In case we've forgotten, Antal Szerb reminds us that William Blake was "considered insane by his contemporaries, notably Leigh Hunt, who wrote that once when they were out walking Blake suddenly doffed his hat. Leigh Hunt asked whom he was greeting and Blake replied: 'It's nothing. It's just that St Paul the Apostle was flying… Continue reading In case we’ve forgotten
"Why have I been remunerated, given money ... to read with others, to study Phaedrus or The Tempest? ... My doctoral seminar in Geneva ran, more or less unbroken, for a quarter of a century. Those Thursday mornings were as near as an ordinary, secular spirit can come to Pentecost. By what oversight or vulgarization… Continue reading “As near as an ordinary, secular spirit can come to Pentecost”
"Let us arise and go now into the interior dark night of the soul’s still bowery and find ourselves anew" L Ferlinghetti
Very pleased to learn that The Innocence of Pontius Pilate will be published by Oxford University Press in the Americas. It's expected on 1 July 2021. There is no Oxford webpage yet, but the TLS is selling pre-ordered copies at a discount.
"Nothing identifies Marx more closely with enlightenment innocence than his affirmation that mankind only poses those questions to itself for which there will be an answer. It is the opposite which comes closer to the truth. It is 'jesting Pilate' ... Listen closely to the rush of thought and you will hear, at its inviolate… Continue reading “Listen closely to the rush of thought …”
I am delighted to be settling into a lake-house in the Poconos for a couple of months - to write, and not to write.
"Man has gone out to explore other worlds and other civilizations without having explored his own labyrinth of dark passages and secret chambers, and without finding what lies behind doorways that he himself has sealed." - Stanislaw Lem, Solaris, 1961 Source: Stanislaw Lem, Solaris, trans. J. Kilmartin and S. Cox (New York - London 1970;… Continue reading “What lies behind …”
“In order to say Ceci n’est pas une pipe we need words. Images are what they are.” - Carlo Ginzburg Source: C. Ginzburg, “Idols and Likenesses: Origen, Homilies on Exodus VIII.3, and its Reception,” in John Onians, ed., Sight and Insight: Essays on Art and Culture in Honour of E. H. Gombrich at Eighty-Five (London,… Continue reading “Ceci n’est pas”
One day in the spring of 1927, Walter Benjamin sat in an echoey flat on the Rue de Lille in Paris, listening to Robert Eisler – a visiting lecturer at the Sorbonne – introduce a riveting new theory about the trial and death of Jesus. Learn what Benjamin heard in chapter 3 of The Innocence… Continue reading What Walter Benjamin heard
How many fabulously learned books, which never mention Jorge Luis Borges, have been inspired by Borges' fictions about learned books? This is Guy Stroumsa, in a soon-to-be-published memoir: "À la même époque [in the late 1960s], lisant Borges, je découvrais le charme baroque des savoirs ésotériques ..." The rest of that fiction, we could say,… Continue reading Borges, Stroumsa, & “le charme baroque des savoirs ésotériques”