Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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Entries Tagged as 'Criticism'

The Disconnect Between My Experience of Actual Artworks and the Claims Made on Their Behalf – “Leaving the Atocha Station”, Ben Lerner

November 6th, 2012 · No Comments · Art, Criticism, Culture, Poetry

Insofar as I was interested in the arts, I was interested in the disconnect between my experience of actual artworks and the claims made on their behalf; the closest I’d come to having a profound experience of art was probably the experience of this distance, a profound experience of the absence of profundity.

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Tags:art·Art Appreciation··Experience

Less a Particular Poem than the Echo of Poetic Possibility – “Leaving the Atocha Station”, Ben Lerner

November 6th, 2012 · No Comments · Criticism, Culture, Poetry

Although I claimed to be a poet, although my supposed talent as a writer had earned me my fellowship in Spain, I tended to find lines of poetry beautiful only when I encountered them quoted in prose, in the essays my professors had assigned in college, where the line breaks were replaced with slashes, so […]

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Tags:art·Art Appreciation··

Loyalty and Judgement – “A Moveable Feast”, Ernest Hemingway

November 4th, 2012 · No Comments · Criticism, Quotes, Writing

He liked the works of his friends, which is beautiful as loyalty but can be disastrous as judgement.

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Indulge Your Wish – “Burr” – Gore Vidal

October 2nd, 2012 · No Comments · Criticism, Quotes

“I do not wish to criticise you, Colonel …” “Then indulge your wish, my dear friend, and refrain from criticism.”

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The Writer as Witness, Not Judge – “My Reading Life” – Bob Carr 

May 7th, 2012 · No Comments · Criticism, Culture, Elitism, Genocide, Writing, WW2

But Levi is mostly witness rather than judge: ‘I have deliberately assumed the calm, sober language of the witness, neither the lamenting tones of the victim nor the irate voice of someone who seeks revenge.’ He wrote in an afterword added in the 1980s. ‘I thought that my account would be all the more credible […]

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Not a Single Tennis Court – “The Guns of August 1914”, Barbara Tuchman

March 31st, 2012 · No Comments · Criticism, Culture, History, Sport, War, WW1

The (Russian) officer corps was top-heavy with a superabundance of aged generals whose heaviest intellectual exercise was card-playing and who, to save their court perquisites and prestige, were kept on the active list regardless of activity. Officers were appointed and promoted chiefly through patronage, social or monetary, and although there were among them many brave […]

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Tags:british empire·colonialism·Empire··

Pavlov’s House – “Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943” – Antony Beevor

February 29th, 2012 · No Comments · Criticism, Humour, War, WW2

During the huge battles for the northern industrial sector of the city, house-fighting, with local attacks and counter-attacks, had continued in the central districts. One of the most famous episodes fo the Stalingrad battle was the defence of ‘Pavlov’s House’, which lasted for fifty-eight days. At the end of September, a platoon from the 42nd […]

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On Architecture and Design – “Shut Up and Listen and You Might Learn Something” – Edna Carew and Patrick Cook

February 21st, 2012 · No Comments · Architecture, Criticism, Culture, Politics

“After art deco there’s only fag packets and bottle tops.” “Other people play the neddies – I perv on buildings.” “The Labor Party is the only repository of taste in Australian politics. Most of these Tories, like Fraser, have a knowledge of architecture and design that goes no further than wedding-cake Victoriana and grandfather chairs.” […]

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Tags:Architecture·art·criticism··Paul Keating··taste

Euripides – the First Modern Mind – “The Greek Way” – Edith Hamilton

February 13th, 2012 · No Comments · Criticism, Politics, Progressive Politics

Always those in the vanguard of their time find in Euripides an expression of their own spirit. He is the great exponent of the forever recurring modern mind. This spirit, always in the world and always the same, is primarily a destructive spirit, critical not creative. “The life without criticism,” Plato says, “is not worthy […]

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Lovers of Beauty with Economy – “The Greek Way” – Edith Hamilton

February 9th, 2012 · No Comments · Criticism, Culture, Quotes, War, Writing

We are lovers of beauty with economy, said Pericles. Words were to be used sparingly like everything else. Thucydides gives in a single sentence the fate of those brilliant youths who, pledging the sea in wine from golden goblets, sailed away to conquer Sicily and slowly died in the quarries of Syracuse: “Having done what […]

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