In the old days people loved wisdom (the filosofoi), nowadays they love the name of the philosopher.

— Søren Kierkegaard, Papers and Journals

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Scott Esposito (The Paris Review) talks to Don Bartlett about translating Knausgaard’s multi-volume memoir, My Struggle, into English
Translator Don Bartlett
Translator Don Bartlett

When did you first encounter My Struggle?

I went to a panel discussion in London with three Norwegian writers, led by someone I knew was clued up on Norwegian literature. Afterward, I talked to Karl Ove and asked him what he was working on. He said he had just written five—I think it was five—novels. I asked him what about. He said, with a laugh, Myself.

What were your impressions of his work up to that point?

I had read one of his novels, his second—it’s called A Time for Everything in English—and had been very impressed. He had made biblical tales a riveting read. The second part of A Time for Everything is interesting even though it is hard to see what the connection is with the first part. Knausgaard can write about anything and keep you interested, even when you think what he is describing is bizarre. I like the fluency of his writing, the shape of the sentences, the intensity. His concentration is such that you don’t doubt he knows where he’s going. (more…)

29-30 June 2015 · University of Western Sydney
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett

The Endlessness of Ending: Samuel Beckett and the Mind
29-30 June 2015 · University of Western Sydney

Samuel Beckett’s work across the genres has always shown a keen interest in both the topography and the function of the mind. The experience of interiority in Beckett is complex and it is often on the brink of its own collapse. Beckett undertook a comprehensive self-education of the mind, primarily from the disciplines of philosophy and psychoanalysis, to understand this interiority which he would render poetically. If Beckett is interested in a physics and even a geometry of the psychic space, the recurrent image of the skullscape—from The Trilogy and Endgame to Worstward Ho—is also replete with the minimal and yet necessary possibilities of thinking. (more…)

The Inaugural Modernist Network Cymru Conference

The Research Institute of the Arts and Humanities
Swansea University, Monday 7 September 2015
Keynote speaker: Professor Angharad Price (Bangor University)

monc-modernist-network-cymruThe 2010s have been a busy decade for modernist scholars. In 2010, the inaugural BAMS conference considered Virginia Woolf’s (in)famous assertion that ‘On or about December 1910, human character changed’; in 2013, BBC Radio 3 ran a series of programmes celebrating Paris’ annus mirabilis, exemplified by the 1913 premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring; and in 2014 we celebrated Dylan Thomas’ birth in a year-long series of events.

Now, in 2015, as we mark 100 years since Caradoc Evans’ landmark short story collection, My People, it seems a good time to stop and take stock of the past, present and future of both modernism and modernist studies as a discipline.

This inaugural conference, to be held at Swansea University, invites scholars from Wales and beyond to reflect upon modernism and its legacies. As the first Modernist Network Cymru (MONC) event, it aims to showcase the range and diversity of research into modernism happening in Wales today. MONC brings together scholars and professionals working on modernism in Wales to encourage collaboration and communication; as such, we welcome interdisciplinary proposals on any aspect of modernism, as defined in the widest sense. We particularly welcome scholars working on Welsh modernist writers and artists, as well as modernist art and writing in Wales. (more…)

Alex Shepard (Full Stop) interviews the author of Spurious and Dogma
Lars Iyer
Lars Iyer

[In Spurious,] Lars and W. worship Kafka and wonder if they more resemble Kafka or Max Brod, his executor. Is Kafka one of your heroes? Do you, like Lars and W., think of yourself as more of a Max Brod than a Kafka?

I do not even see myself as a Brod! Max Brod was the most energetic of men – he wrote a great deal, he was active in various intellectual circles – and he placed himself most genuinely in the service of others. A remarkable combination. W. and Lars seem to form the entirety of each other’s intellectual circle, and the question whether they actually help anybody is an open one.
(more…)