Thursday, March 27, 2014

D. H. Lawrence, Apocalypse

'The Apocalypse is the feet of clay to the grand Christian image. And down crashes the image, on the weakness of these very feet.
There is Jesus - but there is also John the Divine. There is Christian love - and there is Christian envy. The former would 'save' the world - the latter will never be satisfied till it has destroyed the world. They are two sides of the same medal.' 119

Monday, March 24, 2014

Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

'My memories are like the coins in the devil's purse: when it was opened, nothing was found in it but dead leaves.' (52)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


‘The innocent and unwary perish, but the party machines grind on: the faces may be different next time but the pressures will be the same, the compromises and dissimulations will still work to weaken and distort truth and honesty. Democratic processes will still be open to exploitation; the people will always believe that image which is most cleverly constructed, not that which is true, but less attractive. […] One exposure to the play should be enough to destroy our complacency about politics for ever.’
Brian Vickers, Shakespeare: Coriolanus. London: Edward Arnold, 1976. 56.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Virginia Woolf, Orlando

'High battlements of thought, habits that had seemed durable as stone, went down like shadows at the touch of another mind and left a naked sky and fresh stars twinkling in it.'

Monday, January 27, 2014

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch is Great Expectations spliced with a stoner novel. I loved the first 150 pages or so. Then it became a chore that provoked rage. I read the next 300 pages dutifully, cursing Donna Tartt for the audacity of thinking she could write 700 pages of this drivel and get away with it. Then I had lunch with a friend who had suffered even greater extremes of boredom and insanity with this book but managed to get to the end and confirm the suspicion that it was never going anywhere. With that, I was liberated from seeing this awful text through to its conclusion. I rarely put books aside unfinished. I'll happily make an exception for this one. There are lots of things I could say about its enthrallment to wealthy white east coast folk and its fetishization of the objects in their homes, its derivative themes and style (you're better off with Dickens) and its modes of caricature. But what really pisses me off is that this is very bad writing.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

James Lasdun, It's Beginning to Hurt

'One could no more help oneself than the chickadee that nested in the lilacs outside their living room could stop attacking its own reflection in the window all day long every spring, however baffling and terrible every headlong slam against the glass must have felt.' (8)

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Adam Phillips, Missing Out

'Wanting to be understood, as adults, can be, among many other things, our most violent form of nostalgia.’ (59)

John Gray, The Silence of Animals

Mark Doty, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon

‘[T]he world is a dialogue between degrees of transparency’ (5).