Seiobo There Below (Laszlo Krasznahorkai)

Rublev's 'Troika"

Whereas Krasznahorkai’s  The Melancholy of Resistance  is a profound and hilarious whole, Seiobo There Below is a profound and melancholic collection of vignettes.  Each of the 17 short fiction pieces (numbered on the Contents page according to the Fibonacci sequence*) captures the inexpressible numinosity of artistic creation, the quality that lies just beyond our ken.  Krasznahorkai contemplates the ineffable in a heron’s stillness, the impossibility of comprehending the Acropolis, the ritualistic carving of a theatre mask, the never-resting practise of Noh, the magnificence of the Venus de Milo. A man’s insanity becomes manifest upon a viewing of Rublev’s Troika (or is it…

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D. H. Lawrence

September 11, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Born 11 September 1885 ‘There was very little about Lawrence that wasn’t irritating to someone.  Edmund Wilson…thought him “ill-bred and hysterical…One saw that he belonged to an inferior caste – some bred-down unripening race of the collieries. Against this inferiority – fundamental and physical-he must have had to fight all his life: his passionate spirit made up for it by exaggerated self-assertion.“‘* Lawrence’s books evoked similar reactions.  One critic lumped him in with novelists “who appear to have passed their prime long before reaching it.”*  (Note that your correspondent once wrote a high school essay asserting that there was no…

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Dhalgren by Samuel R Delany

A man who has forgotten his name crosses a bridge at night and enters Bellona, a city where something undefined has happened, houses burn down spontaneously and at times there are two moons, one named after George Harrison – not the adorable moptop, but a large black man with a penchant for rape, who features in pornographic posters all over town. The man who has forgotten his name is known variously as the kid, The Kid, Kid and Kidd. With little effort he acquires a reputation as a poet, gang leader and saviour.  We are never sure if Bellona is a mental hospital, the…

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The Children of Dynmouth

(by William Trevor) (1976) There’s a moment in All The President’s Men, released the same year as Mr Trevor’s (Cox’s) novel, where Carl Bernstein says: “All these neat little houses in all these nice little streets, it’s hard to believe that something’s wrong in some of these little houses…” to which Bob Woodward replies, “No it isn’t.” That is encapsulated neatly in The Children of Dynmouth, a wonderful little piece, where Child-From-Hell, Timothy Gedge, terrorizes a small town along the lines of the feral lads in Peter Weir’s cult classic, The Cars That Ate Paris (1974).  But whereas the lads…

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Beethoven: The Man Revealed

Stieler, Joseph Karl: Beethoven mit der Missa solemnis Ölgemälde, 1819

By John Suchet (2012) This “biography” is a sub-Wikipedia standard, slapdash tract that wouldn’t pass muster as an afternoon talk to Kiwanis with early onset dementia. We’ve developed a drinking game for those who choose to peruse it: When the author says “it seems” or something “might have” been, or is “likely,” “possible,” “probable,” or words to that effect, you have a beer. I had a beer on pages 4, 17, 26, 30, 41, 48, 50, 54, 56, 76, 83, and 100;  2 beers on pages 5, 6, 36, 47, 51, 82, and 105; 3 schooners on page 82, and 4 pots on pages 3 and 7….

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