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Books | Anorak - Part 8

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The latest books and literature reviews, comment, features and interviews, with extracts from famous texts and neglected gems.

King v Kubrick: The Shining sequel will be as unfilmable as all great books are

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ARE some books unfilmable? Does reading the book first spoil the film and vice versa?

Stephen King’s The Shining is a cracking read. Stanley Kubrick film adaptation of it is also fantastic, a capacious, sinister  spine-tingler. But when the film came out many of the book’s fans were upset. Scenes had been omitted from the book’s version of life at the Overlook Hotel. But did you see that lift full of blood? Young Danny riding his tricycle over the wooden floor and then onto the oh-so-silent carpet? Once seen, never forgotten.

The book is not the film. The book is the book. The film is the film.

Talk of King and Kubrick’s work is relevant because the author has released a sequel to The Shining, entitled Doctor Sleep. Kubrick has died, so he won’t be any film version.

King might be relieved. As he says:

“I am not a cold guy. And with Kubrick’s The Shining I thought that it was very cold.

“Shelley Duvall as Wendy is really one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film. She’s basically just there to scream and be stupid. And that’s not the woman I wrote about…I met him [Kubrick] on the set and just on that one meeting, I thought he was a very compulsive man.”

Jason Bailey:

King’s great novels work because they put us into the heads of his characters, because they convey psychological as well as external struggles, because their inner monologues can pour forth out of his prose. It’s part of what makes him a great writer. It’s also why there have been so many lousy films based on Stephen King books — because all of that is lost in the translation. And Kubrick would have been a lousy novelist, his meticulous detachment resulting in, we could presume, so pretty turgid and lifeless writing. But luckily, he was a filmmaker, and his gifts as an aesthete are what made him such a singularly fine one.

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Laura Miller says King was right to be unimpressed by Kubrick:

King is, essentially, a novelist of morality. The decisions his characters make — whether it’s to confront a pack of vampires or to break 10 years of sobriety — are what matter to him. But in Kubrick’s “The Shining,” the characters are largely in the grip of forces beyond their control. It’s a film in which domestic violence occurs, while King’s novel is about domestic violence as a choice certain men make when they refuse to abandon a delusional, defensive entitlement. As King sees it, Kubrick treats his characters like “insects” because the director doesn’t really consider them capable of shaping their own fates. Everything they do is subordinate to an overweening, irresistible force, which is Kubrick’s highly developed aesthetic; they are its slaves. In King’s “The Shining,” the monster is Jack. In Kubrick’s, the monster is Kubrick.

Jack Hodge:

Kubrick understood the importance of taking a story and meticulously reworking it for an entirely different medium. The director was a master of genre cinema, stripping it down and blowing it up in its purest form. In fact two other successful King adaptations, Stand By Me (The Body) and The Shawshank Redemption (Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption) are both riddled with inconsistencies between book and film – although not quite as fundamental as The Shining. King has highlighted these two films, along with Misery (1990), as his favourite cinematic interpretations.

It’s all about entertainment. You get to gorge on the book and the film.

Posted: 6th, October 2013 | In: Books, Film | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dinosaur erotica exists: fiction for readers aroused by bad teeth and scaly skin

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EXHAUSTED by My Little Pony fan fiction erotica, we’ve moved on to read the Velociraptor’s Nest. Yep. Dinosaur erotica is exists.

Azog stood, back to the wall, clad only in damp buckskins, waiting for the beast to slash at her torso until she lay helpless and bleeding on the damp cave floor. She wondered if it would kill her first, or if her limbs would be sliced from her body as the beast gorged on her.

Instead, it reached out with a classed hand to snatch at her damp animal hide as it clung to one shoulder. Azog felt the kiss of sharp claws against her skin as the hide slid from her shoulder and exposed on naked, heaving breast. The raptor paused, curious, sniffing at her as she pressed desperately against the wall.

A reptilian tongue, stiff and hot, dashed out to lick at the tender, naked flesh so suddenly exposed. Azog gasped at the touch, then gradually relaxed as her body warmed to the intoxicating sensation of the beast’s flesh against her own.

She wasn’t sure if her sudden arousal was because of her earlier thwarted climax in the cool stream, or if she was just desperate for one last pleasant sensation before being torn limb from limb by the great, scaly beast. Either way, Azog relished the rasp of its tongue, hot and rough, on her sensitive skin.

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Posted: 3rd, October 2013 | In: Books, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Mark Twain’s Advice to Little Girls

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MARK Twain has Advice to Little Girls. As told to them in 1865:

Good little girls ought not to make mouths at their teachers for every trifling offense. This retaliation should only be resorted to under peculiarly aggravated circumstances.

If you have nothing but a rag-doll stuffed with sawdust, while one of your more fortunate little playmates has a costly China one, you should treat her with a show of kindness nevertheless. And you ought not to attempt to make a forcible swap with her unless your conscience would justify you in it, and you know you are able to do it.

You ought never to take your little brother’s “chewing-gum” away from him by main force; it is better to rope him in with the promise of the first two dollars and a half you find floating down the river on a grindstone. In the artless simplicity natural to this time of life, he will regard it as a perfectly fair transaction. In all ages of the world this eminently plausible fiction has lured the obtuse infant to financial ruin and disaster.

If at any time you find it necessary to correct your brother, do not correct him with mud—never, on any account, throw mud at him, because it will spoil his clothes. It is better to scald him a little, for then you obtain desirable results. You secure his immediate attention to the lessons you are inculcating, and at the same time your hot water will have a tendency to move impurities from his person, and possibly the skin, in spots.

If your mother tells you to do a thing, it is wrong to reply that you won’t. It is better and more becoming to intimate that you will do as she bids you, and then afterward act quietly in the matter according to the dictates of your best judgment.

You should ever bear in mind that it is to your kind parents that you are indebted for your food, and for the privilege of staying home from school when you let on that you are sick. Therefore you ought to respect their little prejudices, and humor their little whims, and put up with their little foibles until they get to crowding you too much.

Good little girls always show marked deference for the aged. You ought never to “sass” old people unless they “sass” you first.

Spotter: NYRB

 

Posted: 2nd, October 2013 | In: Books, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Third Bridget Jones novel to have monumental character death

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REMEMBER Bridget Jones and her big knickers, kissing and vague alcoholism? Well, she’s due a new book called ‘Mad About The Boy’ which will look at the now 51 year-old Bridget, only with one notable absence in her life.

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

Helen Fielding has announced that she has decided to kill off Mark Darcy, the man played by Colin Firth in the flicks, leaving our Isn’t She Just Like Us? heroine massively widowed.

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Posted: 1st, October 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


101 free audio fiction books to savour

joseph-conrad audio

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Posted: 29th, September 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


JD Salinger: Five new manuscripts and a post-Holocaust film to duck

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JD Salinger died in  died in 2010 at age 91. Some of his unpublished works have been found. Cornel Bonca looks at them:

[T]his is the biggest literary “get” of the American 21st century.

The books include a World War II novel featuring Sergeant X from “From Esme,” the most intriguing character outside Holden and the Glass family that Salinger ever created. It includes a novella, in diary form, written by a World War II counterintelligence officer — Salinger’s job during the war — “culminating in the Holocaust.” Given Salinger’s war experience and his painstaking writing process, these two works could conceivably add up to a contribution to American World War II literature on a par with the work of Mailer, Jones, Heller, and Pynchon.

A third manuscript is, we’re told, a “manual of Vedanta,” a book explaining Vedanta Hinduism (and presumably, its relation to Salinger’s work), “with short stories, almost fables, woven into the text.” Finally, there are two compilations, one entitled The Family Glass, gathering all the published Glass stories together with five new storiesabout Seymour, the last of which “deals with Seymour’s life after death.” Given that once Salinger got going on the Glasses, his “stories” inevitably metastasized into novellas, this book is likely to be a real tome, and might conceivably be the greatest contribution Salinger makes to American letters, dealing as it must, with the question of how to live a genuine spiritual life in a postwar, post-Holocaust world.

Then there’s the final book, which [biographers David] Shields and [Shane] Salerno describe as “a complete history of the Caulfield family,” gatheringCatcher, six previously published (and I would imagine, wholly rewritten) Caulfield stories written in the early-to-mid 1940s, as well as new stories featuring, presumably, Holden, Phoebe, Allie, and D.B. Caulfield. Five new Salinger books! Doubtless, they will make us entirely reconceive Salinger’s current oeuvre. If the books are even close in quality to Catcher or Franny & Zooey, they might reroute the course of late 20th-century American literature.

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Posted: 22nd, September 2013 | In: Books, Film, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Artist turns great books into colour signatures

JAZ Parkinson has turned some of our favourite books into colour charts. Says Parkinson:

“I’m interested in showing how the human mind can transform a word of text into a tangible colour,” says Parkinson. “…Each colour reference or piece of visual imagery in the novel has been tallied, graphed, and charted to make a unique signature for the book.”

She found the writing in The Red Badge of Courage to be especially evocative and she groups similar colors together to illustrate the imagery’s nuances. For instance, the three large reddish bands above represent “crimson” (a color Crane uses to describe the flash of rifle shots), “blood” and “red” (which Crane often uses in reference to the bloodshot eyes of the battle-weary soldiers).

 

 

The Bible – beginning and end

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Posted: 16th, September 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Salvador ‘Dalí is the biggest prick of the 20th Century’ says Henry Miller

Anaïs Nin dali

 

HENRY Miller wrote this note back in 1973. In it he observed that Salvador Dalí (pictured below in 1936) ”the biggest ‘prick of the 20th century”.

 

Closeup of painter, Salvador Dali on July 4, 1936. (AP Photo)

 

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Posted: 12th, September 2013 | In: Books, Celebrities, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Sex sells! seriously, who knew?

sex sells

ONE of the less surprising findings from Forbes magazine this year is that the top earning author in the world is EL James. You know, Shades of Grey stuff:

Then there’s “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

E.L. James — known to her friends and family as Erika Leonard — didn’t follow any of the rules for getting to the top, but she’s there all the same, debuting on the 2013 top-earning authors list with an estimated $95 million in earnings. (FORBES bases its estimates on sales data, published figures and information from industry sources between June 2012 and June 2013.)

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Posted: 4th, September 2013 | In: Books, Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Leads cast in Fifty Shades Of Grey… so start imagining them naked now

GOOD news everybody! The lead roles of Fifty Shades of Grey have been announced! You haven’t heard of them, but no matter, because the main bit of their job is to do a lot of sex, which is nice.

For those who must know, the British Charlie Hunnam and US actress Dakota Johnson will be taking their clothes off and talking to each other with clunky euphemisms, while Mumset tut about it all, before secretly frigging their collective pelvis off.

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Posted: 4th, September 2013 | In: Books, Film | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


In 1965, Jack Kerouac and his mother were On The Road to New Orleans

**FILE** Author Jack Kerouac laughs in this 1967 file photo in Lowell, Mass. The Cape Cod house once owned by Kerouac is up for sale. James Upton, the present owner of the three-bedroom, two-bath house, said that with his three children now grown, he no longer needs the space. He bought it in 1986 for $115,000 and is now asking $356,000. (AP Photo/Stanley Twardowicz, File)

IN 1965, Jack Keroauc narrated his a trip to New Orleans with his  mother (“Memère”) for the May issue of Holiday:

There’s hardly anything in the world, or at least in America, more miserable than a transcontinental bus trip with limited means. More than three days and three nights wearing the same clothes, bouncing around into town after town; even at three in the morning, when you’ve finally fallen asleep, there you are being bounced over the railroad tracks of a town, and all the lights are turned on bright to reveal your raggedness and weariness in the seat. To do that, as I’d done so often as a strong young man, is bad enough; but to have to do that when you’re a sixty-two-year-old lady … yet Memère is more cheerful than I, and she devises a terrific trick to keep us in fairly good shape—aspirins with Coke three times a day to calm the nerves.

From mid-Florida we roll in the late afternoon over orange-grove hills toward the Tallahassee and Mobile of morning, no prospect of New Orleans till noon and already fair exhausted. Such an enormous country, you realize when you cross it on buses, the dreadful stretches between equally dreadful cities, all of them looking the same when seen from the bus of woes, the never-get-there bus stopping everywhere, and worst of all the string of fresh enthusiastic drivers every two or three hundred miles warning everyone to relax and be happy.

Sometimes during the night I look at my poor sleeping mother cruelly crucified there in the American night because of no-money, no-hope-of-money, no-family, no-nothing—just myself, the stupid son of plans all compacted of eventual darkness. God, how right Hemingway was when he said there was no remedy for life.

Spotter: Longform, via Sully

Posted: 3rd, August 2013 | In: Books, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


JK Rowling crime writer identity was revealed over a Twitter chat

rowling book crime

WE know JK Rowling was ‘Robert Galbraith’, writer of the crime novel The Cuckoo’s Calling because a friend of a solicitor at Russells, her lawyers, told someone on Twitter.

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Posted: 31st, July 2013 | In: Books | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


50 Shades of Rainbow Dash: My Little Pony erotic fans fiction exists (extracts)

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MY Little Pony fan fiction is a thing that exists. It’s 50 Shades of Rainbow Dash.

These are a few extracts from the genre:

Rarity’s Erotic Massage by ZeroJanitor

“Hello to you too, Rarity.” said Twilight. “I came by to inform you that there’s going to be party at Sugarcube Corner at six o’clock tonight, hosted by our very own Pinkie Pie! There’s going to be food, games, movies, and between you and me, I think Pinkie’s going to make her ‘special’ punch.”

Twilight just stared at the ironing board in confusion. Rarity noticed the flustered look on her face.

“Oop! Hold on one second, Twilight!” Rarity activated her horn and pulled one of the dresser drawers open and lifted a screwdriver out. She used this to loosen the screw at the focal point of the board’s legs at about the speed of a power drill. The legs started to collapse, causing the ironing board to fall closer to the floor. At about 20 inches off the ground, Rarity drilled the screw back in and put the screwdriver back in the drawer. “There! Much better!”

Twilight hopped onto the table. Her legs dangled over the side, almost touching the ground, as her face was pressed firmly into the throw pillow. “You’re sure about this?” she asked, in a slightly muffled voice.

Though Rarity was a bit disgusted by the idea of Twilight’s lubricant getting on her ironing board, she enjoyed the idea even more.

Missionary position is tricky for ponies, but perfectly doable, evidenced by Rarity now pumping with more vigor than ever

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Posted: 29th, July 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


In 1929 Jean-Paul Sartre took mescaline – that’s when the crabs started to follow him

 Jean-Paul Sartre mescalin

IN 1929, Jean-Paul Sartre met  Simone De Beauvoir and took some mescaline. These two events were not linked. He recalled the experience in conversation with political science professor, John Gerassi:

Sartre: … I ended up having a nervous breakdown.

Gerassi: You mean the crabs?

Satre: Yeah, after I took mescaline, I started seeing crabs around me all the time. They followed me in the streets, into class. I got used to them. I would wake up in the morning and say, “Good morning, my little ones, how did you sleep?” I would talk to them all the time. I would say, “O.K., guys, we’re going into class now, so we have to be still and quiet,” and they would be there, around my desk, absolutely still, until the bell rang.

Gerassi: A lot of them?

Sartre: Actually, no, just three or four.

Grassi: But you knew they were imaginary?

Sartre: Oh, yes. But after I finished school, I began to think I was going crazy, so I went to see a shrink, a young guy then with whom I have been good friends ever since, Jacques Lacan. We concluded that it was fear of being alone, fear of losing the camaraderie of the group. You know, my life changed radically from my being one of a group, which included peasants and workers, as well as bourgeois intellectuals, to it being just me and Castor. The crabs really began when my adolescence ended. At first, I avoided them by writing about them — in effect, by defining life as nausea — but then as soon as I tried to objectify it, the crabs appeared. And then they appeared whenever I walked somewhere. Not when I was writing, just when I was going someplace. … The crabs stayed with me until the day I simply decided that they bored me and that I just wouldn’t pay attention to them. And then the war came, the stalag, the Resistance, and the big political battles after the war.

From the book Talking With Sartre: Conversations and Debates.

Posted: 18th, July 2013 | In: Books, Celebrities, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Trayvon Martin: Juror B37 and her book’s agent crawl back under their rocks

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JUROR B37 sat on the George Zimmerman trial that questioned how Trayvon Martin came to be shot dead. She and her five colleagues cleared Zimmerman of murder. And then B37 got to thinking about her career. How about a book? She got an agent, named Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management LLC, notable for her work shilling for Amanda Knox’s ex Raffaele Sollecito.

Martin hoped Juror B37’s book would help the great unwashed…

“…understand the commitment it takes to serve and be sequestered on a jury in a highly publicized murder trial …. It could open a whole new dialogue about laws that may need to be revised and revamped to suit a 21st century way of life.”

Juror B37 went on CNN to for some marketing for her public service tome:

“I think both were responsible for the situation they had gotten themselves into. I think they both could have walked away.”

And then Juror B37 had second thoughts. The market (via Twitter and a peptition on Change.org) had told her that her project was reprehensible:

“I realize it was necessary for our jury to be sequestered in order to protest our verdict from unfair outside influence, but that isolation shielded me from the depth of pain that exists among the general public over every aspect of this case. The potential book was always intended to be a respectful observation of the trial from my and my husband’s perspectives solely and it was to be an observation that our ‘system’ of justice can get so complicated that it creates a conflict with our ‘spirit’ of justice.

“Now that I am returned to my family and to society in general, I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to my life as it was before I was called to sit on this jury.”

Martin did a reverse ferret:

“After careful consideration regarding the proposed book project with Zimmerman Juror B37, I have decided to rescind my offer of representation in the exploration of a book based upon this case.”

Says B37:

“I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to my life as it was before …”

And that’s a woman seen as a peer of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman deemed fit to judge them…

Posted: 16th, July 2013 | In: Books, Key Posts, Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Louis Smith has only read on book properly – his autobopgraphy

OLYMPIC gymnast and Strictly Come Dancing champion Louis Smith has only ever read one book. Can you guess which the Peterborough-born pommel-horse expert read? Yep, it’s his autobiography, the 240-page pot boiler Louis: My Story So Far.

Says Smith:

“It would have to be my book, as it’s the first book I’ve read properly.”

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Posted: 14th, July 2013 | In: Books, Sports | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Apple conspired to keep e-book prices artifically high as libraries die

BOOKS are not just objects to buy and trade. The BBC reports on a ruling that Apple “conspired with publishers to fix the price of electronic books”.

And those are the electronic books that thanks to convoluted copyright rules you are not permitted to pass on to friends, as you can with an actual paper book.

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Posted: 10th, July 2013 | In: Books, Money, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Objects of desire: the goth colouring book

OBJECTS of desire presents The Goth Colouring Book:

goth colouring book

 

Spotter: MK

Posted: 6th, July 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


In 1935 Ernest Hemingway wrote this letter in praise of ‘the bottle’

IN 1935, Ernest Hemingway wrote to Ivan Kashkin, a Russian translator and critic,. The Post Post Script is memorable:

hemingway drink

“P.P.S. Don’t you drink? I notice you speak slightingly of the bottle. I have drunk since I was fifteen and few things have given me more pleasure. When you work hard all day with your head and know you must work again the next day what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whisky? When you are cold and wet what else can warm you? Before an attack who can say anything that gives you the momentary well being that rum does? I would as soon not eat at night as not to have red wine and water. The only time it isn’t good for you is when you write or when you fight. Yuu have to do that cold. But it always helps my shooting. Modern life, too, is often a mechanical oppression and liquor is the only mechanical relief. Let me know if my books make any money and will come to Moscow and we will find somebody that drinks and drink my royalties up to end the mechanical oppression.”

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Posted: 5th, July 2013 | In: Books, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


John Steinbeck on the male beard versus the female beard

**FILE** This 1965 file photo shows author John Steinbeck winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize for literature. A son and a granddaughter Steinbeck hold the publishing rights to 10 of his early works, including "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Of Mice and Men," a federal judge has ruled, turning away a publishing house and others who claimed the rights. U.S. District Judge Richard Owen said in a 10-page order dated Thursday that the rights properly belong to the author's son, Thomas Steinbeck, and granddaughter Blake Smyle. (AP Photo/File)

JOHN Steinbeck on the beard:

I cultivate this beard not for the usual given reasons of skin trouble or pain of shaving, nor for the secret purpose of covering a weak chin, but as pure unblushing decoration, much as a peacock finds pleasure in his tail. And finally, in our time a beard is the one thing that a woman cannot do better than a man, or if she can her success is assured only in a circus,” – John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley.

Photo: This 1965 file photo shows author John Steinbeck winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize for literature. 

 

Posted: 21st, June 2013 | In: Books, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


A User’s Guide to Neglectful Parenting – the Shredded Wheat saga

GUY Delisle, a French Canadian, has written A User’s Guide to Neglectful Parenting. In this extract Delisle and his daughter chat about a box of Shredded Wheat:

parents

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Posted: 12th, June 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Huxley vs. Orwell – the comic inspired by Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death

HUXLEY vs. Orwell: the comic, by Stuart McMillen adapts Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death argument thaAldous Huxley’s vision of the future in Brave New World was more prescient than George Orwell in 1984:

huxley-orwell-amusing-ourselves-to-death

 

 

 

Spotter

Posted: 10th, June 2013 | In: Books, Key Posts | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Oscar Wilde explains his comment that ‘All art is quite useless’

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IN 1890, Bernulf Clegg wrote asked Oscar Wilde to expand on a line in his preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray: “All art is quite useless.” Wilde replied:

16, TITE STREET,
CHELSEA. S.W.

My dear Sir

Art is useless because its aim is simply to create a mood. It is not meant to instruct, or to influence action in any way. It is superbly sterile, and the note of its pleasure is sterility. If the contemplation of a work of art is followed by activity of any kind, the work is either of a very second-rate order, or the spectator has failed to realise the complete artistic impression.

A work of art is useless as a flower is useless. A flower blossoms for its own joy. We gain a moment of joy by looking at it. That is all that is to be said about our relations to flowers. Of course man may sell the flower, and so make it useful to him, but this has nothing to do with the flower. It is not part of its essence. It is accidental. It is a misuse. All this is I fear very obscure. But the subject is a long one.

Truly yours,

Oscar Wilde

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Posted: 28th, May 2013 | In: Books, Celebrities, Flashback | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0