the scholars who have long devoted themselves to studying Beckett’s aesthetic engagement with the seemingly worthless.

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Calling for Submissions to a conference at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies in Berlin
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Promotion still for The Road (dir. John Hillcoat, 2009), based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy
Throughout his rich literary career, Cormac McCarthy has consistently explored the intersections of different modes of thinking and creative practices. Reflecting his stated view that the novel can “encompass all the various disciplines and interests of humanity” (Woodward 1992), McCarthy’s work navigates between artistic and scientific discourses as readily as it interweaves various fields of knowledge and genres from chaos theory and legal history to English poetry and the Western. His fiction mediates between different worlds insofar as the stylistic and thematic trajectories of his fiction can be considered a narrative negotiation of opposed discourses and perspectives on the world, such as cognitive science and religious experience, realism and romanticism, or ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. While much has been said about spatial border crossings in McCarthy’s work, this conference invites readers and scholars to consider McCarthy’s other crossings, from the intersections of literature and science to his stylistic and generic crossovers.

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Through exclusive interviews and previously unseen photographs, a new documentary offers an intimate portrait of the relationship between translator Barbara Bray and Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett

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Back in April, Sarah Werkmeister interviewed Indonesian writer Aan Mansyur for the Emerging Writers Festival. Here is what he had to say…
Aan Mansyur
Aan Mansyur

Tell us about your writing style. What are your influences, passions and the messages that you try to convey in your work?

I write poems and prose. In every piece I write, I’m trying to say different things in different ways. I often think that writing is how I discover things, rather than an exercise in telling readers things I already know.

What are some of the challenges you face in the writing process, and what tips would you give to aspiring writers to overcome these?

I’m a lazy writer. I like to spend my time reading books instead of writing. I also can’t write in crowded places unlike other writers, although I live in library which is quite packed with visitors. I try to allocate two to three hours daily at early dawn while everyone else is still asleep, to read books I admire and recommendations from my favorite authors. This is how I learn and a solution to my laziness. Reading books is good, they make me feel haunted and keep me awake so I ended up writing. (more…)

london-beckett-seminar
Design: Rhys Tranter

The London Beckett Seminar at the Institute of English Studies will bring together national and international scholars, researchers and postgraduates to discuss issues arising from the prose, theatre and poetry of Samuel Beckett that pertain to aspects of literary, philosophical and historical analysis with particular attention to translation studies, performance and practice, digital humanities and visual cultures. Inherently interdisciplinary in approach, the seminar will establish a vibrant research network for postgraduate students, early-career researchers, and established academics on a national and international level. (more…)

A new title from Harper Perennial
The Essential Ginsberg
The Essential Ginsberg, ed. Michael Schumacher

Featuring the legendary and groundbreaking poem “Howl,” this remarkable volume showcases a selection of Allen Ginsberg’s poems, songs, essays, letters, journals, and interviews, and contains sixteen pages of his personal photographs.

One of the Beat Generation’s most renowned poets and writers, Allen Ginsberg became internationally famous not only for his published works but also for his actions as a human rights activist who championed the sexual revolution, gay liberation, Buddhism and Eastern religion, and the confrontation of societal norms—all before it became fashionable to do so. He was also the dynamic leader of war protesters, artists, Flower Power hippies, musicians, punks, and political radicals. (more…)

If you must write, you must do it in the face of all opposition. […] Do not spend too much more time on culture & reading, these are traps. When everything conspires to make the thing impossible, when you are tired, worried, with no time, or money, it is then that things get done.

— Samuel Beckett to Claude Raimbourg, 3 May 1954