Tag Archives: literature

RIP George Lamming (1927 – 2022)

George Lamming was a Barbadian novelist known for such novels as In the Castle of My Skin (1953).

1953 also saw the appearance of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Junkie by William Burroughs, Watt by Samuel Beckett, The Portrait of an Englishman in His Chateau by André Pieyre de Mandiargues and Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.

RIP Jeroen Brouwers (1940 – 2022)

Jeroen Brouwers was a Dutch writer known for such novels as Sunken Red (1981).

Sunken Red, Cassiers play.

Sunken Red (1981) is the story of the author locked up with his mother in a Japanese concentration camp.

Published after the death of his mother, it is a reflection of the coping process of his years in these Japanese internment camps. 

Guy Cassiers directed a play based on the English translation of the book. It starred Dirk Roofthooft.

RIP Steven Marcus (1928 – 2018)

Steven Marcus is best-known for The Other Victorians (1964) [below], a study of Victorian pornography in which he coined the term pornotopia.

The Other Victorians cover

The Other Victorians cover

The Other Victorians back cover

The Other Victorians back cover

The book is a classic in the academic study of pornography.

I’ve never been able to find out the identity of the author of the illustration on the cover. It’s in the skinny style of Raphael Kirchner (1867– 1917) and Léo Fontan (1884 – 1965) which was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That’s all I know. Anyone?

“I would prefer not to”

Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853) is a short story by Herman Melville famous for its dictum “I would prefer not to,” uttered by the reluctant clerk Bartleby.

Many existentialists and absurdists have regarded the story as a prescient exploration and embodiment of their concerns.

French philosopher Gilles Deleuze wrote an essay on the text titled “Bartleby, or, the Formula” (1989).

Above is the Encyclopædia Britannica film adaptation of 1969.

RIP Richard Hoggart

[Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

RIP Richard Hoggart, 95, British academic and author (The Uses of Literacy).

My interest in Hoggart?

There was a time I was obsessed by the overlapping areas of high culture and low culture (nobrow!) and the notion of cultural pessimismcommodity fetishism and commodification (think CocacolonizationDisneyficationMcDonaldizationWalmarting) and false consciousness and whathaveyounot (all essentially notions of Marxist cultural criticism).

I think this was due to my interest in sexual fetishism (hence the link to commodity fetishism) and my reading of Dick Hebdige and being into popular music and against state funding of the arts and being affectionate of the beautiful loser.

Things have changed, my interests have become less fanatical. But I’m still against drab intellectualism and in favor of the best of the body genres.