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Currently reading: Bread and Circuses (1983) - Patrick Brantlinger

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2006, June 13; 19:05 ::: Le Voyageur (1972) - Schizo

Le Voyageur (1972) - Schizo
cover of the 7" vinyl

Nietzsche lyrics recited by Deleuze:

« Qui est parvenu, ne serait-ce que dans une certaine mesure, à la liberté de la raison ne peut rien se sentir d’autre sur terre que voyageur, - pour un voyage, toutefois, qui ne tend pas vers un but dernier : car il n’y en a pas. Mais enfin, il regardera, les yeux ouverts à tout ce qui se passe en vérité dans le monde ; aussi ne devra-t-il pas attacher trop fortement son cœur à rien de particulier ; il faut qu’il y ait en lui une part vagabonde, dont le plaisir soit dans le changement et le passage… » --from The Wanderer, in the first volume of Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human

English version: "He who has attained the freedom of reason to any extent cannot, for a long time, regard himself otherwise than as a wanderer on the face of the earth - and not even as a traveller towards a final goal, for there is no such thing. But he certainly wants to observe and keep his eyes open to whatever actually happens in the world; therefore he cannot attach his heart too firmly to anything individual; he must have in himself something wandering that takes pleasure in change and transitoriness." --from The Wanderer, in the first volume of Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human

See also: 1972 - Richard Pinhas - French music - Gilles Deleuze - Underground Moderne (2001) - Various artists - Nietzsche

2006, June 13; 19:05 ::: Homme machine (1747) - Julien Offray de La Mettrie

Homme machine (1747) - Julien Offray de La Mettrie
London : Printed for G. Smith, 1750.
Man a machine : wherein the several systems of philosophers, in respect to the soul of man, are examin'd, the different states of the soul are shewn to be co-relative to those of the body, the diversity between men and other animals, is proved to arise from the different quantity and quality of brains, the law of nature is explained, as relative to the whole animal creation, the immateriality of an inward principle is by experiments and observations exploded, and a full detail is given of the several springs which move the human machine / translated from the French of Mons. de La Mettrie.

La Mettrie's Man a machine is the culmination of the mechanistic physiology which had its origins in the late Renaissance and was given new impetus by Descartes. In fact, Man a machine is heavily dependent upon Descartes' Treatise of Man in spite of La Mettrie's criticisms of Descartes. To many it was the natural extension of Descartes bête machine doctrine and smacked of materialism. --http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/libraries/rare/modernity/lamettrie.html [Jun 2006]

Julien Offray de La Mettrie (December 25, 1709 - November 11, 1751) was a French physician and philosopher, the earliest of the materialist writers of the Enlightenment. He has been claimed as a founder of cognitive science. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julien_Offray_de_La_Mettrie [Jun 2006]

See also: 1740s - robots - materialism - enlightenment

2006, June 13; 19:05 ::: Crimes of Art + Terror (2003) - Frank Lentricchia, Jody McAuliffe

Crimes of Art + Terror (2003) - Frank Lentricchia, Jody McAuliffe [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Do killers, artists, and terrorists need one another? In "Crimes of Art and Terror, Frank Lentricchia and Jody McAuliffe explore the disturbing adjacency of literary creativity to violence and even political terror. Lentricchia and McAuliffe begin by anchoring their penetrating discussions in the events of 9/11 and the scandal provoked by composer Karlheinz Stockhausen's reference to the destruction of the World Trade Center as a great work of art, and they go on to show how political extremism and avant-garde artistic movements have fed upon each other for at least two centuries.

"Crimes of Art and Terror reveals how the desire beneath many romantic literary visions is that of a terrifying awakening that would undo the West's economic and cultural order. This is also the desire, of course, of what is called terrorism. As the authority of writers and artists recedes, it is criminals and terrorists, Lentricchia and McAuliffe suggest, who inherit this romantic, destructive tradition. Moving freely between the realms of high and popular culture, and fictional and actual criminals, the authors describe a web of impulses that catches an unnerving spirit.

Lentricchia and McAuliffe's unorthodox approach pairs Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment with Martin Scorsese's "King of Comedy" and connects the real-life Unabomber to the surrealist Joseph Cornell and to the hero of Bret Easton Ellis's bestselling novel "American Psycho. They evoke a desperate culture of art through thematic dialogues among authors and filmmakers as varied as Don DeLillo, Joseph Conrad, Francis Ford Coppola, Jean Genet, Frederick Douglass, Hermann Melville, and J. M. Synge, among others. And they conclude provocatively with an imagined conversation between Heinrich von Kleist and Mohamed Atta. The result is a brilliant and unflinching reckoning with the perilous proximity of the impulse to create transgressive art and the impulse to commit violence. --from the cover

See also: art horror - terrorism

2006, June 13; 19:05 ::: Nature

On the one hand, leading Enlightenment thinkers like Denis Diderot (1713—1784) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712—1778) believed that unspoiled nature offered a foundation for both moral behavior and harmonious relations between the individual and society.

On the other hand, the Marquis Donatien-Alphonse-Francois de Sade (1740—1814), Baron Paul Dietrich d'Holbach (1723—1789), Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (1741—1803), and others argued that nature was profoundly riven by inner tensions, contradictions, and disruptive forces: natural drives were ethically neutral or even blindly amoral and thus could not provide a foundation on which to build a peaceful society. --Stepchildren of Nature: Krafft-Ebing, Psychiatry, and the Making of Sexual Identity (2000) - Harry Oosterhuis

Noble savage
In the 18th century culture of "Primitivism" the noble savage, uncorrupted by the influences of civilization was considered more worthy, more authentically noble than the contemporary product of civilized training. Although the phrase noble savage first appeared in Dryden's The Conquest of Granada (1672), the idealized picture of "nature's gentleman" was an aspect of 18th-century Sentimentalism, among other forces at work.

[...] The concept appears in many further books of early 19th century. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein forms one of the better-known examples: her monster embodies the ideal. German author Karl May employed the idea extensively in his Wild West stories. Aldous Huxley provided a later example in his novel Brave New World. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_savage [Jun 2006]

See also: 18th century literature - primitive - savage - Romanticism - nature - good - morals

2006, June 13; 19:05 ::: “All is good when it is excessive”

In French: Tout est bon quand il est excessif via La Nouvelle Justine (1795) - Marquis de Sade

Google book search

See also: Marquis de Sade - good - excess - morals

2006, June 13; 19:05 ::: Beyond Good And Evil (1886) - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Beyond Good And Evil (1886) - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Jenseits von Gut und Böse) is a major 19th century philosophical work by Friedrich Nietzsche.

First published in 1886 at Nietzsche's own expense, the book was not initially considered important. In it, Nietzsche denounced what he considered to be the moral vacuity of 19th century thinkers. He attacked philosophers for what he considered to be their lack of critical sense and their blind acceptance of Christian premises in their considerations of morality and values. Beyond Good and Evil is a comprehensive overview of Nietzsche's mature philosophy, written partly with the motive of giving further explanation to ideas presented in his previous work, Also Sprach Zarathustra (or Thus Spoke Zarathustra). Nietzsche's next book, On the Genealogy of Morals, is meant to serve by way of "suplementation and clarification" to Beyond Good and Evil, and so should be read in this context. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyond_Good_and_Evil [Jun 2006]

Master-Slave Morality
Master-Slave Morality is the theme of some of Friedrich Nietzsche's works. Nietzsche argued that there were two types of morality, a master morality that springs actively from the 'noble man' and a slave morality that develops reactively within the weak man. These two moralities are not simple inversions of one another, they are two different value systems; master morality fits actions into a scale of 'good' or 'bad' whereas slave morality fits actions into a scale of 'good' or 'evil'. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master-Slave_Morality [Jun 2006]

See also: master - slave - morals - 1886 - Nietzsche - good - evil

Google book search

2006, June 13; 19:05 ::: The Unmaking of Fascist Aesthetics (2002) - Kriss Ravetto

The Unmaking of Fascist Aesthetics (2002) - Kriss Ravetto [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The dynamic revision of fascism as homoerotic serves simultaneously to offer queer politics (by association with a sublime, powerful sign of abjection) an attractive means of threatening heterosexual politics and to return this means of transgression to a moral repudiation of homosexuality. --page 71

Note the image on the cover, from The Night Porter (1974), which is also used on the cover of Sex Drives: Fantasies of Fascism in Literary Modernism (2002) by Laura Catherine Frost.

Book Description
Amid the charged debate over whether-and how-the Holocaust can be represented, films about fascism, nazis, and the Final Solution keep coming. And in works by filmmakers from Bertolucci to Spielberg, debauched images of nazi and fascist eroticism, symbols of violence and immorality, often bear an uncanny resemblance to the images and symbols once used by the fascists themselves to demarcate racial, sexual, and political others. This book exposes the "madness" inherent in such a course, which attests to the impossibility of disengaging visual and rhetorical constructions from political, ideological, and moral codes. In a brilliant analysis with ramifications far beyond the realm of film, Kriss Ravetto argues that contemporary discourses using such devices actually continue unacknowledged rhetorical, moral, and visual analogies of the past. Against postwar fictional and historical accounts of World War II in which generic images of evil characterize the nazi and the fascist, Ravetto sets the different, more complex approach of such filmmakers as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Liliana Cavani, and Lina Wertmüller. Rather than reassuring viewers of the triumph of the forces of Good over the forces of Evil and the reinstitution of ethical values, these filmmakers confound the binary oppositions that produce clear and identifiable heroes and villains. Here we see how their work-complicating conventions of gender identity, class identifications, and the economy of victim and victimizer-disturbs rather than reassures the audience seeking relief from a sense of "bad history." Drawing on history, philosophy, critical theory, film, literature, and art, Ravetto demonstrates the complex relationship of thinking about fascism with moral discourse, sexual politics, and economic practices. Her book asks us to think deeply about what it means to say that we have conquered fascism, when the aesthetics of fascism still describe and determine how we look at political figures and global events.

Kriss Ravetto teaches film history, criticism, philosophy, media, and gender studies in the Department of Critical Studies at California Institute of the Arts.

Google book search

See also: gender - queer theory - fascism - aesthetics

2006, June 12; 19:05 ::: Mass Culture the Popular Arts in America (1957) - Bernard Rosenberg & David Manning White (Editor)

Mass Culture the Popular Arts in America (1957) - Bernard Rosenberg & David Manning White (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
Comprehensive collection of writings on mass culture in film, literature, radio, TV, advertising, and popular music. Forty nine articles by varied writers including Alexis de Tocqueville, Walt Whitman, S.I Hayakawa, Marshall McLuhan, Hortense Powdermaker, and George Orwell. Articles include: "Avant-Garde and Kitch", "The Problem of Paperbacks", "Simenon and Spillane: The Metaphysics of Murder for the Millions", "How to Read L'il Abner Intelligently", "Mass Appeal and Minority Tastes", "Popular Songs vs. the Fact of Life", and "Popular Culture and the Open Society". The writers address the question "Should we adopt the classic intellectual rejection of mass culture, or should we give mass culture our critical support?" The Free Press engage two editor who were in radical disagreement on this question in order to be certain that both sides were well supported.

Google book search

See also: mass culture - American culture - popular culture

2006, June 12; 19:05 ::: Pandora's Handbag (2001) - Elizabeth Young

Pandora's Handbag (2001) - Elizabeth Young [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
For many years, Elizabeth Young has been one of the few critics in England to champion new writing and the avant-garde. Pandora's Handbag is a unique combination of autobiography, commentary, published journalism and writer's guide for would-be Arts journalists. A riveting read, the book contains revealing interviews with Herbert Huncke, Jayne County, Dennis Cooper, Edward Gorey and Poppy Z. Brite, amongst others.

Elizabeth Young
Elizabeth Young (1950-2001) was a London-based literary critic and author, who wrote principally on cult writers for a range of British newspapers and magazines. In particular she championed transgressive fiction, for which she received some criticism in the press, not least for her defence of A. M. Homes' The End of Alice, which dealt with themes of paedophilia from what was seen as an uncomfortably neutral perspective.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria she received a Calvinist education in her parents' native Scotland, before discovering at the age of 11 the works of Nelson Algren, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. The enduring fascination with the Beats was to stay with her. Before becoming a literary critic she worked in the Compendium Bookstore in Camden Town and was noted for her Goth appearance. In addition to literary criticism, Young's attraction to the counterculture saw her pen articles on drugs, music and pornography. She also appeared as Roy Gange's girlfriend in Rude Boy, the 1980 film about a roadie for The Clash.

Young acted as a champion for the US cult scene, with authors such as Brett Easton Ellis, Dennis Cooper and A. M. Homes receiving regular praise in her reviews. She also promoted the early talents of Poppy Z. Brite. In 1992, she and Graham Cavaney published Shopping in Space: Essays on American 'Blank Generation' Fiction (Serpent's Tail), which dealt extensively with the US literary underground, from Joel Rose to grindhouse movies. In terms of UK writers, she acted as an enthusiastic supporter of the talents of Stewart Home, Alasdair Gray, Alan Warner and Irvine Welsh.

In 2001, Young died somewhat untimely from Hepatitis C. Later that year, a selection of her reviews and articles were collated in a volume published by Serpent's Tail, Pandora's Handbag, for which friend Will Self penned the introduction. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Young [Jun 2006]

Google book search

See also: Pandora - cult fiction - British literature

2006, June 12; 19:05 ::: Causal relation between viewing violence on TV and aggressive behavior

Television and Growing Up: The Impact of Televised Violence. Report to the Surgeon General United States Public Health Service. (1972)

Abstract: A request by Senator John O. Pastore for an inquiry into the effect of televised crime and violence and anti-social behavior by individuals resulted in the formation of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior. The committee report consists of the conclusions reached by 12 behavioral scientists after a review of 40 original research reports and of previously available literature on the effects of televised violence on the tendency of children toward aggressive behavior. The committee considered two major sources of evidence on effects of viewing violence and aggression on TV: evidence from experimental studies, and evidence from surveys. The two sets of findings were found to converge in three respects: "a preliminary and tentative indication of a causal relation between viewing violence on TV and aggressive behavior; an indication that any such causal relation operates only on some children (who are predisposed to be aggressive); and an indication that it operates only in some environmental contexts." The committee also identified areas for future research. (SH)

See also: television - aestheticization of violence - censorship - PG

2006, June 12; 19:05 ::: And in all his body was nowhere a body's shape

Among Romans, spectacles of violence had many celebrants and few outspoken challengers. The poet Martial, in his De Spectaculis, written in A.D. 80 for the inauguration of the Colosseum, conveyed the magnificence of the fights and wild beast hunts in evocative tones. Speaking of a condemned criminal who, "hanging on no unreal cross gave up his vitals to a Caledonian bear," Martial described his mangled limbs as still living, "though the parts dripped gore, and in all his body was nowhere a body's shape. A punishment deserved at length he won." This death was staged as a performance of the story of Laureolus, a famous bandit leader who had been captured and crucified. This was a favorite subject for dramatic enactment, but as Martial pointed out, the victim in this instance was "hanging on no unreal cross," and his agony was compounded by exposure to the bear. --1998 Sissela Bok via http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/b/bok-mayhem.html [Jun 2006]

2006, June 12; 19:05 ::: Visiting support group meetings for fun

Edward Norton's social life consists of attending support group meetings for those afflicted with problems he hasn't got, one of which is a group for testicular cancer survivors. He uses the meetings as a vicarious source of emotional release. Helena Bonham Carter starts disrupting his enjoyment of these meetings by showing up with more or less the same purpose, also faking her way through groups. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight_Club_%28film%29 [Jun 2006]

See also: catharsis - group - aestheticization of violence - Chuck Palahniuk - Fight Club (1996) - vicarious

2006, June 12; 19:05 ::: Alypius and violent Roman games

One day, young Alypius (an early bishop of the Catholic Church during the 5th century A.D.), who had extremely strong moral beliefs was taken by friends to watch violent Roman games in the arena. He initially resists this, keeping his eyes shut, but he is unable to control himself because of the sounds and eventually succumbs and opens his eyes. To his horror, he finds himself enjoying the spectacle and even invites other friends to come with him later. However, he eventually repents of this and returns to the spiritual fold. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alypius_of_Thagaste [Jun 2006]

Alypius went to Rome ahead of me to study law and there, strange to relate, he became obsessed with an extraordinary craving for gladiatorial shows.  At first he detested these displays and refused to attend them.  But one day during the season for this cruel and bloodthirsty sport he happened to meet some friends and fellow-students returning from their dinner.  In a friendly way they brushed aside his resistance and his stubborn protests and carried him off to the arena.

"You can drag me there bodily," he protested, "but do you imagine that you can make me watch the show and give my mind to it?  I shall be there, but it will be just as if I were not present, and I shall prove myself stronger than you or the games."

He did not manage to deter them by what he said, and perhaps the very reason why they took him with them was to discover whether he would be as good as his word.  When they arrived at the arena, the place was seething with the lust for cruelty.  They found seats as best they could and Alypius shut his eyes tightly, determined to have nothing to do with these atrocities.  If only he had closed his ears as well!  For an incident in the fight drew a great roar from the crowd, and this thrilled him so deeply that he could not contain his curiosity.  Whatever had caused the uproar, he was confident that, if he saw it, he would find it repulsive and remain master of himself.  So he opened his eyes, and his soul was stabbed with a wound more deadly than any which the gladiator, whom he was so anxious to see, had received in his body.  He fell, and fell more pitifully than the man whose fall had drawn that roar of excitement from the crowd.  The din had pierced his ears and forced him to open his eyes, laying his soul upon to receive the wound which struck it down.  This was presumption, not courage.  The weakness of his soul was in relying upon itself instead of trusting in You.

When he saw the blood, it was as though he had drunk a deep draught of savage passion.  Instead of turning away, he fixed his eyes upon the scene and drank in all its frenzy, unaware of what he was doing.  He revelled in the wickedness of the fighting and was drunk with the fascination of bloodshed.  He was no longer the man who had come to the arena, but simply one of the crowd which he had joined, a fit companion for the friends who had brought him.

Need I say more?  He watched and cheered and grew hot with excitement, and when he left the arena, he carried away with him a diseased mind which would leave him no peace until he came back again, no longer simply together with the friends who had first dragged him there, but at their head, leading new sheep to the slaughter.  Yet You stretched out Your almighty, ever merciful hand, O God, and rescued him from this madness.  You taught him to trust in You, not in himself.  But this was much later.

(From the Confessions of St. Augustine, Book 4, Section 8, translated by R. S. Pine-Coffin, published by Penguin Classics.) --via http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/ob/ob005.htm

See also: violence - game - circus - Rome

2006, June 12; 19:05 ::: Opium of the people

"Religion is the opium of the people" (translated from the German "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes") is one of the most frequently quoted statements of Karl Marx, from the introduction of his 1843 work Contribution to Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_of_the_people [Jun 2006]

See also: 1843 - Marx - opium - religion

2006, June 12; 19:05 ::: Painful voluptuousness

Almost everything we call “higher culture” is based on the spiritualization of cruelty, on its becoming more profound: this is my proposition. That “savage animal” has not really been “mortified”; it lives and flourishes, it has merely become—divine. What constitutes the painful voluptuousness of tragedy is cruelty; what seems agreeable in so-called tragic pity, and at bottom in everything sublime, up to the highest and most delicate shudders of metaphysics, receives its sweetness solely from the admixture of cruelty. What the Roman in the arena, the Christian in the ecstasies of the cross, the Spaniard at an auto-da-fe or bullfight, the Japanese of today when he flocks to tragedies, the laborer in a Parisian suburb who feels a nostalgia for bloody revolutions, the Wagnerienne who “submits to” Tristan and Isolde, her will suspended—what all of them enjoy and seek to drink in with mysterious ardor are the spicy potions of the great Circe, “cruelty.” --Beyond Good and Evil (1886) - Nietzsche

See also: 1886 - Nietzsche - cruelty - tragedy

2006, June 12; 19:05 ::: Beat Girl (1960) - Edmond T. Gréville

Beat Girl (1960) - Edmond T. Gréville [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Tagline: My Mother was a stripper...I want to be a stripper too!

Beat Girl is a 1960 British film about the early youth culture made even before the "swinging" years. By later standards, it is laughably tame. Its teenage rebels aren't what you would expect - not only do they not engage in sex, nor do they get drunk, but hate booze, and have never heard of drugs - but the lead male hates fighting. The only recognizable genre characters are the Teddy Boys who start a fight at the end.

The film features Christopher Lee as a strip-joint operator. The music was done by a seven-player group of John Barry.

The lead name in all titles is that of Noelle Adam, a French actress. She does not play the "Beat Girl" of the title, but rather the young stepmother, only ten years older than the title character. The father is an "urban renewal" architect. Although the title character's mother went about in the jazz milieu, Adam plays a square. The title character is played by starlet Gillian Hills, who later had small roles in a number of 1960s and 1970s films. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_Girl [Jun 2006]

The French director of Beat Girl (1960), Edmond T. Gréville, also adapted Maurice Renard's The Hands of Orlac (1920) for film. [Jun 2006]

See also: 1960 - exploitation film - swinging sixties - yé-yé music - beat generation - youth culture - juvenile delinquency - British cinema

2006, June 12; 19:05 ::: Hara Kiri magazine covers

PCL Linkdump comes up with a nice set of Hara Kiri covers http://easydreamer.blogspot.com/2006/06/hara-kiri-covers.html

See also: Hara Kiri magazine - satire - French literature

2006, June 12; 19:05 ::: Cultural pessimism with regards to television

Three films that thematically deal with the dumbing down of man by television.

Inspired by Bread and Circuses (1983) - Patrick Brantlinger

In his book Bread and Circuses, Patrick Brantlinger analyzes the idea of "bread and circuses" as a narcotic for the masses throughout history. Though he never mentions Richard Dawkin's theory of memetics, the book is the history of a meme, a collection of related ideas replicating through history. Brantlinger defines as "negative classicism" the idea that Rome was decadent and that our society is sliding downhill to a Roman-style decadence. "The shade of Rome," says Brantlinger, "looms up to suggest the fate of societies that fail to elevate their masses to something better than welfare checks and mass entertainments." --http://www.spectacle.org/496/dream.html [Jun 2006]

See also: television - cultural pessimism - Patrick Brantlinger

2006, June 12; 19:05 ::: The two why's (2006) - Mirona Iliescu

In my twenties, I've been trying to answer the most revolting and persistent two why's in my life so far: why isn't my lover abusing this flesh more often, while it is at its peak and bursting with juices? Why isn't my boss exploiting my brain more often, while it is less perverted and less afraid? --http://gorgeoux.blogspot.com

2006, June 11; 19:05 ::: György Ligeti (1923 – 2006)

György Sándor Ligeti (May 28, 1923 – June 12, 2006) was a Jewish Hungarian composer (and was, at the time of his death, a citizen of Austria), widely seen as one of the great composers of instrumental music of the 20th century. Many of his works are well known in classical music circles, but among the general public, he is probably best known for his opera "Le Grand Macabre" and the various pieces which feature prominently in the Stanley Kubrick films 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gy%C3%B6rgy_Ligeti [Jun 2006]

See also: Eyes Wide Shut - classical music

2006, June 11; 19:05 ::: Phyllis and Aristotle (1513) - Hans Baldung Grien

Phyllis and Aristotle (1513) - Hans Baldung Grien

Lai d'Aristote
Henri d'Andeli, a thirteenth-century Norman poet, amused and scandalized French readers of his narrative the Lai is this: Aristotle, tutor and counselor to Alexander the Great, sought to separate the youthful monarch from his paramour--now usually known as Phyllis--who was absorbing all his time and energy, and causing him to neglect his political duties. Reluctantly, Alexander agreed to the separation, but soon revealed the fact to Phyllis. She thereupon contrived a scheme to nullify Aristotle's influence, aiming to regain her lover's attentions. --http://education.umn.edu/EdPA/iconics/lecture_hall/aristotle.htm [Jun 2006]

Les Dits d'Henri d'Anadeli, ed. Alain Corbellari, Classiques francais du Moyen Age

This timely and most welcome publication at last supersedes that of Heron (i88i) by offering excellent new editions of the four works commonly attributed to Henri d'Andeli: the riotous allegories of the Bataille des vins and the Bataille des sept arts, the moving Dit du Chancelier Philippe, and the best known of Henri's works, the Lai d'Aristote. The introductory material strikes an impressive balance between detail ...

See also: fabliaux - Phyllis - Aristotle - 1500s - Hans Baldung Grien

2006, June 11; 19:05 ::: The Reactionaries (1966) - John R. Harrison

Twenty years ago, a belligerent book was published entitled The Reactionaries by John Harrison, a British critic of sorts. Somewhat more attention was paid to it by reviewers than the book deserved, but it is now forgotten. In his pages Harrison scourged W.B. Yeats, Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and D.H. Lawrence for not celebrating the march of egalitarian progress in the world; if only he might demonstrate that these men of letters were political reactionaries, Harrison seemed to think, he would undo their literary reputations. --http://www.worldandi.com/specialreport/1987/january/Sa12377.htm [Jun 2006]

Having just finished John Carey's The Intellectuals and the Masses I find it strange that it wasn't mentioned in there, since both books deal with the same writers.

See also: 1966 - criticism - democracy - mass

2006, June 11; 19:05 ::: Marx's Lost Aesthetic : Karl Marx and the Visual Arts (1988) - Margaret A. Rose

In search of cultural marxism

Marx's Lost Aesthetic : Karl Marx and the Visual Arts (1988) - Margaret A. Rose [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

(Marx) ‘admired Balzac so much that he wished to write a review of his great work La Comédie humaine as soon as he had finished his book on economics. --page 154

Book Description
This book offers an original and challenging study of Marx's contact with the visual arts, aesthetic theories, and art policies in nineteenth-century Europe. It differs from previous discussions of Marxist aesthetic theory in looking at Marx's views from an art-historical rather than from a literary perspective, and in placing those views in the context of the art practices, theories, and policies of Marx's own time. Dr Rose begins her work by discussing Marx's planned treatise on Romantic art of 1842 against the background of the philosophical debates, cultural policies, and art practices of the 1840s, and looks in particular at the patronage given to the group of German artists known as the 'Nazarenes' in those years, who are discussed in relation to both the English Pre-Raphaelites, popular in the London known to Marx, and to the Russian Social Realists of the 1860s. The author goes on to consider claims of twentieth-century Marxist art theories and practices to have represented Marx's own views on art. The book the conflicting claims made on Marx's views by the Soviet avant-garde Constructivists of the 1920s and of the Socialist Realists who followed them are considered, and are related back to the aesthetic theories and practices discussed in the earlier chapters.

Google book search

See also: aesthetics - cultural Marxism - Marx - visual arts

2006, June 11; 19:05 ::: Marxism and Literary Criticism (1976) Terry Eagleton

In search of Terry Eagleton

Marxism and Literary Criticism (1976) Terry Eagleton [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

It is true, as Leon Trotsky remarked in Literature and Revolution (1924), that 'there are many people in this world who think as revolutionists and feel as philistines'; but Marx and Engels were not of this number.

[...] Art and literature were part of the very air Marx breathed, as a formidably cultured German intellectual in the great classical tradition of his society. --page 1

"Far and away the best short introduction to Marxist criticism (both history and problems) which I have seen."--Fredric R. Jameson

Google books link

Marxist literary criticism
Marxist literary criticism is a loose term describing literary criticism informed by the philosophy or the politics of Marxism. Its history is as long as Marxism itself, as both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels read widely (Marx had a great affection for Shakespeare, as well as contemporary writings like the work of his friend Heinrich Heine). In the twentieth century many of the foremost writers of Marxist theory have also been literary critics, from Georg Lukács to Fredric Jameson.

The simplest goals of Marxist literary criticism can include an assessment of the political "tendency" of a literary work, determining whether its social content or its literary form are "progressive"; however, this is by no means the only or the necessary goal. From Walter Benjamin to Fredric Jameson, Marxist literary critics have also been concerned with applying lessons drawn from the realm of aesthetics to the realm of politics. Marxist criticism can be about identifying the class struggle within a text. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxist_literary_criticism [Jun 2006]

See also: cultural Marxism - Terry Eagleton - literary criticism

2006, June 11; 19:05 ::: Figures of Dissent: Critical Essays on Fish, Spivak, Zizek and Others (2003) - Terry Eagleton

In search of Terry Eagleton

Figures of Dissent: Critical Essays on Fish, Spivak, Zizek and Others (2003) - Terry Eagleton [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Playwright, literary theorist, fine analyst of the works of Shakespeare, the Brontes, Swift and Joyce, scourge of postmodernism, autobiographer... Terry Eagleton's achievements are many and his combative intelligence widely admired and respected. His skill as a reviewer is particularly notable: never content merely to assess the ideas of a writer and the theses of a book, Eagleton, in his inimitable and often wickedly funny style, always paints a vivid theoretical and political fresco as the background to his engagement with the texts. In this collection of more than a decade of such bracing criticism, Eagleton comes face to face with Guardian Stanley Fish, Gayatri Spivak, Slavoj Zizek, Edward Said, and even David Beckham. All are subjected to his pugnacious wit, scathing critical pen, and brilliant literary investigations. Eagleton has confirmed his standing as second to none among cultural critics writing in the English language today.

See also: opposition - Terry Eagleton - Spivak - Slavoj Zizek - Edward Said

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