Bob Dylan’s Nobel Controversy

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“I’m very divided. I love that the novel committee opens up for other kinds of literature – lyrics and so on. I think that’s brilliant. But knowing that Dylan is the same generation as Pynchon, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, makes it very difficult for me to accept it. I think one of those three should have had it, really. But if they get it next year, it will be fine.” —Karl Ove Knausgaard

“To me [the Nobel] is like pinning a medal on Mount Everest for being the highest mountain.”Leonard Cohen

Source: The Guardian

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Thoughts on Thoughts

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“Though thought may incorporate other material, such as images, it seems to be predominantly linguistic…

Thoughts are often fragmentary and frequently condensed or elliptic: Many things are left unsaid, and the dots are not joined.

This presents a challenge to novelists who want to deliver a character and her world entirely through interior monologue. Our consciousness, after all, doesn’t have to tell itself many things that readers may need to know in order to follow the plot.”

Raymond Tallis on “The Voices Within” by Charles Fernyhough (WSJ, Books, Sat/Sun, October8–9, 2016.)


“One Hundred Days After Childhood”

It usually happens unexpectedly
You’d just like this all of a sudden see
The river…and the trees, and the girl 
And the way she’s smiling…
It seems you’ve seen it all a thousand times
But this time you’re dumbfounded  
Suddenly struck
How unimaginably beautiful is this girl
And these trees…this river 
And the way she’s smiling…
This usually means
That you’ve been overtaken by love

–my translation of lines from a Russian-Soviet 1975 movie “One Hundred Days After Childhood” — to me the best coming-of-age movie ever made. I first watched it as a teenager, and now thirty+ years later I’m as moved by it as back then. Maybe more.

This movie’s a painting. A poem. A waltz.

It’s on Youtube with English subtitles.

Treat yourself to something wonderful. 

Herman Melville: Sea Romancer Turned Gardener

“His subjects at the end included roses and irises, bluebirds and chipmunks, his early life with Lizzie in the Berkshires, and children’s dreams. …

…toward the end, … Melville … seems to have been content to avoid socializing, preferring instead to read his books, write, and tend his rose bushes.”

A short essay by  Mark Beauregard, offering a glimpse into Melville’s last years.

Did the “failed novelist” fail at yet another thing — poetry? Did he crave commercial success? Was he a happy man?

Happy, believe, this Christmas eve,
Are Willie and Rob and Nellie and May—
Happy in hope! in hope to receive
These stockings well-stuffed from Santa Claus’ sleigh.

— from Weeds and Wildings, with a Rose or Two, a collection of Melville’s poetry published in a private edition by Lizzie, Melville’s wife of more than forty years.