[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

[<<] Apr 2006 Jahsonic (02) magazine [>>]

advanced search - previous issues - home

Current topics by medium: architecture - art - cinema - design - literature - music - photography

Current topics by concept: culture - fiction - genre - popular - postmodernism - taste - theory

2006, Apr 29; 19:05 ::: Mark Stewart (1987) - Mark Stewart

In search of Erik Satie.

Mark Stewart (1987) - Mark Stewart [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

One track of this very nice cd is "Stranger": it has been credited as a blueprint for trip-hop (according to UK newspaper, The Independent, no less): a mellow classical refrain (actually Erik Satie's "Gymnopedies") backed with a mellow breakbeat.

See also: Erik Satie - 1987 - sample

2006, Apr 29; 19:05 ::: The Machinist (2004) - Brad Anderson

In search of unreliable narrators.

The Machinist (2004) - Brad Anderson [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The Machinist is a 2004 drama/thriller film, written by Scott Kosar, directed by Brad Anderson and starring Christian Bale.

Trevor Reznik (Bale) has not slept for over a year, and has become extremely emaciated. He does not know what is wrong, and carries on working as a machinist. His alarming appearance and behaviour cause his co-workers to shy away from him; they eventually turn on him after he is involved in an accident that costs a man his left arm. Trevor, distracted by an unfamiliar coworker named Ivan (Sharian), bears the blame for the accident. No one at the factory admits knowing "Ivan", however, and there are no records that he was ever an employee. Trevor seems to find peace only in the arms of Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a prostitute who develops genuine affection for him, or in the company of Marie (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón), a waitress at the airport diner where he spends his nights.

Scott Kosar, the writer of the screenplay, was noted during the movie commentary on the DVD release to have stated that the plot was influenced by the Dostoevsky story The Double: A Petersburg Poem. The Reznik character is also depicted once reading Dostoevsky's The Idiot. Reznik's imagined alter ego is named Ivan, a possible reference to the character Ivan Karamazov, who is racked with guilt, goes insane, and has nightmares of the devil in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. In addition, when Reznik is riding the 'Route 666' attraction one of the faux movie marquees reads "Crime and Punishment", another Dostoevsky reference. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Machinist [Apr 2006]

Unreliable (male) narrators in fin de millenium films (The Machinist, The Sixth Sense, The Others, The Usual Suspects, Spider, Fight Club, Cypher, Memento, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive):

There are parallels to be drawn between these unreliable male narrators on film and their female counterparts in fin de siècle literature. One excellent example is Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novella The Yellow Wallpaper, the first person account of a woman rendered so powerless in the face of patriarchal society that her only option is to retreat into madness. But perhaps the ultimate in unreliable narrators of this era is Henry James's governess in The Turn of the Screw. The first person account never allows us to be certain if this is a chilling ghost story or, as we suspect, hysteria brought on by repressed desire. It is interesting to note that the only recent film to feature a female unreliable narrator, Alejandro Amenábar's The Others (2001), does so as part of this fin de siècle tradition and, indeed, has distinctly Jamesian overtones. If lack of female empowerment was a recurring theme in Gothic fiction, it speaks volumes that their fin-de-millénium male counterparts in film are displaying similar characteristics now. --Anna Thomson via http://www.bfi.org.uk/education/coursesevents/talkscourses/filmjournalism/articles/rabbit-hole.html [Apr 2006]

See also: American cinema - 2004 - unreliable narrator - Dostoevsky

2006, Apr 29; 19:05 ::: The Double: A Petersburg Poem (1846) - Fyodor Dostoevsky

In search of doppelgänger and unreliable narrators.

The Double: A Petersburg Poem (1846) - Fyodor Dostoevsky [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The Double: A Petersburg Poem is a novella written by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and first published in 1846. The novella deals with the internal psychological struggle of its main character, to whom Dostoevsky refers as "our hero", Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin, the name Golyadkin roughly translating to "naked" or "insignificant". The novella's motif is the doppelgänger.

The narrator's tone depicts a man whose life is on the verge of destruction due to the sudden appearance of a literal facsimile of his self. This double attempts to destroy the protagonist's good name and to claim his position within both his public life in the Russian bureaucracy and within the social circle inhabited by "Golyadkin" Senior (the author's term for the "original Golyadkin, our hero").

As one continues to read the novella and piece together the various clues - it becomes fairly obvious that the Golyadkin Junior character is merely a pseudo-schizophrenic manifestation of the actual Golyadkin's less desirable characteristics (a forerunner to the Shadow later proposed by Carl Jung), the classic "it's all in his head" twist. As such, the novella can be viewed as one of a series of Dostoevsky's critiques of the self-possessed nature of modernity, in this particular work it is also a critique of the machinations and maneuvering of the middle class in its socio-economic strivings. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The Double: A Petersburg Poem [Apr 2006]

See also: Notes from Underground (1864) - 1840s - 1846 - unreliable narrator - the double motif - Dostoevsky

2006, Apr 29; 19:05 ::: The Double (2004) - Jose Saramago

In search of doppelgänger.

The Double (2004) - Jose Saramago [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Publishers Weekly
The double motif, which has fascinated authors as diverse as Poe, Dostoyevski and Nabokov, is revived in this surprisingly listless novel by Portuguese master Saramago. Tertuliano Máximo Afonso is a history teacher in an unnamed metropolis (presumably Lisbon). Middle-aged, divorced and in a relationship with a woman, Maria da Paz, he is bored with life. On the suggestion of a colleague, one night Máximo watches a video that changes everything. The video itself is a forgettable comedy, but the actor who plays the minor role of hotel clerk (so minor he isn't listed in the credits) is Afonso's physical double. Soon Afonso is feverishly renting videos, trying to find the actor's name, while hiding his project from his suspicious colleague, his lover and his mother. Finally tracking the man down, he suggests a meeting. The actor, a rather sleazy fellow, resents Afonso's presence, as if his identical appearance were a sort of ontological theft. Soon the two are in a competition that involves sex and power. Narrating in his usual long, rambling sentences, Saramago suspends his characters and their actions in fussy authorial asides. Afonso has several hokey "dialogues" with "common sense"; his situation, which might be the germ for an excellent short story, is stretched out far beyond the length it deserves. This semi-allegory is certainly not one of Saramago's more noteworthy offerings. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --via Amazon.com

José Saramago (born November 16, 1922) is a Portuguese writer, playwright, and journalist. He usually presents subversive perspectives of historical events in his works, trying to underline the human factor behind historical events, instead of presenting the usual official historical narratives. Some works of his can also be seen as allegories in several contexts.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1998. He currently lives on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, Spain. He was in his mid-fifties before he won the acclaim of an international audience. It was the publication in 1988 of his Baltasar and Blimunda that first brought him to the attention of an English-speaking readership.

Harold Bloom has considered José Saramago the "most gifted novelist alive in the world today".

Saramago tends to write long sentences, punctuating in a way that is generally taught as incorrect; one page-long sentences are common since he uses commas where most writers would place periods. Many of his paragraphs match the length of some authors' chapters. He uses no quotation marks to delimit dialog. Surprisingly, it does not take most readers long to become adjusted to reading his unique style of prose. In his novel Blindness, Saramago sometimes abandons the use of proper nouns.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose Saramago [Apr 2006]

See also: the double motif

2006, Apr 29; 19:05 ::: The Notebook the Proof the Third Lie: Three Novels (1986-1991) - Agota Kristof

In search of women's views on war.

The Notebook the Proof the Third Lie: Three Novels (1986-1991) - Agota Kristof [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Agota Kristof is a writer of Hungarian origin, who publishes mainly French novels.

Kristof was born on October 30, 1935. At the age of 21 she had to leave her country when the Hungarian anti-communist revolution was suppressed by the Soviet military. She, her husband (who used to ber her history teacher at school) and their 4 months old daughter escaped to Neuchâtel in Switzerland. After 5 years of loneliness and exile, she quit her work in a factory and left her husband. She started studying French and began to write novels in that language.

In 1986 Kristof’s first novel, The Notebook appeared. It was the beginning of a moving trilogy. The sequel titled The Proof came 2 years later. The third part was published in 1991 under the title The Third Lie. The most important themes of this trilogy are war and destruction, love and loneliness, desire and loss, truth and fiction. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agota_Kristof [Apr 2006]

See also: cult fiction

2006, Apr 28; 19:05 ::: Robert Briffault

In search of troubadours.

Europa () - Robert Briffault
Edition shown: New York: Avon Books, 1950.

Robert Briffault (born in Nice, France in 1876, died in Hastings, Sussex, England on 11 December 1948) was a French novelist, social anthropologist and surgeon.

Briffault is the author of several books, including The Decline and Fall of the British Empire; Breakdown: The Collapse of Traditional Civilization; Mothers: A Study of the Origins of Sentiments and Institutions (1927); Europa: The Days of Ignorance (novel); Europa in Limbo (novel); Marriage Past and Present; Sin and Sex; and Troubadors. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Briffault [Apr 2006]

See also: anthropology - French literature

2006, Apr 28; 19:05 ::: Marcel De Keukeleire ('Birdy dance' and 'Born to be Alive')

In search of popular music.

Marcel De Keukeleire was a Belgian music producer who was based in Mouscron. In the 1970s and 1980s he wrote - with Jean Van Loo - a number of worldwide hits including:

  • J.J. Lionel - Danse des Canards listen here
  • Patrick Hernandez - Born to be alive
  • Chocolate Boys - Brazilia Carnaval
  • Amadeo - Moving Like a Superstar
  • Crazy Horse

There was a documentary film on Jean Van Loo and Marcel de Keukeleire on European television station Arte on July 21 2003.

Two titles are of special importance due to the enormous volume of records sold: Patrick Hernandez's 'Born to be alive' and 'Danse des Canards' (English title: 'the chicken dance'.)

Wikipedia has this on the 'Chicken Dance':

The "Chicken Dance" oom-pah song was composed by a Swiss accordion (Handharmonika) player Werner Thomas from Davos, Switzerland in the 1950s. The name of the original song was Der Ententanz (The Duck Dance). Since 1963 he played it in restaurants, people used to dance to the tune, and by the end of 1970s it was played all over the world. On some recorded releases of the music Werner Thomas is listed as the composer, while on others other authors are listed, e.g., as "Thomas/Rendall/Hose", probably including the authors of the particular arrangement. Since then the song has become known under numerous other "birdie" names, including "Vogerltanz" (Bird Dance), "Danse des Canards", "Chicken Dance" and "Dance Little Bird". Over 140 versions of it are recorded worldwide, including Walt Disney Records, together making over 40,000,000 records.

So, contrary to some misconceptions, it is not an Austrian folk dance.

In the United States, the publishing rights for the song were acquired by a New York publisher Stanley Mills.

It has become popular in the USA as a German heritage song, and has been likewise adopted by people worldwide of many cultures since its creation. It has become a staple dance at weddings and at Oktoberfests. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_Dance [Apr 2006]

What was Marcel De Keukeleire's role in the 'Chicken Dance' song? He wrote French lyrics to the instrumental. Not poetic lyrics, just a description on how to dance to the song. His version was vocalized by J.J. Lionel. [Apr 2006]

See also: popular music - music in Belgium

2006, Apr 28; 19:05 ::: The Unfortunate Traveller (1594) - Thomas Nashe

The Unfortunate Traveller (1594) - Thomas Nashe [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Cover illustration from Les Grandes Misères de la Guerre (1633) by Jacques Callot

The Unfortunate Traveller by Thomas Nashe (1594) is a picaresque novel set during the reign of Henry VIII of England.

The narrator, Jack Wilton, describes his adventures as a page during the wars against the French, and his subsequent travels in Italy as page to the Earl of Surrey. In his travels, Jack witnesses numerous atrocities, including battlefields, plague, and rape: at one point he is nearly hanged, and at another, he is on the point of being cut up in a live anatomy demonstration. Jack's narrative climaxes by describing the brutal revenge taken by one Italian on another, who forces him to pray to the devil and then shoots him in the throat: Jack himself escapes and returns to England. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unfortunate_Traveller [Apr 2006]

See also: 1500s - picaresque - British literature

2006, Apr 28; 19:05 ::: Death on the Installment Plan (1936) - Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Death on the Installment Plan (1936) - Louis-Ferdinand Céline [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Death on the Installment Plan, also translated as Death on Credit, (original French title: Mort à crédit) is an existential novel by author Louis-Ferdinand Céline, published in 1936.

In 'Death on the Installment Plan', Ferdinand Bardamu, Céline's alter ego, is a doctor in Paris, treating the poor who seldom pay him but take every advantage of his availability. The action is not continuous but goes back in time to earlier memories and often moves into fantasy, especially in Bardamu's sexual escapades; the style becomes deliberately rougher and sentences disintegrate to catch the flavour of the teeming world of everyday Parisian tragedies, struggles to make a living, illness, venereal disease, the sordid stories of families whose destiny is governed by their own stupidity, malice, lust and greed.

It is referenced in the autobiographical first chapter of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_on_the_Installment_Plan [Apr 2006]

From the publisher
Louis-Ferdinand Celine's second novel continues the style of black humor and the delirious but immediate prose that made the author instantly famous in his native France in the aftermath of World War I. Celine's goal was to create a kind of literature that described people in honest terms, unembellished by the conventions of fiction, no matter how mean and crummy they were, and to portray them in the real language of everyday life and thought. He succeeds darkly and brilliantly in Death on the Installment Plan, yet it is also a sweet kind of book, a young boy's coming-of-age tale, struggling with his parents and looking for his own kind of personal freedom.

The hundreds of pages spent with Courtial des Pereires (the hot air ballooner), in their manic schemes and unrestrained rhetoric, speak of the joy of the crazy dreams we all harbor and their manipulation by those just a bit more avaricious and crafty than the rest of us. [Apr 2006]

See also: 1936 - Céline - French literature

2006, Apr 28; 19:05 ::: Music tips

Reggae: "Militant" () - Andrew Bees
The Black Uhuru singer storms through Rome on this tearaway digi roots cut from 1993. Expert dubbing of an irresistible bubblers B-line, seething electronics and fluent truths and rights. Comes with the version; two more songs, Things A Gwaan and Life In The Ghetto. --http://www.basicchannel.com/item/BRAB-001 [Apr 2006]

See also: reggae

World music: Amadou & Mariam
Amadou and Mariam are a musical duo from Mali, composed of the couple Mariam Doumbia (vocals) (born in Mali's capital Bamako 15 April 1958) and Amadou Bagayoko (guitar and vocals) (born in Bamako 24 October 1954). The pair, known as "the blind couple from Mali" met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind, and found they shared an interest in music. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amadou_et_Mariam [Apr 2006]

See also: African music - world music

2006, Apr 26; 19:05 ::: Don Quixote as first modern man

The formative work for the Atlantic cultural ecology, one that shows the shift from medievalism to modernism, is Cervantes's Don Quixote, a work that for quite different reasons both McLuhan and Foucault chose as the exemplar of cultural transformation. Inspired by a fantastic literature, the equivalent of the communications media of our day, the solitary knight of the sad countenance rides forth in pursuit of a lost culture. Precisely when the traditional Culture is about to break up, when the universal ecclesia is about to be replaced by a universal economy, and when the aristocrat on his horse is about to be replaced by the capitalist, the last knight rides forth. But Don Quixote is not so much a man of the past as of the future. The individual alone with his fantasies, fantasies that alter his very perception of reality, is not a man of the medieval Or the classical world. He is the first modern man whose world view has been transformed, not by parents or priests, but by the media [i.e. fantastic literature (chivalric romances)]. Precisely because modernism is a wrenching away of the solitary individual from the traditional community, madness becomes the concern of the new age of the mind. Whether we are gazing at the paintings of Bosch, or hearing the cry of Lear on the heath, or watching Don Quixote wear a barber's bowl and call it Mambrino's helmet, we are trying to come to terms with the manner in which the mind creates reality for itself. --http://www.ross.org/WebSite_98/applicants/4ecologies.htm [Apr 2006]

See also: chivalric romance - Don Quixote - modernity

2006, Apr 26; 19:05 ::: Amadis and Don Quixote

It has often been said, and is still sometimes repeated by good students of Cervantes, that his main object in writing "Don Quixote" was to put an end to the influence of the romances of chivalry. It is true that these romances were the fashionable reading of his age, that many of them were trash, and that some of them were pernicious trash. It is true also that the very scheme of his book lends itself to a scathing exposure of their weaknesses, and that the moral is pointed in the scene of the Inquisition of the Books, where the priest, the barber, the housekeeper, and the niece destroy the greater part of his library by fire. But how came it that Cervantes knew the romances so well, and dwelt on some of their incidents in such loving detail? Moreover, it is worth noting that not a few of them are excluded by name from the general condemnation. "Amadis of Gaul" is spared, because it is "the best of all book of the kind." Equal praise is given to "Palmerin of England"; while of "Triante the White" the priest himself declares that it is a treasure of delight and a mine of pastime. --http://www.blupete.com/Literature/Essays/Best/RaleighQuixote.htm [Apr 2006]

See also: chivalric romance - Don Quixote - Amadis

2006, Apr 26; 19:05 ::: Association

"The human mind . . . operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain." Vannevar Bush, As We May Think (1945)

Association (psychology)
In psychology and marketing, two concepts or stimuli are associated when the experience of one leads to the effects of another, due to repeated pairing. This is sometimes called Pavlovian association for Ivan Pavlov's pioneering of classical conditioning.

Association is a widely used memory trick. Associating a new item (an object, a picture, a smell or anything else a person may wish to recall) to another, more easily-remembered item can allow you to think of them both. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_%28psychology%29 [Apr 2006]

See also: psychology - link

2006, Apr 25; 19:05 ::: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) - James Hogg

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) - James Hogg [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Illustration by William Blake.

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner was published by the Scottish author James Hogg (1770-1835) in 1824. A classic gothic tale of good vs. evil set in a pseudo-Christian world of angels, devils, and demonic possession, this novel is on the rise in academic circles and has received wide acclaim for its probing quest into the nature of religious fanaticism and Calvinist predestination.

On the surface the novel is a simple tale of a man meeting the devil and the various misadventures that subsequently follow, but on closer inspection the reader begins to doubt and question the most basic events in this tremendously complex novel. The "Devil", known only to the reader and Robert Wringham himself as Gil Martin appears to Robert after being told that he is one of the Just; a group of people who will go to heaven when they die no matter what. Extremely vulnerable at this point, Gil Martin could be the Devil. However, in Roberts fragile state, he has no companionship whatsoever, and so Gil Martin could infact be a figment of Roberts imagination. The novel is told by three main narrators, all of whom contradict each other and offer their own explanations for everything that has happened.

The novel has been cited as an inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde which examines the duality of good and evil. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Private_Memoirs_and_Confessions_of_a_Justified_Sinner [Apr 2006]

See also: 1800s literature - British literature - private - good - evil - 1820s - sin - gothic novel

2006, Apr 23; 19:05 ::: Lovecraft on Goya

Any magazine-cover hack can splash paint around wildly and call it a nightmare or a Witches' Sabbath or a portrait of the devil, but only a great painter can make such a thing really scare or ring true. That's because only a real artist knows the actual anatomy of the terrible or the physiology of fear- the exact sort of lines and proportions that connect up with latent instincts or hereditary memories of fright, and the proper colour contrasts and lighting effects to stir the dormant sense of strangeness. I don't have to tell you why a Fuseli really brings a shiver while a cheap ghost-story frontispiece merely makes us laugh. There's something those fellows catch- beyond life- that they're able to make us catch for a second. Doré had it. [Sidney] Sime has it. Angarola of Chicago has it.


I don't believe anybody since Goya could put so much of sheer hell into a set of features or a twist of expression. And before Goya you have to go back to the mediaeval chaps who did the gargoyles and chimaeras on Notre Dame and Mont Saint-Michel. -- H. P. Lovecraft, written in 1926, published October 1927 in Weird Tales, sourced via http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Pickman%27s_Model [Apr 2006]

See also: Goya - Lovecraft

2006, Apr 23; 19:05 ::: The Devil's Elixir (1815/16) - E. T. A. Hoffmann

The Devil's Elixir (1815/16) - E. T. A. Hoffmann [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

On the motif of the doppelgänger in the era of the ghost stories and Gothic novels. E.T.A. Hoffmann wrote two famous novellas with the motif of the doppelgänger, The Devil's Elixir (1814) and Princess Brambilla (1820). Edgar Allen Poe, too, tells his version of the doppelgänger story in William Wilson (1839).

(The Devil's Elixir, 2 volumes, 1815/16)

German romanticism seems to have interacted with the Gothic craze in England by fairly direct translation. Hoffmann's first literary work, and only completed novel Die Elixiere des Teufels (The Devil's Elixir) was written in 1816, and translated into English in 1824, thence to a stage production (by Fitzball) with the alactricity characterising the period (as far as decadent young monks were concerned, anyhow). Hoffmann can, even in his short stories, be described as gothic; but if you take the term 'gothic' in it's literal sense this is hardly surprising. --http://www.tabula-rasa.info/DarkAges/Hoffmann.html [Apr 2006]

See also: 1810s - Hoffmann

2006, Apr 23; 19:05 ::: Edgar Allan Poe and E. T. A. Hoffmann

In response to accusations that the horror in his stories was derived from German literary sources, Edgar Allan Poe claimed in the Preface for the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque in 1840 that "if in many of my productions terror has been the thesis, I maintain that terror is not of Germany, but of the soul." (1) There are several indications, though, that Poe could have gained access to German literature and to E. T. A. Hoffmann's writings through Gillies's translation of The Devil's Elixirs, through Carlyle's publication of the German Romance, through Sir Walter Scott's essay on Hoffmann's use of the supernatural, or through readings of his own in English translation. As the editor of several prominent journals such as the Southern Literary Messenger, Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, Graham's Magazine, the Mirror, and the Broadway Journal, Poe was well acquainted with publications by European writers and even accused other American authors of plagiarizing their ideas. (2) While some critics have noted the similarities between "William Wilson" and The Devil's Elixirs, scholarship on the double in these works still requires further investigation beyond a positivistic approach. This article traces the developmental stages of the double in "William Wilson" and The Devil's Elixirs according to a reading of Freud's essay... --Patrick Labriola via http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5000818813 [Apr 2006]

See also: Poe - Hoffmann

2006, Apr 23; 19:05 ::: Modern Art Despite Modernism (2000) - Robert Storr

Modern Art Despite Modernism (2000) - Robert Storr [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

This text explores anti-modernist impulse, as exhibited in painting and sculpture through the social, political and cultural conflicts of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. It discusses taste and vulgarity, and the implications both past and present for institutions like the New York Museum of Modern Art. --via the publisher

Book Description
Throughout the 20th century, the evolution of mainstream modernism in the arts has been shadowed and complicated by alternative expressions, intended either to set back the clock or to redirect the stream of progress. Modern Art Despite Modernism explores the anti-modernist impulse as exhibited in painting and sculpture through the social, political, and cultural conflicts of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. Texts by Robert Storr remind the reader of the strengths of some of this work--paintings and drawings by Otto Dix, Lucian Freud, Francesco Clemente, and even Pablo Picasso--and of the enduring popularity of such artists as Pavel Tchelitchew, whose Hide and Seek, along with Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World, are among the public's favorite pictures. Storr also discusses taste and vulgarity and their implications, both part and present, for institutions like The Museum of Modern Art that are thought of as canon builders. This book was published as the second in a series of three titles, in conjunction with the millennial exhibitions schedule of MoMA2000 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. --via the publisher

See also: modern art - modernism

2006, Apr 23; 19:05 ::: Disparites & Deformations: Our Grotesque (2004) - Robert Storr

Disparites & Deformations: Our Grotesque (2004) - Robert Storr [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
Historically speaking, "grotesque" first referred to the bizarre motifs discovered in Nero's palaces in the 15th century--strange hybridities of plant, animal, and human forms. Such whimsies became fodder for Renaissance masters and later for Baroque, Rococo, Romantic, modern, and postmodern artists. For the Site Sante Fe Fifth International Biennial Exhibition, invited curator Robert Storr examines contemporary embodiments of the grotesque tradition in art, a spirit which unites formal opposites: emotional and intellectual conflicts, beauty and ugliness, delight and delirium, tragedy and comedy. Producing an art of revelatory impurities that encompasses both the wondrous and the disturbing, the grotesque has informed many of the key postmodern movements in art and culture. The Biennial brings together internationally known artists working in a wide range of media, subject matter, and conceptual and aesthetic approaches, including Louise Bourgeois, Bruce Conner, Inka Essenhigh, Tom Friedman, Ellen Gallagher, Robert Gober, Douglas Gordon, Paul McCarthy, Sigmar Polke, Susan Rothenberg, Jenny Saville, Cindy Sherman, and Kara Walker. Essay by Robert Storr.

See also: grotesque art

2006, Apr 23; 19:05 ::: Seven Gothic Tales (1934) - Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)

Seven Gothic Tales (1934) - Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Karen von Blixen-Finecke (April 17, 1885 – September 7, 1962), neé Dinesen, was a Danish author also known under her pen name Isak Dinesen. Blixen wrote works both in Danish and in English. She is best known, at least in English, for "Out of Africa", her account of living in Kenya, and for a film based on one of her stories, Babette's Feast. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Blixen [Apr 2006]

Seven tales: The Old Chevalier, The Roads Round Pisa, The Monkey, The Supper at Elsinore, The Dreamers, The Poet, and The Deluge at Norderney.

See also: 1900s literature - gothic literature - Denmark - 1934

2006, Apr 23; 19:05 ::: Robert Gober

Robert Gober Google gallery

Robert Gober (born September 12, 1954) is an American sculptor born in Connecticut. He lives and works in New York City. He has had many exhibitions in Europe, North America and Japan. One of his most well known series of works was of sculptures of sinks. He has made many sculptures of everyday objects, showing familiar things as well as strange ones. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Gober [Apr 2006]

See also: American art - contemporary art - grotesque art

2006, Apr 21; 19:05 ::: The collected works of Nathanael West (1975) - Nathanael West

The collected works of Nathanael West (1975) - Nathanael West [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Nathanael West (October 17, 1903 - December 22, 1940) was the pen name of Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein.

Though West did little schoolwork at Brown, he read extensively. He ignored the realist fiction of his American contemporaries in favor of French surrealists and British and Irish poets of the 1890s, especially Oscar Wilde. West was interested in unusual literary style as well as unusual content.

West barely finished college with a degree. He then went to Paris for three months, and it was at this point that he changed his name to Nathanael West. West's family, who had supported him thus far, ran into financial difficulties in the late 1920s. West returned home and worked sporadically in construction for his father, eventually finding a job as the night manager of the Kenmore Hotel on East 23rd Street in Manhattan. One of West's real-life experiences at the hotel inspired the incident between Romola Martin and Homer Simpson that would later appear in The Day of the Locust.

If one were to draw a family tree of authors who employed "black humour" in their works of fiction, West could be seen as the offspring of Gogol and Poe, and the progenitor of Saul Bellow, Vladimir Nabokov, and Martin Amis (whose use of movingly inarticulate E-mails in Yellow Dog are a 21st century echo of the letters to Miss Lonelyhearts).

Most of West's fiction is, in one way or another, a response to the Depression that hit America with the stock market crash in October 1929 and continued throughout the 1930s. The obscene, garish landscapes of The Day of the Locust gain added force in light of the fact that the remainder of the country was living in drab poverty at the time. West saw the American dream as having been betrayed, both spiritually and materially, in the years of this economic depression. This idea of the corrupt American dream West pioneered has endured long after his death: indeed, the poet W.H. Auden coined the term "West's disease" to refer to poverty that exists in both a spiritual and economic sense. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathanael_West [Apr 2006]

Nathanael West used the concept and remarkable black humour of Poe's "The Man That Was Used Up" in his third novel, A Cool Million. [Apr 2006]

See also: tradition of the grotesque - black humour - American literature

2006, Apr 21; 19:05 ::: Freaks: Myths and images of the secret self (1978) - Leslie A Fiedler

Freaks: Myths and images of the secret self (1978) - Leslie A Fiedler [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

See also: freak - Leslie Fiedler

2006, Apr 21; 19:05 ::: Chris Rodley

Chris Rodley is a documentary filmmaker and editor of non-fiction books. A selected bibliography includes Lynch on Lynch, Cronenberg on Cronenberg. A selected filmography includes Pornography - The Secret History of Civilisation (1999), Andy Warhol - The Complete Picture, Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance (1998), Naked Making Lunch (1992) (producer) and Sam Peckinpah: Man of Iron (1992).

See also: Sam Peckinpah - Donald Cammell - David Cronenberg - David Lynch

2006, Apr 20; 19:05 ::: High modernism

High modernism is a particular instance of modernism, coined towards the end of modernism. The term is used in literature, criticism, music and the visual arts, and is closely associated with anthropologist and political scientist James C. Scott.

See also: high modernism - low modernism

2006, Apr 19; 19:05 ::: Conventional wisdom

Conventional wisdom is a term coined by the economist John Kenneth Galbraith in The Affluent Society, used to describe certain ideas or explanations that are generally accepted as true by the public.

Conventional wisdom may be either true or false. Many urban legends, for example are accepted on the basis of being "conventional wisdom". Conventional wisdom is also often seen as an obstacle to introducing new theories, explanations, or revisionism.

The idea of Conventional Wisdom is also used in a political sense, often related closely with the phenomenon of Talking Points. It is used pejoratively to refer to the idea that statements which are repeated over and over become conventional wisdom regardless of whether or not they are true. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conventional_wisdom [Apr 2006]

See also: reality - The Social Construction of Reality - convention - knowledge - truth - the public

previous issues

your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

Managed Hosting by NG Communications