Ofterdingen and Kropotkin
Monday, February 27, 2006
In college I knew a young man and woman, twin brother and sister, remarkable for their affinity: they were both slight, blond-haired and handsome; spoke with the same emphatic rhythm; walked with a confident, long-legged stride; and like the same music, food, art and film. They finished one another's sentences and were adept at games of pantomime, during which it sometimes seemed each could read the other's mind. The two were inseperable, and could occasionally be persuaded to tell the story of how their birth parents were killed in an auto accident, and how they came to be adopted by the dean of our college and his wife. They had been a campus fixture since their infancy, and were well known and loved by students, faculty and staff alike.
When they were about to graduate, the twins were gravely injured in their own auto accident. Though they survived, it was discovered in the hospital that not only were they not twins; they were not even related. Repeated blood tests confirmed this fact, and the story briefly became a national news item of the 'strange but true' variety. After a few years, however, the story vanished, as did the twins.
Many years later I learned, from a mutual acquaintance, that the twins had married. They invited most of their closest friends to the wedding, but few came, or even responded to the invitiation.
The twins send out a news letter every year, complete with photographs and news. They have adopted a number of children of various races and nationalities, but have had none of their own. There is no consensus among their former friends about whether this is due to some fertility problem, or if it represents a final taboo that not even the twins themselves dared break.
J Robert Lennon. "Twins" in Pieces for the Left Hand, 57-58
Saturday, February 25, 2006
From behind 1.88
The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies that had been a taken a few weeks before his birth. He saw a world that was practically unchanged -the same house, the same people- and then realized that he did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned his absence. He caught glimpse of his mother waving from an upstairs window, and that unfamiliar gesture disturbed him, as if it were some mysterious farewell. But what particularly frightened him was the sight of a brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin.
V. Nabokov, Speak, Memory (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1967), 20.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
In a manner of speaking I just want to sayIn a manner of speaking
That I could never forget the way
You told me everything
By saying nothing
In a manner of speaking I don’t understand
How love in silence becomes reprimand
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Boil 1.81UPDATED DEADLINE: 3/10/06
Announcement and Call for Papers
The Lebowski Cult: An Academic Symposium
The aim of this small symposium is to invent a critical program equal to
The 5th Annual Lebowski Fest (http://www.lebowskifest.com/fests.asp)
The organizers invite papers ranging in approach from the theoretical to
Auteur Theory and Cult Film, the sixties and the nineties, Creedence and
An abstract of about 500 words as well as a brief CV should be e-mailed
As the symposium will be held in a local bowling alley, participants
Monday, February 20, 2006
Saturday, February 18, 2006
From behind 1.86
Here is a sample, chosen at random from my career as a reader: the engagement of the interior ear by the rhythm and pitch of an original prose style; the dawning awareness that gigantic mutant rat people dwell in the walls of a ruined abbey in England; two hours spent bushwhacking through a densely packed argument about the structures of power embodied in nineteenth-century prison architecture; the consummation of a great love aboard a lost Amazonian riverboat or in Elizabethan slang; the intricate fractal patterning of motif and metaphor in Nabokov and Neil Gaiman; stories of pirates, zeppelins, sinister children; a thousand-word-long sentence comparing homosexuals to the Jews in a page of Proust; a duel to the death with broadswords on the sea-coast of ancient Zingara; the outrageousness of whale slaughter or mule slaughter in Melville or Cormac McCarthy; the outrageousness of Dr. Charles Bovary's clubfoot-correcting device; word written in smoke across the London sky on a day in June 1923; a momentary gain in my own sense of shared despair, shared nullity, shared rapture, shared loneliness, shared brokenhearted glee; the recounting of a portentous birth, a disastrous wedding, or a midnight deathwatch onthe Neva.
Michael Chabon, "Introduction", The Best American Short Stories 2005, xiv-xv.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
(via theage)Paradise found: 'lost world' in remote jungle
An untouched "Lost World" brimming with new wildlife has been discovered by scientists in the remote mountains of West Papua.
Initially jubilant about this discovery. (Jules Verne's world still alive, etc.)
Now sinister scruples. Esp. in the light of Ten Thousand Years Older.
Add-on following day:
Stone Age tribe kills fishermen off desert island
One of the world's last Stone Age tribes has murdered two fishermen whose boat drifted too near a desert island in the Indian Ocean. The Sentinelese, thought to number between 50 and 200, have rebuffed all contact with the modern world, firing a shower of arrows at anyone who comes within range.
They are believed to be the last pre-Neolithic tribe in the world to remain isolated.
...exposed the two fishermen buried in shallow graves and not roasted and eaten...
The Age, Feb 9 2006, 14.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
via Law and Letters
Full fathom five thy father lies
- or -
what Laurie Anderson made of it
Friday, February 03, 2006
(for Sean)Koennten wir uns aber mit der Muecke verstaendigen, so wuerden wir vernehmen, dass auch sie [...] in sich das fliegende Zentrum der Welt fuehlt.
Were we able to communicate with the mosquito we would apprehend that the mosquito also feels within itself the flying centre of the world.
F.Nietzsche, "Ueber Wahrheit und Luege im aussermoralischen Sinn". In: Kritische Gesamtausgabe 3.2. (Eds) G. Colli & M. Montinary (New York: de Gruyter, 1973). 186.
(Transl. "On truth and lie in an extra-moral sense")
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
...and that night when we fell silent it was as if, in close collaboration with chance, we had composed a scene that might have figured in a silent film, a white screen, test tubes and retorts, and the film burning, burning, burning, and then Don Salvador spoke of Schelling (whom he had never read according to Farewell), Schelling's notion of melancholy as yearning for the infinite - Sehnsucht - and cited neurological operations in which the nerve fibres joining the thalamus to the cerebral cortex of the frontal lobe had been severed...
Roberto Bolaño, Nocturno de Chile, 30.