Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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Entries Tagged as 'Art'

On Autobiography – “Notes on Dali” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

November 10th, 2011 · No Comments · Art, Autobiography, Culture, Quotes

Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.

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Tags:art·autobiography···salvador dali

Teachers – “An Artist of the Floating World” – Kazuo Ishiguro

October 11th, 2011 · No Comments · Art, Culture, Japan, Japanese, Literature

A teacher or mentor whom one admires greatly in early adulthood will leave his mark, and indeed, long after one has come to re-evaluate, perhaps even reject, the bulk of that man’s teachings, certain traits will tend to survive, like some shadow of that influence, to remain with one throughout one’s life… ..the way I [...]

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Pronunciation and Culture – “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James

October 2nd, 2011 · No Comments · Art, Civilisation, Culture, Elitism

Gauguin did the same for me before I could pronounce his name. (I called him Gorgon.) Degas I gave an acute accent over the “e,” not realizing that the “De” was an honorific prefix: “duh” would have been closer to the right sound, and certainly would have conformed to my general reaction when faced with [...]

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Real Sell Outs – “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James

September 29th, 2011 · No Comments · Art, Culture, History, Hypocrisy, Philosophy, WW2

Sartre, whose underground activities had never amounted to anything except a secret meeting on Wednesday to decide whether there should be another meeting the following Tuesday, not only claimed the status of Resistance veteran but called down vengeance on people whose behaviour had not really been all that much more reprehensible than his own. The [...]

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Art and the Hierarchy of Needs – “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James

September 28th, 2011 · No Comments · Art, Civilisation, Culture, History, Humanism, Literature, Totalitarianism

We also have to grasp that art proves its value by still mattering to people who have been deprived of every other freedom: indeed instead of mattering less, it matters more. Very true – the willingness of people in repressed regimes to risk their lives in the name of artistic expression is telling.

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The Richest Cultural Moment in History – “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James

September 27th, 2011 · No Comments · Art, Civilisation, Criticism, Culture, ICT, Music, Poetry

It would be a desirable and enviable existence just to earn a decent wage at a worthwhile job and spend all one’s leisure hours improving one’s aesthetic appreciation. There is so much to appreciate, and it is all available for peanuts. One can plausibly aspire to seeing, hearing and reading everything that matters. The times [...]

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Humanism – “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James

September 27th, 2011 · No Comments · Art, Culture, Humanism, Philosophy

Humanism wasn’t in the separate activities: humanism was the connection between them. Humanism was a particularized but unconfined concern with all the high-quality products of the creative impulse, which could be distinguished from the destructive one by its propensity to increase the variety of the created world rather than reduce it. Builders of concentration camps [...]

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Artistic Contradiction – “Anthills of the Savannah”. Chinua Achebe 

September 26th, 2011 · No Comments · Art, Colonialism, Complexity, Culture, Power

Do I contradict myself?” asked Walt Whitman. “Very well, I contradict myself,” he sang defiantly. “I am large, I contain multitudes.” Every artist contains multitudes. Graham Greene is a Roman Catholic, a partisan of Rome, if you like. Why then does he write so compulsively about bad, doubtful and doubting priests? Because a genuine artist, [...]

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Art and Scarcity of Attention – “Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist” – Tyler Cowen

August 2nd, 2011 · No Comments · Art, Culture, Economics

Our time and attention is scarce. Art is not that important to us, no matter what we might like to believe… Our love of art is often quite temporary, dependent upon our moods, and our love of art is subservient to our demand for a positive self image. How we look at art should account [...]

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Scarcity of Attention and Elitism – “Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist” – Tyler Cowen

August 1st, 2011 · No Comments · Art, Criticism, Culture, Economics

We must ignore the carping of the sophisticates. Well-educated critics may claim that pictures cannot be ranked, value is multidimensional or subjective, or that such talk, represents a totalising, colonising, possessive, post-capitalist, hegemonic Western imperialist approach. All of those missives are beside the point. When it comes to the arts, dealing with the scarcity of [...]

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