Blogs

on Slight Exaggeration, an essay by Adam Zagajewski, tr. by Clare Cavanaugh (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

One day in the late 1990’s while teaching in Houston, Adam Zagajewski received a call from his friend Czeslaw Milosz in Berkeley. Milosz was then in his mid-80’s.

on 2084: The End of the World, a novel by Boualem Sansal, tr. by Alison Anderson (Europa Editions)

In the wake of the Great Holy War of 2084, hundreds of millions of martyrs lay dead and vast regions are devastated, probably caused by atomic weapons. Now there is only Abistan whose residents worship the omniscient deity Yölah and his earthly messenger Abi who rules absolutely through his many ministries in the capital city of Qodsabad. How long ago did the great victory occur?

on Compass, a novel by Mathias Énard, tr. by Charlotte Mandell (New Directions)

A slight fever, racing pulse, cramps, vague discomforts – what is ailing the musicologist Franz Ritter other than habitual melancholia and insomnia?

on The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin, convoluted by Jens Hoffmann et al (Yale University Press)

Hannah Arendt once described Walter Benjamin as among “the unclassifiable ones … whose work neither fits the existing order nor introduces a new genre.” But a new genre is exactly what he inspired: the cross-breeding of forms – journalism, citation, exegesis, philosophical asides, flashes of memory.

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