The Art of Reviewing: Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays, by Cynthia Ozick

Like Updike, Anthony Burgess, and Vladimir Nabokov, Cynthia Ozick writes reviews with lush prose, each essay a stimulant to those seeking the beautiful interplay of ideas, language, and strong opinions. Continue reading The Art of Reviewing: Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays, by Cynthia Ozick

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Translation Tuesdays: The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers, by Fouad Laroui @ NYJB

Fouad Laroui casts his eye on Morocco’s dour political legacy with the scalpel-like precision of a social satirist. Continue reading Translation Tuesdays: The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers, by Fouad Laroui @ NYJB

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Commonplace Book/Translation Tuesdays: Elias Canetti on minds and monsters

Compelling passages, notable quotables, bon mots, disjecta, ephemera, and miscellany. I admire those very broad people who through the decades become broader and broader yet do not give in. But the unyieldingly narrow are horrible. [1957 – 1959] A ceremonial beast, assembled from tiaras. [1960] That the behavior of dictators is perfidious is no longer surprising. But that mankind still craves authoritarianism, despite their appalling record of failure, is incomprehensible. With these monstrous examples right before our eyes, how are we so stupid, and how it is possible, faced with all that has happened, for us to lie to ourselves … Continue reading Commonplace Book/Translation Tuesdays: Elias Canetti on minds and monsters

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Critic’s Notebook: David Bowie and the Physiology of Taste

The Argument David Bowie’s recent death has closed a page on music history. On a more personal level, Bowie has been a constant in my life for decades. Beyond mere 80s nostalgia (Labyrinth) or 90s nostalgia (Lost Highway, Outside, and Earthling), Bowie has been instrumental to me personally as a taste-maker. He led me down strange avenues and provided the raw material for discovery and aesthetic experimentation. Embryo My fascinating with David Bowie began early. I can still remember the first Bowie album I bought, sometime in the Nineties. It was a CD of Tonight (1984), an album even Bowie … Continue reading Critic’s Notebook: David Bowie and the Physiology of Taste

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