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Category Archives: Books

Prolonging the Present as Praxis of Prolepsis

“Talking to you on the phone now is part of the story of my trip to Belgrade, and so is the fight in the café. And when you tell yourself the story of your trip to Hungary, Sanja will be part of it.” “That’s true,” I said. “For a while now I’ve been conscious of […]

The Film Is the Talking

A film should stand on its own. It’s absurd if a filmmaker needs to say what a film means in words. The world in the film is a created one, and people sometimes love going into that world. For them that world is real. And if people find out certain things about how something was […]

Only The Waters, Everywhere

“This is the uncertain plinth, the moving earth on which we live. Upon this stand the houses, the temples. We have built upon the silt, the drifting sands. Upon a sweeping, undulating, congealed sand-mirror. There in the depths, a different, mysterious river network flows. Certain rivers and rivulets plunge beneath the surface, and they flow […]

Diagnoses, Morals, and Antlers

I found a book of fables and read two fables about harts. They both ended badly. In “The Hart in the Ox-Stall,” the hart hid from the hunter in an ox-stall. The hunter noticed its antlers sticking out of the straw and killed it, proving that “nothing escapes the master’s eye.” In “The Hart and […]

Craft & Mechanics of Prose II

Here is one final recitation of the five formal practices. Radiant ignition is the first. Sprays of light can bear their own weight or lift something heavy; they can, like a golden envelope, surround an object or, like a glistening worm, move inside it. Rarity, which comes second, is a property belonging to weightless things, […]

Craft & Mechanics of Prose

As stumbling is the motion of all skating, so skating is the motion of all imagining: picturing requires “a pitch / Beyond our usual hold upon ourselves.” When the sound of sledding or skating is given onomatopoetically, it is usually given as a hissing sound—“We hissed along the polished ice in games,” says Wordsworth—or a […]

Philosophy of Stealing

When the world knows you are a Methodist minister, for instance, it will admit that you may also be a violinist, or a chemist, or a poet, and will credit you therefor. And so if it condemns you for being a thief, it should at the same time admire you for being a genius. If […]

As Sour As The Devil Wills

Do you know why it is that I look back to the horizon at the figure of an unkempt, rough child, and why I feel a surging torrent of tears and anguish and despair? I feel more than that indeed, but I have no words to tell it. I shall have to miss forever some […]

Epigraph Chosen by Bohumil Hrabal

Not only may one imagine that what is higher derives always and only from what is lower; one may imagine that—given the polarity and, more important, the ludicrousness of the world—everything derives from its opposite: day from night, frailty from strength, deformity from beauty, fortune from misfortune. Victory is made up exclusively of beatings. —Ladislav […]

Torment as a Symptom of Superiority

“My own idea is that when He comes again it will be to continue his ministry as an old man. I am an old man and my life has been spent as a soldier of Christ, and I tell you that the older I grow the less Christ’s teaching says to me. I am sometimes […]