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Posts Tagged ‘Umberto Eco’

Punks Behind the Iron Curtain, and Other News

April 7, 2015 | by

Survival-Instruction-performs-at-Tyumen-festival-in-1988--from-Artur-Strukov-s-archives

Survival Instruction, a Siberian punk band, in 1988. Photo by Artur Strukov, via Noisey

  • Richard Price talks to David Simon about crime, television, crime on television, and his father as a less-than-ideal reader: “I ran into him about three months after [my first novel] came out. It was one o’clock in the afternoon and he said, ‘Come on, let’s get a Tequila Sunrise’—you know, it’s 1974—or a Harvey Wallbanger or something. He said, ‘Yeah, I got the book, I read it, you know, it wasn’t like a good book or anything.’ I said, ‘Oh … ’ ”
  • James Wood, literary evangelical, defends books as a religion: “By fixing on humdrum domestic details, novels, [Wood] says, redeem life and rescue it from its sad ephemerality; a book is not solitary, like the person who reads it, but dispenses ‘proximity, fellow-feeling, compassion, communion … I am taking a religious view of a form that’s very earthly, and there’s some tension between my approach and that worldliness.’ ”
  • Punk music has thrived in plenty of unlikely places, but Siberia embraced its ethos as nowhere else could, providing “the perfect incubator for nurturing the creative malice punk requires … Lacking any official rock clubs in Siberia, punks colonized cafeterias, apartments, libraries and local ‘Houses of Culture’—the Soviet equivalent to VFW halls. Dorm rooms hosted entire rock festivals.” (But the bands couldn’t put on the punk uniform: “In Siberia, if you looked like that on the street, you wouldn’t be able to walk more than 100 meters. After that, someone would just take you around the corner and beat the shit out of you.”)
  • “In a photograph, a person’s history is buried as if under a layer of snow,” Siegfried Kracauer, “the Frankfurt School’s freelance intellectual par excellence,” once wrote. A new book of his family snapshots captures his “desire to reproduce reality at its most transient.”
  • Umberto Eco’s How to Write a Thesis, first published in 1977, has at last arrived in English. It’s about “what the thesis represents: a magical process of self-realization, a kind of careful, curious engagement with the world that need not end in one’s early twenties.”

The World Is Upside Down, and Other News

February 18, 2014 | by

mcarthur corrective map

McArthur’s Universal Corrective Map of the World, 1979.

 

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On Not Thinking Like a Writer, and Other News

November 26, 2013 | by

Cezannelarge

  • “The artist must avoid thinking like a writer.” The letters of Cézanne.
  • “It isn’t only about droll or absurd situations, it’s about the language used to describe those situations.” Paul Auster on Samuel Beckett.
  • In honor of Umberto Eco’s Legendary Lands, maps of imaginary lands.
  • “Last December, on a Sunday like so many Boston Sundays, one that began in sunshine but gave way to snow showers, three hundred members of Old South Church gathered for a congregational meeting. After hours of debate following weeks of discussion, they voted to sell one of their two copies of the Bay Psalm Book.” Casey N. Cep on America’s first book.
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    Umberto Eco on ‘The Prague Cemetery’

    November 15, 2011 | by

    Umberto Eco’s novels have been widely admired for their blend of erudite scholarship and satisfying, page-turning plots. His latest book, The Prague Cemetery, continues this tradition by placing a fictional character by the name of Simonini in the midst of a real, historical milieu and giving him a significant, sinister place in nineteenth-century history and beyond. Simonini, an equal-opportunity hater of ethnicities, races, and religions, is a master forger and plays an important role in crafting the “conspiracies” of his time, most importantly the document that becomes The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I spoke to Eco about the novel, just now being published in the US, on the phone from Italy.

    The Prague Cemetery is your sixth novel. Do you find it becomes easier to write a new book at this point in your career? Does it become harder to find new subjects to interest you?

    Every time that I write a novel I am convinced for at least two years that it is the last one, because a novel is like a child. It takes two years after its birth. You have to take care of it. It starts walking, and then speaking. In two months I will be eighty years old. Probably I will not write another novel, and so mankind will be safe.

    Did you enjoy writing this particular book?

    Less than the others. For me, the process of writing usually takes six years. In those years I collect material, I write, I rewrite. I am in a sort of a private world of myself with my characters. I don’t know what will happen. I discover it step by step. And I become very sad when the novel is finished because there is no more pleasure, no more surprise. Read More »

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