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Posts Tagged ‘n+1’

Franzen on Kraus: Footnote 3

September 3, 2013 | by

Oskar Kokoschka's 1925 portrait of Karl Kraus. Oil on canvas, 65 x 100 cm, Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna.

Oskar Kokoschka's 1925 portrait of Karl Kraus. Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna.

This week, to celebrate the launch of our Fall issue, we will preview a few of our favorite footnotes from “Against Heine,” Jonathan Franzen’s translation of the Austrian writer Karl Kraus. Click here to get your subscription now!

Believe me, you color-happy people, in cultures where every blockhead has individuality, individuality becomes a thing for blockheads.3  

(p. 189)

3 You’re not allowed to say things like this in America nowadays, no matter how much the blogosphere and the billion (or is it two billion now?) “individualized” Facebook pages may make you want to say them. Kraus was known, in his day, to his many enemies, as the Great Hater. By most accounts, he was a tender and generous man in his private life, with many loyal friends. But once he starts winding the stem of his polemical rhetoric, it carries him into extremely harsh registers.

(“Harsh,” incidentally, is a fun word to say with a slacker inflection. To be harsh is to be uncool; and in the world of coolness and uncoolness—the high-school-cafeteria social scene of Gawker takedowns and Twitter popularity contests—the highest register that cultural criticism can safely reach is snark. Snark, indeed, is cool’s twin sibling.) 

As Kraus will make clear, the individualized “blockheads” that he has in mind aren’t hoi polloi. Although Kraus could sound like an elitist, and although he considered the right-wing antisemites idiotic, he wasn’t in the business of denigrating the masses or lowbrow culture; the calculated difficulty of his writing wasn’t a barricade against the barbarians. It was aimed, instead, at bright and well-educated cultural authorities who embraced a phony kind of individuality—people Kraus believed ought to have known better.

It’s not clear that Kraus’s shrill, ex cathedra denunciations were the most effective way to change hearts and minds. But I confess to feeling some version of his disappointment when a novelist who ought to have known better, Salman Rushdie, succumbs to Twitter. Or when a politically committed print magazine that I respect, n+1, denigrates print magazines as terminally “male,” celebrates the Internet as “female,” and somehow neglects to consider the Internet’s accelerating pauperization of freelance writers. Or when good lefty professors who once resisted alienation—who criticized capitalism for its restless assault on every tradition and every community that gets in its way—start calling the corporatized Internet “revolutionary,” happily embrace Apple computers, and persist in gushing about their virtues.

 

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Softball Notes: TPR vs. n+1

June 26, 2013 | by

Photo Credit: Emily Farache

Photo Credit: Emily Farache.

Team   |1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10   Total
n+1    |2|0|0|1|0|1|0|0|0|0    4
TPR    |0|0|3|1|0|0|0|0|0|1    5

After a week off due to bad weather, the 2013 Paris Review softball season finally had its second act last Thursday afternoon: a riveting extra-inning victory over friendly rival n+1. Although last season’s meeting resulted in a easy TPR win, these two teams have, historically,  been very competitive, and this year’s game—which took place at our new home field in West Chelsea—was a characteristically tight contest throughout. General notes (linear and tangential), thoughts, and feelings on the game below:

  • n+1 scored first on some hard hits by the top of their lineup, but the damage was mitigated by some stellar TPR outfield defense, which would prove to be a recurring theme.
  • Pitching for our opponents was Marco Roth, the sometimes dominant but always infuriating, screwballin’ n+1 editor and cofounder. He wore a Pier Paolo Pasolini cotton replica T-shirt jersey; Pasolini, Italian poet and filmmaker, was a surprisingly keen softball player, frequently taking breaks during the shooting of Salò—his controversial adaptation of the Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom—to organize a series of lighthearted pickup games with the cast and local schoolchildren.
  • After the first inning, the game fell into a steady rhythm. Our defense remained strong, and with some timely hitting we lurched out of the middle innings one run ahead. Highlights included an inside-the-park home run by Ben “Chaos Mode” Wizner; some slick fielding by second baseman Louisa “Louisa” Thomas; and an escalating series of really great dugout high fives. We gave up the lead in the penultimate regular frame, and the game remained tied at the end of regulation. Now feels like the right time to introduce this man, who, unaffiliated with either team, inexplicably decided to root for n+1, making his allegiance known through constant heckling. Example: when I came up to bat in the sixth he yelled out the schoolyard classic, “Easy out!” (I popped up to third.) Afterward he came to over to congratulate us, and offered to umpire our next game.
  • In the top of the seventh, Chad Harbach, who taught a seminar on the Art of Hitting All Game, smashed a ball to right field that would definitely have been a home run if not for an overhanging tree. Before the start of the game, it had been decided that if this situation arose, the resulting ruling would be a live ball, and, although it was an obvious home run, he and his cohorts displayed their patented Art of Graciousness in accepting the decision. He didn’t score, and the game remained tied.
  • This was not the only close call. Twice in the late innings n+1 hit it deep into center, and both times Robyn “Great Defensive Outfielder” Creswell came up with spectacular catches. Creswell, whose presence last season was spotty (on account of his newly born daughter), had been sorely missed, and was this game’s unanimous MVP.
  • In the bottom of the tenth we finally broke through, winning the game off the bat of captain and associate editor Stephen “Ham Sandwich” Hiltner.
  • Notable debuts: Poet and frequent TPR contributor Rowan Ricardo Phillips, who switch-hit and displayed some nifty glove work; assistant editor Clare Fentress, who played catcher and hit n+1 editor Nikil Saval in the head throwing the ball back to the mound; and TPR’s head of advertising and promotions, Hailey Gates, the most stylish TPR team member since Styron.
  • Kudos to: us, for winning; the sun, for shining; and to n+1’s Keith Gessen, for lending me his glove every inning.

Next up: Harper’s (June 27th , 3:30 P.M., Chelsea Park). 

Cody Wiewandt is The Paris Review’s softball correspondent.

 

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New Emotion: On Kirill Medvedev

April 8, 2013 | by

Kirill_MedvedevIn 2006, a leading Moscow publisher issued Texts Published Without the Permission of the Author, comprised of the works of a well-known Russian poet. Rather than a lawsuit, the book resulted in a literary symposium, accompanied by a debate about the nature of copyright and, finally, the first translation of Kirill Medvedev’s works into English. In December 2012, It’s No Good: poems/essays/actions—a compilation of the thirty-seven-year-old poet-activist’s work—was published, indeed, technically without the permission of the author, by n+1 and Ugly Duckling Presse.

Medvedev, a controversial figure in the contemporary Russian poetry scene, stopped publishing in 2003. He would continue to release poetry, essays, and calls to political action on his Web site, LiveJournal, and Facebook page. But he renounced all rights to his own work. “I have no copyright to my texts,” he wrote in Manifesto on Copyright, “and cannot have any such right.” He became more deeply involved in leftist activism. Some thought him washed up, a has-been, even crazy. Others were angered by what they deemed a gimmick.

Critical of the post-Soviet liberal intelligentsia, makers of the culture who came to dominate an increasingly booming nineties Russia, Medvedev—who was born in Moscow in 1975—and his work issue directly from the tradition he critiques; his father was a well-known post-Soviet journalist. A decisive moment of separation might be found in his abdication of the most basic literary right. Read More »

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Perfume, Pikes, and Parsing

June 15, 2012 | by

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TPR vs. n+1: Vindication

June 14, 2012 | by

Team    |1|2|3|4|5|6|7  Total

TPR     |0|0|4|0|0|7|X   11
n+1     |0|0|0|1|0|0|0    1

Last Monday afternoon two literary magazines played a softball game. As you can see by the above scoreboard, Team Paris Review won handily. The short version: we played quite well—hitting sharp singles and putting the fun in fundamentals and whatnot—while n+1 was ... not at their best. Whether it was due to the absence of baseball’s most notorious novelist, Chad Harbach, or an off day on the mound by noted scoundrel Marco Roth, “the best goddamn literary magazine in America” (—Mary Karr) lacked its usual vigor and fortitude. Digging deep into the archives, it appears this is a new development: one of the most heartbreaking defeats in TPR softball history came two years ago against this very squad. Our victory, while certainly a boon for all things moral and just, failed to properly quench our thirst for vengeance, leaving us instead with a numb, hollow “meh” feeling, a sensation that, I would imagine, is akin to eating a piece of cake that is neither chocolate nor made out of ice cream.

Read More »

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What We’re Doing: NYPL Discussion, Tonight

May 22, 2012 | by

Here’s something important: tonight, our friends at n+1 and the New York Institute of the Humanities are sponsoring a panel entitled “The Central Library Plan and the Future of the New York Public Library.” Panelists will discuss objections to the New York Public Library’s Central Library Plan as well as the petition calling on NYPL President Anthony Marx to reconsider the $350 million proposal. For details, go to n+1’s Web site.

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