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Tag overview for: 'literature'

Entries on this site with 'literature'

  • the man who planted trees
    Discovering this story resembles its narrator, walking "in that ancient region where the Alps thrust down into Provence" and stumbling on 'The Man Who Planted Trees', or '
  • rock and hawk
    Here is a symbol in which Many high tragic thoughts Watch their own eyes. This gray rock, standing tall On the headland, where the seawind Lets no tree grow, Earthquake-pr
  • a philosophy of walking
    ...there is the promise of meeting a freedom head-on as an outer limit of the self and of the human, an internal overflowing of a rebellious Nature that goes beyond you. W
  • dersu uzala
    Dersu Uzala was a Siberian nomadic hunter whose friendship with Russian explorer Vladimir Arsenyev inspired a book and two films. The films combine Dersu's wilderness lore
  • wild & dao
    In 'The Practice of the Wild' (1990) Gary Snyder observes how: Wild is largely defined in our dictionaries by what - from a human standpoint - it is not. It cannot be seen
  • ultra-humanity
    In ' The Story of My Heart ' (1883) Richard Jefferies coined the term ultra-humanity to describe how ...a great part, perhaps the whole, of nature and of the universe is d
  • the midsummer hum
    Boom! They started. Mark lifted his spear, Bevis his bow. A deep, low, and slow sound, like thunder, toned from its many mutterings to a mighty sob, filled their ears for
  • the mind made a swing
    Between the poles of the conscious and the unconscious, there has the mind made a swing: Thereon hang all beings and all worlds, and that swing never ceases its sway. Mill
  • indian infinity
    India is all about infinity - an infinity of gods and myths, beliefs and languages, races and cultures; in everything, and everywhere one looks, there is this dizzying end
  • bombay to mumbai
    When the city of Bombay was renamed into Mumbai in 1995, it was a different kind of name change than, say, Peking to Beijing. Rather than correcting pronunciation, the cit
  • mr loftus
    What is your wilderness? I have my own. It has no boundaries, but shifts its grey And crumbling landscapes through my skull, Shuffles them, while I stand, and stirs the da
  • letters from holland
    Only a few years after Aldous Huxley wrote about his travels in Holland , Czech writer Karel Čapek devoted a whole book to the country: 'Letters from Holland' ('Obrázky z
  • equilibrist
    I see an adder and, a yard away, a butterfly being gorgeous. I switch the radio from tortures in foreign prisons to a sonata of Schubert (that foreigner). I crawl from the
  • the nature of nature
    In one of his last essays, 'The Nature of Nature' (1995), John Fowles returned to the theme of ' The Tree ', the importance of nature in his life and work, as well as for
  • the tree
    ...an experience whose deepest value lies in the fact that it cannot be directly described by any art... including that of words. In his long essay 'The Tree' (1979), John
  • views of holland
    In 'Along the Road' (1925) a young Aldous Huxley collected 'Notes and Essays of a Tourist', which contains a rather charming description of a visit to the lowlands. Overal
  • a most wanted man
    It's no more than fitting that most reviews of ' A Most Wanted Man ', Anton Corbijn's slow-burning adaptation of John le Carré's novel, have centered on Philip Seymour Hof
  • one must in english
    One still has to count one's summers, pass one's sentence, snow one's winter one still has to get the shopping done before dark asks the way, black candles for the cellar
  • r.u.r.: rossum's universal robots
    DOMIN: What sort of worker do you think is the best from a practical point of view? HELENA: Perhaps the one who is most honest and hardworking. DOMIN: No; the one that is
  • wistman's wood
    Names, science, history... not even the most adamantly down-to-earth botanist thinks of species and ecologies when he or she first stands at Wistman's Wood. It is too stra
  • the undercliff
    There runs, between Lyme Regis and Axmouth six miles to the west, one of the strangest coastal landscapes in Southern England. From the air it is not very striking; one no
  • the very old one sings
    After all these landscape odes , here is a Dutch poem that has acquired a distinctly urban connotation, Lucebert's ' the very old one sings ' ('de zeer oude zingt', 1954),
  • memory of holland vs boutade
    After Slauerhoff's sarcastic sketch of Holland's social landscape, here are two more visions of Holland, pitting the idealized landscape of Marsman's ' Memory of Holland '
  • siesta time
    There's a moment when siesta time runs dry. Even the secret, hidden, minute activity of the insects ceases at that precise instant; the course of nature comes to a halt; c
  • in holland...
    For more exotic wanderings in Dutch literature, who better to turn to than J. Slauerhoff? The restless poet who never felt at home in his time or place, and whose most fam
  • the cave
    Each day is a glass room that we must smash in order to break through into a landscape, and be involved. To be involved is to be alive. Well-known for his prose, poetry, i
  • will o' the wisp
    Bloem is not the only Dutch writer to have used the November weather of the Low Lands to set a dreary, forlorn tone. Willem Elsschot 's novella 'Will o' the Wisp' ('Het dw
  • each day we live is a glass room
    I Each day we live is a glass room Until we break it with the thrusting Of the spirit and pass through The splintered walls to the green pastures Where the birds and buds
  • post-digital print
    An inspiring book for those who like to do their reading on paper, Alessandro Ludovico's 'Post-Digital Print' (2012) offers much-needed nuance in the 'print is dead' debat
  • the child is not dead
    On May 25, 1994, president Nelson Mandela addressed the newly formed democratic parliament of South Africa, and read a poem by Ingrid Jonker, ' The child who was shot dead
  • the mistake of the machine
    In an age when techno-utopian visions seem to have become America's most successful export product, we might do well to turn to Father Brown for a sanity check. Always one
  • a phony doc
    ' Salinger ' is the kind of documentary you have to be glad the famous writer didn't live to see. The sensational tone, bombastic music and papparazzi zoom lenses all add
  • november
    To start off November in suitably stoic fashion, here is J.C. Bloem 's poem 'November' - a classic in Dutch literature. From its famously gloomy opening line (how much mor
  • travels with herodotus
    Ryszard Kapuściński has often been called the "reporter of the century", the 20th century that is, for his unique brand of literary travel reportage. 'Travels with Herodot
  • clachan
    Pit de haund doon an whit's dere? Stons. Stons i da aest, stons i da wast, stons as faur as du kin see an whit's dis? Here i da heart o aa dis stons me an de, a drummin la
  • how much globalization can we bear?
    In 2003, German philosopher Rüdiger Safranski published a little book with the intriguing title: 'How much globalization can we bear?' ('Wieviel Globalisierung verträgt de
  • living on dog and cat food
    The series of ten detective novels that Swedish couple Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö wrote in the 1960s and '70s are still regarded as a model for modern police procedurals.
  • speer
    On April 9, 1944, The Observer published a profile of Albert Speer , "dictator of the Nazi industry". Speer, who had started his career as Hitler's architect, had by then
  • desert ii
    In a time that confronts me, "You do not belong to me," I retort back, "I'm not of you," and struggle to understand it... I am now a hue, a silhouette displaced among its
  • electric lock
    Tonight the streetlights where I live went out at midnight as usual. While I looked for my key the kindhearted taxi driver aimed his headlights at me as he backed up. The
  • dejima stories
    The tiny fan-shaped island of Dejima in the harbor of Nagasaki played a fascinating role in the history of Japan and the Netherlands. As the most far-flung trading post of
  • the cold mountain path
    Clambering up the Cold Mountain path, The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on: The long gorge choked with scree and boulders, The wide creek, the mist-blurred grass. The mo
  • the green face
    There was an all-pervading, matt half-light; the poplar outside the window, the distant bushes and the towers of Amsterdam were faintly illuminated, as if by dim floodligh
  • dutch horizons
    In 'Fishing for Amber' (1999), his alphabetically ordered yet delightfully unclassifiable tapestry of Irish stories, Dutch history and Ovidian metamorphoses, Ciaran Carson
  • we
    Yevgeny Zamyatin 's novel 'We' (1921) is considered the godfather of the modern dystopia, preceding both 'Brave New World' and 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'. But the book still h
  • world on a wire
    'World on a Wire' ('Welt am Draht', 1973) was Rainer Werner Fassbinder's only venture into science-fiction. Made as a two-part miniseries for television, it was long unava
  • the prison of sleep
    Some voices said (...) that dreams, regarded as private and solitary visions on the part of an individual, belonged to a merely temporary phase in the history of mankind,
  • out of sight out of mind
    If it's someone then it's that someone who knocks us down mows us down, all our grass I cannot withstand this annihilating image That's why I put a stone in a box, close t
  • lti: lingua tertii imperii
    Words can be like tiny doses of arsenic: they are swallowed unnoticed, appear to have no effect, and then after a little time the toxic reaction sets in after all. It is t
  • the man without qualities
    In a daring theatrical venture the Flemish Toneelhuis staged a three-part adaptation of Robert Musil's contemplative and largely plotless novel ' The Man Without Qualities
  • the garden
    Warning: Contains one spoiler, the film's final, magical scene. Slovak director Martin Šulík's film ' Záhrada ' ('The Garden', 1995) was rereleased in cinemas in the Nethe
  • a garden in the evening
    Things are happening here and I am the only one who knows which I shall name them and also say why there's an old garden seat standing under the apple-tree an old football
  • the futurological congress
    In 20th century science fiction, both Philip K. Dick and Stanisław Lem were intensely preoccupied with the nature of reality - what is real, how can we know what is real,
  • the party of moderate progress within the bounds of the law
    Czech writer Jaroslav Hašek is of course best known for his immortal satire, ' The Good Soldier Švejk '. But he also wrote an astonishing number of stories - reputedly som
  • terribly surprised
    George Steiner's ' In Bluebeard's Castle ', subtitled 'Some Notes Towards the Redefinition of Culture' (1971) is a dense, searching and oldfashionedly erudite investigatio
  • dans la ville blanche
    Swiss director Alain Tanner's ' Dans la Ville Blanche ' (1983) has a uniquely weightless atmosphere as it floats through Lisbon, the white city, in search of the limits of
  • but it isn't enough
    Now the summer has passed. It might never have been. It is warm in the sun, But it isn't enough. All that might've occurred Like a five-fingered leaf Fluttered into my han
  • tinker tailor soldier spy
    A complaint with many mainstream films these days is that they treat their audience as if they're toddlers, but last year's ' Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy ' is an interesting
  • nonreading
    Bookstores don't provide a remote control for Proust, you can't switch to a soccer match, or a quiz show, win a Cadillac. We live longer but less precisely and in shorter
  • the book of disquiet
    I'd like the reading of this book to leave you with the impression that you've traversed a sensual nightmare. One of the great masterpieces of modernist literature, Fernan
  • ptydepe
    LEAR: Ptydepe, as you know, is a synthetic language, built on a strictly scientific basis. Its grammar is constructed with maximum rationality, its vocabulary is unsually
  • the guardian spirit of the waters
    The early works in charcoal of French painter and lithographer Odilon Redon gained notoriety after being admired by the hero of Joris-Karl Huysmans ' novel 'Against Nature
  • the formless tragedy of emma bovary
    She wanted to die, and she wanted to live in Paris. The elegant and subtle style of Gustave Flaubert 's ' Madame Bovary ' has been praised and studied ever since the novel
  • kuboaa
    I lay a while looking into the darkness, a thick massive darkness without end that I wasn't able to fathom. My thoughts couldn't grasp it. It struck me as excessively dark
  • o'er seas that have no beaches
    O'er seas that have no beaches To end their waves upon, I floated with twelve peaches, A sofa and a swan. The blunt waves crashed above us The sharp waves burst around, Th
  • wanderer, your footsteps
    Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada más; caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace camino, y al volver la vista atrás se ve la senda que
  • a monstrous, cheating lure
    "To all whom it concerns, let it be known: Who hath this note, a thousand crowns doth own. As certain pledge thereof shall stand Vast buried treasure in the Emperor's land
  • the nature of parties
    The nature of parties has been imperfectly studied. It is, however, generally understood that a party has a pathology, that it is a kind of individual and that it is likel
  • the trouble with bubbles
    Miniature worlds are a recurring theme in the stories of Philip K. Dick . In ' Second Variety ', volume two of his collected stories (all early work from the period 1952-5
  • household tales illustrations
    Besides writing the Ghormenghast trilogy and other novels and stories , Mervyn Peake also worked as a visual artist, illustrating his own books as well as classics such as
  • red-hot shoes
    We all know how the fairy tale of ' Snow White ' ends, right? The prince marries Snow White and they live happily ever after... But the Brothers Grimm version - the origin
  • archibald strohalm
    This one's in Dutch, from Harry Mulisch 's first novel 'archibald strohalm' (1951), which apparently has never been translated, yet. Geloof jij aan een hiervoormaals? Ook
  • i am a cat
    The world's evaluation of an individual's social worth, like the slits in my eyeballs, change with time and circumstance. In point of fact my pupil-slits vary but modestly
  • the golden temple
    Yes, the Golden Temple appeared before me - that strange building which, when one thought it was near, became distant, that building which always floated clearly in some i
  • off to japan
    Days and months are travellers of eternity. So are the years that pass by. Those who steer a boat across the sea, or drive a horse over the earth till they succumb to the
  • god's dissatisfaction
    God breathed in deeply, looked at the mist around Him and murmured in the hushed tones of someone who has just made an unexpected and curious discovery, It would never hav
  • sonnet ix
    Oh to be idle loving idleness! But I am idle all in hate of me; Ever in action's dream, in the false stress Of purposed action never set to be. Like a fierce beast self-pe
  • special branch
    Some more on Stefan Themerson , whose 'Special Branch' - out of print these days - offers another great example of his unique style of mental gymnastics. Subtitled 'A Dial
  • the mystery of the sardine
    'You see,' he said very quietly, 'a perfect system can never be perfect. A system has to be imperfect to be perfect. A little corruption, a little bribery, a little hypocr
  • a network of paths
    Sometimes it feels as though we are wandering through a city without purpose. We walk down the street, turn at random down another street, stop to admire the cornice of a
  • istanbul & the bosporus
    To be travelling through the middle of a city as great, historic and forlorn as Istanbul, and yet to feel the freedom of the open sea - that is the thrill of a trip along
  • the master and margarita 2
    Another unlikely but rewarding graphic novel is the adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov 's ' The Master and Margarita ' by Andrzej Klimowski and Danusia Schejbal . The novel, r
  • logicomix
    It's an ambitious idea, creating a graphic novel about mathematicians, logicians and philosophers arguing about absolute truth. But ' Logicomix: An Epic Search For Truth '
  • and what is knowledge?
    And what is knowledge? What are our learned men save the descendants of witches and hermits who crouched in caves and in woods brewing herbs, interrogating shrew-mice and
  • the gift
    ...a work of art is a gift, not a commodity. Or, to state the modern case with more precision, (...) works of art exist simultaneously in two 'economies', a market economy
  • when the new season makes its way
    If after seeing ' Hadewijch ' ( reviewed before ), you're curious about the 13th century poet, mystic and beguine ('begijn') from Brabant, here's a sample of her work. Had
  • franny and zooey
    Franny: What happened was, I got the idea in my head - and I could not get it out - that college was just one more dopey , inane place in the world dedicated to piling up
  • korreltjie sand
    Korreltjie korreltjie sand klippie gerol in my hand klippie gesteek in my sak word korreltjie klein en plat Sonnetjie groot in die blou ek maak net 'n ogie van jou blink i
  • an axe for the frozen sea inside us
    Great hard-hitting Kafka quote, spotted in Den Bosch, "Een boek: "Een bijl voor de bevroren zee in ons" ("A book: An axe for the frozen sea inside us").
  • the master and margarita
    The Gospel has been the subject of many literary interpretations in the 20th century - famous examples that come to mind are Kazantzakis' ' The Last Temptation of Christ '
  • the man who invented the zero
    Along with Borges and Cortázar , the Serbian writer Milorad Pavić was a great experimenter in non-linear narratives, creating dense labyrinths of prose, full of historical
  • black marigolds
    Even now My thought is all of this gold-tinted king's daughter With garlands tissue and golden buds, Smoke tangles of her hair, and sleeping or waking Feet trembling in lo
  • the fisher king
    Did you ever hear the story of the Fisher King? It begins with the king as a boy having to sleep alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can become king. While he's
  • krapp's last tape
    In Samuel Beckett 's short play ' Krapp's Last Tape ' (1958) an old man reviews his life, listening to tapes he has recorded every year on his birthday, and making a new r
  • most people are other people
    "De meeste mensen zijn andere mensen" - or in English: "Most people are other people" - on the former Heineken building in Rotterdam. It's a quote from the king of epigram
  • bookish pharmacists
    ...Amalfitano asked him what books he liked and what book he was reading, just to make conversation. Without turning, the pharmacist answered that he liked books like The
  • the beach of falesá
    Besides poetry Dylan Thomas wrote prose classics like 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog' and 'Adventures in the Skin Trade'. In the 1940's he also developed several f
  • silent monologue
    Strange sight, ' Not I ' playing soundlessly on a large screen / billboard at Amsterdam Zuid-WTC station. As reviewed before , the film, starring Julianne Moore , is part
  • where once the waters of your face
    Where once the waters of your face Spun to my screws, your dry ghost blows, The dead turns up its eye; Where once the mermen through your ice Pushed up their hair, the dry
  • het grote verhaal
    Hebben wij een afspraak met het leven gemaakt? Hebben wij ons aan die afspraak gehouden? Hebben wij beloofd ons aan die afspraak te houden? Zijn wij de afspraak vergeten?
  • the savage detectives
    What an impossible book to summarize, Roberto Bolaño 's ' The Savage Detectives '. An exploded novel with dozens of narrators and a frenzied story spilling out from 1975 M
  • the rose of time
    when the watchman falls asleep you turn back with the storm to grow old embracing is the rose of time when bird roads define the sky you look behind at the sunset to emerg
  • the voyage out
    After tracing Virgina Woolf 's increasingly complex modernist experiments - ' Mrs. Dalloway ', ' To the Lighthouse ', ' The Waves ' - reading ' The Voyage Out ', her first
  • manhole 69
    "...What do you think the next step forward will be?" "Forward where?" Morley asked. Lang gestured expansively. "I mean up the evolutionary slope. Three hundred million ye
  • investigation of a citizen above suspicion
    Elio Petri 's 1970 ' Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion ' ('Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto') is both a scathingly sarcastic political pamphl
  • who's afraid of virginia woolf?
    First performed in 1962, Edward Albee 's ' Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ' is still shockingly savage in its portrayal of a disillusioned marriage. In Onafhankelijk Tone
  • a pataphor for what?
    Some more on Oulipo (see previous post ), many of whose members were also 'pataphysicians. A pseudo-philosophy devised by French playwright and surrealist avant la lettre
  • 100,000,000,000,000 sonnets
    ' 100,000,000,000,000 Sonnets ' is a nice online version of Raymond Queneau 's 'Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes' (' Hundred Thousand Billion Poems '). Composed of fourteen
  • the religious experience of philip k. dick
    In 1974, science fiction writer Philip K. Dick experienced a series of mystical visions. They would greatly influence his writing, most explicitly in ' Valis ', a philosop
  • the flowering past
    There is no poetry when you live there. Those stones are yours, those noises are your mind, The forging thunderous trams and streets that bind You to the dreamed-of bar wh
  • inanna's journey to hell
    'Inanna's Journey to Hell', composed in Mesopotamia (what is now Iraq) in the third millennium BC, ranks among the oldest surviving stories of mankind. Inanna , the Lady o
  • quarks
    As a postscript to the previous post , did you know the word quark (the elementary particle) came from James Joyce 's ' Finnegans Wake '? American phycisist Murray Gell-Ma
  • the voices of marrakesh
    In 1952 Elias Canetti , best known for his novel ' Auto-da-Fé ' and his study ' Crowds and Power ', visited Marrakesh with a British film company. (Would be interesting to
  • jordan wellington lint
    The 23 stories collected by Zadie Smith in ' The Book of Other People ' have one thing in common: they're about character. As Smith notes, "the instruction was simple: mak
  • and this i dreamt, and this i dream
    And this I dreamt, and this I dream, And some time this I will dream again, And all will be repeated, all be re-embodied, You will dream everything I have seen in dream. T
  • al-mahdi
    "What inferno, what terrible plague or huge massacre or catastrophic earthquake is needed to make those people stop and look around them, to contemplate in silence what te
  • 100 films
    Bit of an abstract milestone, but the previous post marked the 100th entry tagged with film on this blog. That's 100 reviews (well, not quite, some are just quotes or link
  • the simorgh
    It's a bit weird to use a spoiler warning when reviewing a book that's over 800 years old. But ' The Conference of the Birds ' ('Mantiq at-Ta'ir'), by twelfth century Sufi
  • the railroad station
    My nonarrival in the city of N. took place on the dot. You'd been alerted in my unmailed letter. You were able not to be there at the agreed-upon time. The train pulled up
  • the giant mole
    Those, and I am one of them, who find even a little ordinary-sized mole disgusting, would probably have died of disgust if they had seen the giant mole that was observed a
  • all i have to bring
    It's all I have to bring to-day,   This, and my heart beside, This, and my heart, and all the fields,   And all the meadows wide. Be sure you count, should I forget, -   S
  • notes from underground
    I am a sick man... I am a wicked man. An unattractive man. I think my liver hurts. These opening statements set the tone for what must be one of the most savage rants in w
  • repose
    F. Scott Fitzgerald 's great tragic novel of Roaring Twenties Americans in Europe, ' Tender is the Night ', has some of its best moments in his sharp social observations.
  • tales of the alhambra
    The swan song of the Moors in Europe, the 14th century Alhambra palace remains suffused with exotic mystery. Located on a hilltop overlooking Granada , its fortified walls
  • to the lighthouse
    Virginia Woolf 's fifth novel ' To the Lighthouse ', published in 1927, is one of her most experimentally modernist works. The book's genius is hard to summarize, except b
  • the last concern
    Sequence To sleep, with the moon in one eye and the sun in the other, Love in your mouth, a lovely bird in your hair, Adorned like the fields, the woods, the routes, the s
  • galaxie 500
    Having recently rediscovered Galaxie 500 , it's amazing to find how undated their music still sounds, and how little known they remain. As has often been remarked before,
  • the encyclopedia of the dead
    For fans of the vertiginous fictions of Borges , the short story collection 'The Encyclopedia of the Dead' by Serbian writer Danilo Kiš is worth checking out. Kiš, greatly
  • dutch milk wood
    One of the towering figures in Dutch (or Flemish, as some would insist) literature, Hugo Claus left a huge oeuvre of novels, plays and poetry. He was also a prolific trans
  • flags in a vacuum
    There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum. - Arthur C. Clarke , who defined serious science-fiction with such books as ' 2001: A Space Odys
  • ophelia
    John Everett Millais ' ' Ophelia ' is currently on display at the Van Gogh Museum . Based on the scene in ' Hamlet ' of Ophelia drowning (which Shakespeare left open for i
  • the jewel stair's grievance
    The jeweled steps are already quite white with dew, It is so late the dew soaks my gauze stockings, And I let down the crystal curtain And watch the moon through the clear
  • deer park
    Just four lines long, the ancient Chinese poem 'Deer Park', by Buddhist poet Wang Wei , has inspired poets and translators through the ages. Eliot Weinberger 's '19 Ways o
  • the old man and the sea
    Watching Aleksandr Petrov 's stunningly beautiful animation of ' The Old Man and the Sea ' online undoubtedly can't begin to compare with seeing it on an Imax screen, for
  • things
    If you thought materialist escapism and spiritual dabbling were modern phenomena, check out this very amusing short story by D.H. Lawrence , called 'Things', written in 19
  • tarzan vs. ibm
    As Nouvelle Vague 's venture into science fiction, Jean-Luc Godard 's ' Alphaville ' (1965) is still a fascinating piece of conceptual (as opposed to spectacular) sci-fi.
  • in jerusalem
    Some inspiring literary discoveries today at the Winternachten festival in The Hague, at a program ironically titled How to Bluff your Way into Arabic Literature . Featuri
  • the good soldier švejk
    ' The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War ' is the full title of Jaroslav Hašek 's satirical masterpiece, left incomplete by his premature de
  • marquis de canteclaer
    A promise made here over two years ago was to post some more of the poetry of Marquis de Canteclaer. In full, Querulijn Xaverius Marquis De Canteclaer van Barneveldt was o
  • mathom
    Moving houses is always a confrontation with all the stuff that you've allowed to accumulate over the years. P.K. Dick called this ' kipple ' (and considered it a lost bat
  • sweeney todd
    Man: Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd. His skin was pale and his eye was odd. He shaved the faces of gentlemen Who never thereafter were heard of again. He trod a path that
  • the consolation of philosophy
    Since today is the memorial day of Saint Severinus , better known as Boethius , it seems fitting to take a look at his masterpiece ' The Consolation of Philosophy ' ('De C
  • no one belongs here more than you
    I woke at seven A.M. and said to myself: This is the second day of the rest of my life. It's not one thing in particular, it's just the sensation of being adrift. As if th
  • the shock doctrine
    What to think of this short film by Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein , ' The Shock Doctrine '? Without having read the book of the same title that the film is meant to intro
  • war and peace
    A "loose baggy monster" Henry James once called Leo Tolstoy 's ' War and Peace '. At over 1300 pages, with no clearly defined plot and featuring some 500 characters, it ce
  • god is in the details
    The absolute highlight of the Persia exhibition in the Hermitage Amsterdam was its collection of medieval manuscripts and miniatures . Unfortunately, due to their fragilit
  • a scanner darkly
    Faithfully adaptated from Philip K. Dick 's novel, Richard Linklater 's animated 'A Scanner Darkly ' is a grim tale of drug-fueled paranoia. As with most P.K. Dick novels,
  • so it is in life
    So it is in life: a fool through and through, and yet he wants to express himself. Under the title ' So It Is in Life ', this week's issue of the New Yorker contains some
  • barbaric yawp
    To quote some more from Walt Whitman 's endlessly quotable ' Song of Myself ' (see previous post ): I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric
  • what is the grass?
    A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of
  • stand-in stunt
    Interesting revelation last week: turns out the book 'Stand-in' ( reviewed here ) was not written by Sieger Sloot at all but by Ernest van der Kwast . A textbook example o
  • berlin slogans
    More to follow. First, off to Mexico... Update: The above neon cry, in front of Berlin's Deutsches Theater , is of course a quote from Goethe 's ' Faust ' (as was kindly p
  • one must
    Couldn't find a translation for this one, so it'll be in Dutch today... Men moet Men moet zijn zomers nog tellen, zijn vonnis nog vellen, men moet zijn winter nog sneeuwen
  • a fairy-tale from the north
    An old man set out to go into the woods, although he didn't know what for. Then he came back and said: -- Hey, old woman, you! The old woman fell straight down. Since then
  • chinese art and greek art
    Following up on my earlier post on Pamuk's 'The Black Book', it appears the story about the competition between the two painters was inspired by a poem by Jalal ad-Din Muh
  • the black book
    This post is not about Paul Verhoeven's film but about Orhan Pamuk 's novel ' The Black Book ' ('Kara Kitap'). As a caleidoscopic, metaphysical detective novel, 'The Black
  • topor
    Some samples of the savage surrealism of Roland Topor . His novel ' The Tenant ', which was later filmed by Polanski , contains a telling quote which sums up his world vie
  • the golem
    Gustav Meyrink 's 1915 novel 'The Golem' is a classic of fantastic and expressionist fiction. Imagine Kafka (a friend of Meyrink's) writing ' Frankenstein ' (published onl
  • craftsmanship
    To be a craftsman is to be able to separate the work one is doing at the time from everything else, to know exactly and to hold before one's eyes one thing only: what shou
  • the year of the death of ricardo reis
    José Saramago 's novel ' The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis ' ('O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis') is a classic example of intertextuality , blurring the line between fac
  • time & perfection
    There was an artist in the city of Kouroo who was disposed to strive after perfection. One day it came into his mind to make a staff. Having considered that in an imperfec
  • the dark eye
    Bit of a halting experience, playing the 12 year old cd-rom adventure game ' The Dark Eye ', but still great for its haunting atmosphere. Based on three Edgar Alan Poe sto
  • stand-in
    This won't be the most objective review of Sieger Sloot Ernest van der Kwast 's fast-paced and witty debut novel ' Stand-in ', though it may well be the first one in Engli
  • narziss & goldmund
    Adapting Herman Hesse 's novel ' Narcissus and Goldmund ' to the theatre poses a difficult challenge. Hesse's novel, set in Medieval Germany, sets up a juxtaposition of ar
  • tags
    As a start of the long overdue redesign of this blog, i'll be experimenting with adding tags to entries. So bear with potential bugs... Tagging, as a form of adding metada
  • the mahabharata
    The Indian Mahabharata has been called the longest epic in the world. Spanning over 74.000 Sanskrit verses (about ten times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined!),
  • global literature
    At the opening of the Winternachten literary festival in The Hague, Indian writer and critic Pankaj Mishra lectured on ' The Globalization of Literature, the Making of an
  • a delicate balance
    'Wankel Evenwicht', a Dutch rendition of Edward Albee 's ' A Delicate Balance ' by Carver and Onafhankelijk Toneel at the Toneelschuur , provided captivating acting all ar
  • 2 christmas stories
    Nostalgic or unsentimental, Brooklyn or Wales... Here's two completely different, yet both classic Christmas stories. There's the mythical, long-gone Christmas of Dylan Th
  • memory of holland
    The first David Reid Poetry Translation Prize resulted in over 30 translations of Marsman 's famous poem 'Herinnering aan Holland' / 'Memory of Holland' . Thinking of Holl
  • omar khayyám
    ' The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám ' is one of the great classics of Persian poetry. Written by mathematician, astronomer and poet Omar Khayyám (1048 - 1123), the original col
  • ahmet abi
    Apparently this weird, tucked away illuminated sign in Rotterdam is an art project by Arno Coenen . The text is based on a Turkish poem by Edip Cansever called ' The Voice
  • nonsense nursery syllables
    Today I imagine the words of countless Languages to be suddenly fetterless - After long incarceration In the fortress of Grammar, suddenly up in rebellion. Maddened by the
  • revolutionary road
    The Revolutionary Hill Estates had not been designed to accommodate a tragedy. Even at night, as if on purpose, the development held no looming shadows and no gaunt silhou
  • carceri d'invenzione
    Giovanni Battista Piranesi 's 'Carceri d'Invenzione' ('Imaginary Prisons') are a series of poster-size etchings depicting a dark prison world - though prison is far too ta
  • leaf by niggle
    In Tolkien 's epic oeuvre, his fairy tales are like single gems compared to the vast treasure chest of ' The Lord of the Rings ' - often overlooked but delicately polished
  • lord marquis
    Mephistopheles: Old bag of bones, can you not recognize You lord and master, here before your eyes? You scare-crow, what shall hold my sentence back, That blots you out, y
  • not i
    Finally saw some of the ' Beckett on Film ' pieces at the Beckett Centenary Festival in Dublin. The short (45 sec) ' Breath ' by Damien Hirst , ' Act Without Words I ' by
  • capote
    Most reviews of ' Capote ' focus on Philip Seymour Hoffman 's role as Truman Capote . And yes, Hoffman is just excellent as the effeminate, egocentric, annoying, genius wr
  • yes and no
    As translator Judith Wilkinson remarks, the poetry of Toon Tellegen lends itself well to translation, "not only because of its linguistic simplicity - one might almost cal
  • the seventh sally
    Died yesterday, Stanisław Lem , the Polish science-fiction writer best known for his book ' Solaris ' and its film adaptations by Tarkovsky and Soderbergh , was really a p
  • chasing phantoms
    A very fitting final Ro Theater production of both director Guy Cassiers (of Proustian fame) and actor Joop Keesmaat, ' Hersenschimmen ' (' Out of Mind ') is an enthrallin
  • factotum
    After Mickey Rourke in ' Barfly ', who would attempt to revisit Henry Chinaski, Bukowski 's legendary alter ego? The answer is Matt Dillon , in Bent Hamer 's adaptation of
  • mephisto
    The adaptation of ' Mephisto ', which had its premiere tonight at the Leidse Schouwburg , made for a thoughtful theatre experience held together by a great group of actors
  • boy in darkness
    Mervyn Peake 's novella 'Boy in Darkness' is a little-known addition to the famous Gormenghast trilogy. Published (oddly enough) as a children's book, it is a sketchy but
  • mestre
    Master, serene All hours We waste, if in The wasting them, As in a jar, We set flowers. The beginning of Ricardo Reis' poem 'Mestre'. Reis was one of the Portuguese poet F
  • zen logic
    Without claiming to understand much of Zen (if that's even the point), here's a koan that seems to sum up its spirit nicely: A master was asked the question, "What is the
  • als das kind kind war
    Als das Kind Kind war, hatte es von nichts eine Meinung, hatte keine Gewohnheit, saß oft im Schneidersitz, lief aus dem Stand, hatte einen Wirbel im Haar und machte kein G
  • 21 stories
    For fans of J.D. Salinger , the legendarily reclusive writer who hasn't published anything for the last 40 years (but who is rumoured to have a pile of manuscripts in a sa
  • the machine stops
    E.M. Forster , not exactly known for science fiction, wrote an interesting short story called ' The Machine Stops ' (first published in 1909), depicting a future society e
  • shi jing
    Some more on China... A sample from the ' Shi Jing ' ('Book of Songs' or 'Book of Odes'), the oldest collection of poetry from ancient China and one of the Five Classics .
  • finding lost time
    Finally saw the last episode of the awesome four part theatre adaptation of Marcel Proust 's ' À la Recherche du Temps Perdu ' by the Ro Theater . All directed by Guy Cass
  • kipple
    'Cause i can never find the original definition for this great concept, here's the complete quote: Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use
  • denkraam
    Sorry, the death of graphic artist / writer Marten Toonder , creator of 177 Tom Poes & Olivier B. Bommel comics and coiner of God knows how many Dutch language innovations
  • spacetimemoney continuum
    His wealth resides less in possessions than in the fact of that most modern of powers, mobility, the ability to be present at practically the same time in every part of th
  • little patch of yellow wall
    Visiting the Mauritshuis today to see the 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' for real (as reality follows blog posts these days), I was struck by that other Vermeer , hanging acr
  • shi jing
    Some more on China... A sample from the ' Shi Jing ' ('Book of Songs' or 'Book of Odes'), the oldest collection of poetry from ancient China and one of the Five Classics .
  • a passing glimpse
    I often see flowers from a passing car That are gone before I can tell what they are. I want to get out of the train and go back To see what they were beside the track. I
  • a secret veiled by a secret
    It's the simplest possible system. Consider only the outer circle. To code something, you replace each letter of your original message with the letter that precedes it: fo
  • the seventh sally
    Died yesterday, Stanisław Lem , the Polish science-fiction writer best known for his book ' Solaris ' and its film adaptations by Tarkovsky and Soderbergh , was really a p
  • yes and no
    As translator Judith Wilkinson remarks, the poetry of Toon Tellegen lends itself well to translation, "not only because of its linguistic simplicity - one might almost cal
  • the chance of humming
    A man standing on two logs in a river might do all right floating with the current while humming in the now. Though if one log is tied to a camel, who is also heading sout
  • fear & loathing
    Just to prove it's all true in Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas , here's a photo i found of the real Hunter S. Thompson and his attorney Oscar Acosta (portrayed in the film by
  • are you now or were you ever...?
    Searching for a worthy quote in memoriam of Arthur Miller, the American playwright ("Death of a Salesman", "The Crucible", "After the Fall", etc.) who died last week, i st
  • hurlyburly in dutch
    When a group of young Dutch actors decides to do David Rabe's play Hurlyburly, comparisons are inevitable to the film adaptation which starred such names as Sean Penn, Kev
  • apologies to my readers
    Imagine two men holding a captured puma on a rope. If they want to approach each other, the puma will attack, because the rope will slacken; only if they both pull simulta
  • courtly manners
    The legends of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table are a highpoint of courtly literature. Chivalrous knights go on perilous quests in defense of their ladies' h
  • time, pt. 3
    'An ivory labyrinth!' I exclaimed. 'A minimum labyrinth.' 'A labyrinth of symbols,' he corrected. 'An invisible labyrinth of time.' From "The Garden of Forking Paths" - Jo
  • information, pt. 1
    It was hell living in the twenty-first century. Information transfer had reached the velocity of light. [He] had once fed a tenword plot outline into a robot fiction machi

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