In "Walking, Researching, Remembering: W. G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn as Essay," Patrick Madden reaches a simple conclusion but visits along the way several points of wider interest in a discussion of essays in general. [more inside]
"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, which would later be called The Harvard Classics." (Via) [more inside]
I have known him profess himself a man-hater, while his cheek was glowing with compassion; and, while his looks were softened into pity, I have heard him use the language of the most unbounded ill-nature. Some affect humanity and tenderness, others boast of having such dispositions from nature; but he is the only man I ever knew who seemed ashamed of his natural benevolence.From "The Man in Black," by Oliver Goldsmith, author of She Stoops to Conquer and The Vicar of Wakefield.
On Sunday, April 29, 2012, composer Joel Goldsmith, son of famous film composer Jerry Goldsmith (Jerry's MeFi Obit Post from 2004), passed away at 54 of cancer. [more inside]
"The prominent literary critic Marjorie Perloff has recently begun using the term 'unoriginal genius' to describe this tendency emerging in literature. Her idea is that, because of changes brought on by technology and the Internet, our notion of the genius—a romantic, isolated figure—is outdated. An updated notion of genius would have to center around one's mastery of information and its dissemination. Perloff has coined another term, 'moving information,' to signify both the act of pushing language around as well as the act of being emotionally moved by that process. She posits that today's writer resembles more a programmer than a tortured genius, brilliantly conceptualizing, constructing, executing, and maintaining a writing machine." --Kenneth Goldsmith on why "genius" is an archaic concept, and how literature in English has fallen half-a-century behind advances in visual arts and music
Never Again is a novel in which no word occurs more than once. Published in Ubuweb's contemporary collection. [more inside]
Spy music! Whether it's Lalo Schifrin's theme for Mission Impossible, or Jerry Goldsmith's theme for Man from U.N.C.L.E., or the greatest of them all, John Barry's iconic James Bond theme, you know it when you hear it. Now, for my money, the best spy music in recent years wasn't from a spy movie at all, but an animated superhero film: the action-packed theme and soundtrack for The Incredibles, in which the very talented Michael Giacchino was clearly (and brilliantly) channeling John Barry. And of course, you'll all want to head over here and see what your fellow MeFiers have lately been doing with the genre. [note: see hoverovers for link descriptions] [more inside]
Damning leak for Blair / Bush! A leaked transcript of a senior British government meeting indicates that the Bush administration viewed war with Iraq as "inevitable" as of July 2002, even though the rationale for war was "thin" and that "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran." It further states that the desire to bring about regime change was "not a legal base for military action", and that the only legitimate reason to declare war was with UNSCOM approval. Most disturbingly, it indicates that there were "strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change."
Film composer Jerry Goldsmith died on Wednesday. At Deconstructing Goldsmith, you can find short and occasionally contentious commentaries on just about all of Goldsmith's scores, including rejected ones.