Posts Tagged ‘John Jeremiah Sullivan’
July 6, 2012 | by The Paris Review
Like Jim Holt, I am convinced that some analytic philosophy is worth reading and rereading. If only one book could make the case, though, it would have to be Derek Parfit’s work of moral philosophy, Reasons and Persons. Almost thirty years old, it endures through a combination of novel thought and unimpeachable style. And, unlike much analytic philosophical writing, Parfit’s words have a vigorous sense of purpose, a compassion and focus reminiscent of Simone Weil and George Orwell. Favorite sections include teletransportation, indistinct selves, the repugnant conclusion, and the opening sentence: “Like my cat, I often simply do what I want to do.” —Tyler Bourgeois
I am continually captivated by the underwater art of “eco-sculptor” Jason deCaires Taylor—or, rather, what happens to it. Taylor submerges his work—predominantly human figures—in the waters of the West Indies and in the Gulf of Mexico. Over time, the permanent installations come to act as artificial reefs, attracting corals, aggregating fish species, and increasing marine biomass. Most of Taylor’s figures stand with their faces upturned to the surface, their eyes closed, as they are silently and arrestingly overtaken by algae, sponges, and hydrozoans. The overall impression is one of indomitable spirit within metamorphosis: creatures coming to life. —Anna Hadfield
June 8, 2012 | by Sadie Stein
When Anthony Heilbut isn’t producing beautiful gospel, he tends to be writing—slowly—either about German modernism or else about the music and musicians he loves. The Fan Who Knew Too Much is the book Heilbut's gospel fans have been waiting for since The Gospel Sound (1972). In this connection, I can’t resist quoting our Southern editor right off the back cover: “Nothing new in the last year gave me as much pure reading pleasure as pages of this book. Heilbut ranges over the culture like a madman, but with a fierce sanity in his eye, debunking myths and erecting new ones. I finished The Fan Who Knew Too Much wondering how, without it, I’d ever thought I understood a thing about America in the twentieth century. Let me ask: Are you familiar with the history of gays in gospel? Or with the early, radio roots of soap operas? Then you too are similarly benighted. Get with this.” Amen. —Lorin Stein
May 11, 2012 | by Sadie Stein
April 26, 2012 | by Sadie Stein
April 6, 2012 | by Matteo Pericoli
A series on what writers from around the world see from their windows.This is the back view from my office. It’s raining. You can see a wall of the old garage (which still has a deep oil pit inside, from when more people worked on their own cars). The magnolia that hangs over the backyard is blooming. When it does, we open the door to the sleeping porch upstairs, and the whole house fills with the smell. My wife will cut one of the flowers and let it float in a bowl of water on the kitchen table. Magnolias drop hundreds of large seed pods once a year—they come crashing down from the tree. I’m always worried one of them is going to land on somebody’s head (they're heavy enough to hurt). We spend about a month just picking them up. They look like brown-green grenades but are bursting all over with bright red seeds. The leaves, when they turn brown and fall, are hard and brittle. That’s a problem down here, because tiny pools of water form on them, and the mosquitoes lay eggs there. You have to pick them up fast. In short, a big magnolia is a lot of work, but I would never get rid of this one. The week or so of blossoming is worth everything. Also, the branches cover the whole brick path from the back door to the driveway. Even in a heavy storm, you can just walk along dry. Sometimes I pat the tree’s trunk and thank it for that, or just to say hello. Once, when we first got home from a trip of two months, my daughter—who was four at the time—hugged the tree long and fiercely, saying nothing, before she ran inside. I think it’s sort of the guardian of the house.
—John Jeremiah Sullivan
April 2, 2012 | by The Paris Review
Yesterday a whole bunch of us got up earlyish to talk shop with Janet Coleman on “The Next Hour.” Click here to hear Maggie Paley (“Terry Southern, The Art of Screenwriting”), Rowan Ricardo Philips (“Heralds of Delicioso Coco Helado”), Leanne Shapton (“Prose Purple”), Matt Sumell (“Toast”), John Jeremiah Sullivan (“The Princes”), Robyn Creswell, and Lorin Stein.