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Posts Tagged ‘Jorge Luis Borges’

Reading the Viaduct

December 4, 2012 | by

Starting out for the southern end of the Reading Viaduct means walking alongside a live railroad track, vigilant for the sound of a CSX freight train approaching from behind. Your destination is the mouth of an abandoned tunnel, which will pull you into stretches of almost total darkness thirty feet below ground. You aren’t headed for the tunnel because you love tunnels, but to glimpse the diversity of landscapes that makes up Philadelphia’s Reading Viaduct before it becomes the city’s answer to New York City’s Highline. You are there for the tunnel as much as for what’s on the other side: the promise of meadowland and prairie hiding in plain sight.

The Reading Viaduct may one day become a linear park transecting downtown Philadelphia. Should that happen, the Viaduct would be like no other park in the world. The three-mile stretch runs thirty feet underground at one end and emerges as an elevated line thirty feet above street level on the other. Since the 1980s, it has been abandoned. Sections of the Viaduct may undergo development as early as next year. Read More »

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What We’re Loving: Cocktails, Borges, Color

August 17, 2012 | by

As though a blog written by a Merriam-Webster lexicographer weren’t exciting enough, Kory Stamper at harm·less drudg·ery recently posted on the thrilling discovery of color definitions. To whit: “begonia n … 3 : a deep pink that is bluer, lighter, and stronger than average coral (sense 3b), bluer than fiesta, and bluer and stronger than sweet william — called also gaiety.” In a kind of synesthetic treasure hunt, she races through the dictionary to follow the trail of colors. “I eventually ended up at ‘coral,’ where sense 3c yielded up the fresh wonder, ‘a strong pink that is yellower and stronger than carnation rose, bluer, stronger, and slightly lighter than rose d’Althaea, and lighter, stronger, and slightly yellower than sea pink.’ Carnation rose was clearly the color of the pinkish flower on the tin of Carnation Evaporated Milk, and Rose d’Althaea was clearly Scarlett O’Hara’s flouncy cousin, but it was the last color that captivated me. ‘Sea pink,’ I murmured.” —Nicole Rudick

“You probably wear lipstick, powder base and a little eye makeup every day. But have you ever considered drawing in completely new eyebrows, wearing false eyelashes, putting hollows in your cheeks with darker foundation, a cleft in your chin with brown eyebrow pencil or enlarging your mouth by a third? These are just a few sorcerer’s tricks available.” Among the most amusing tributes to the original fun, fearless female is Bonnie Downing’s affectionate Outdated Beauty Advice from Helen Gurley Brown over at the Hairpin. —Sadie O. Stein

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Wharton, Borges, and Grey: Fan-Fic Galore!

August 1, 2012 | by

  • The latest Dead Authors Podcast features Jorge Luis Borges.
  • In all honesty, who isn’t interested in lists of famous literary feuds?
  • A new generation takes over Doonesbury.
  • A new generation discovers The Babysitters Club.
  • Leigh Stein explains how to read in public.
  • Marc New York’s Fifty Shades–inspired ad campaign.
  • An excerpt from The Age of Desire, Jennie Fields’s Edith Wharton–themed romance.
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    The Grand Map

    October 5, 2011 | by

    RV890, Norway 2011.

    Toward the end of Lewis Carroll’s endlessly unfurling saga Sylvie & Bruno, we find the duo sitting at the feet of Mein Herr, an impish fellow endowed with a giant cranium. The quirky little man regales the children with stories about life on his mysterious home planet.

    “And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!”
    “Have you used it much?” I enquired.
    “It has never been spread out, yet,” said Mein Herr. “The farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.”

    Among Mein Herr’s many big ideas, none is as familiar to us as the Grand Map. We use it, or a version of it, on a daily basis. With Google Street View, which allows us to traverse instantly from a schematic road map into the tumult of the road itself, we boldly zoom from the map to the territory and back. As the Herr said, “we now use the country itself as its own map.” Read More »

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    Staff Picks: The Unseen Bestiary, The Avoidance of Love

    August 26, 2011 | by

    From ‘Monstrorum Historia,’ by Ulisse Aldrovandi, 1642.

    Just in time for Borges’s birthday, Lindsey Carr is curating a collaborative art project documenting creatures that have never been seen. The project, The Unseen Bestiary, a sort of DIY Book of Imaginary Beings, is soliciting brief descriptions to accompany Carr’s drawings. —Mackenzie Beer

    I’m rereading Stanley Cavell’s great essay on King Lear (and everything else), “The Avoidance of Love,” in preparation for what I’m told is another great essay, by Mark Greif, in the new issue of n+1. (Some lifetime subscription that turned out to be!) —Lorin Stein

    I’ve been slowly working through the strikingly lyrical essays in City Dog this summer, so I was excited to see new poems by W. S. di Piero in the fall issue of ZYZZYVA. Something about them reminded me of the end of summer. “Starting Over” perfectly evoked that late-August feeling of everyone coming home: “here you are the nothing / that is the place, / and all the places are you, / none of them yours to keep.”  —Ali Pechman

    I just learned everything I know about Batman from intern Cody, who puts the super back in superheroes. —L.S.

    Since I realized that Spotify has such a great collection of Alan Lomax recordings, I’ve been totally hooked. —Sadie Stein

    Moving books around in my house, I rediscovered my copy of Boulevard Transportation, a collaboration between Rudy Burckhardt and Vincent Katz. The former’s photographs—framing and juxtaposing country and city streets, architectural elements, faces—and the latter’s poetry—casual glances and delighted observations—are perfectly suited to each other. On one spread, Burckhardt’s closeup of reeds waving against sun-dappled water is set opposite this from Katz: “I put bare / feet to Terra / swim in the lake / all day long / there is nothing / to do / listen to wind in the trees.” —Nicole Rudick

    I was one of those lame kids without a rock collection, but Léonard Rosenthal, famed 1920s Parisian jeweler and author of The Kingdom of the Pearl, has reformed me. If you aren’t sold on reading about rocks, check out the Edmund Dulac illustrations that originally accompanied the text. —M.B.

    I’ve always felt more like a New Yorker than a Californian, but this video is amazing. — A.P.

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    On the Shelf

    August 24, 2011 | by

    James Joyce by Alex Ehrenzweig, 1915.

    A cultural news roundup.

  • New York poet Samuel Menashe has died at 85.
  • James Salter wins the Rea Award for short fiction.
  • Would Joyce have tweeted? One biographer thinks so.
  • BookLamp: it’s like Pandora, for books.
  • “Writing about sports the way that smart people talk about sports is a simple idea, and a good one.”
  • E-books, now with sound tracks.
  • “Now the fact that the president of the United States apparently doesn’t read women writers is not the greatest crisis facing the arts, much less the nation—but it’s upsetting nevertheless. As I suspect Obama would agree, matters of prejudice are never entirely minor, even when their manifestations may seem relatively benign.”
  • Publishing is experiencing an upswing. But are there too many books being published already?
  • The Berlin library will return books confiscated  during the Third Reichincluding a Communist Manifesto that may have belonged to Friedrich Engels.
  • Google celebrates Borges.
  • Being immortalized by Julia Roberts isn’t enough to save one London bookshop.
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