Tag Archives: literary theory

Borges on writers creating their own precursors

“If I am not mistaken, the heterogeneous pieces I have enumerated resemble Kafka; if I am not mistaken, not all of them resemble each other. The second fact is the more significant. In each of these texts we find Kafka’s … Continue reading

Posted in Stuff | Tagged | Leave a comment

“Anabase” by St-John Perse

The book in question is T.S. Eliot’s translation of this 1920 French poem, with the original text on facing pages. Also included are several prefaces and forewords from other editions, all translated into English. I bought it many years ago … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Big Over Easy” by Jasper Fforde

A clever, funny and surreal whodunnit, part of a series of novels; in fact after I’d finished reading it I found out that in an earlier novel one of his characters decided to lie low for a while by hiding out … Continue reading

Posted in Novel | Tagged | Leave a comment

“If on a winter’s night a traveller” by Italo Calvino

Unique (in my limited experience). A contorted and jerky tale which successfully breaks down the ‘fourth wall’: the protagonist is “you”, “the Reader”, who begins by beginning reading “If on a winter’s night a traveller” by Italo Calvino, and ends by … Continue reading

Posted in Novel | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tragedy and Comedy

Comedy comes from surprise, either from the breaking of a (moral) rule (e.g. a taboo) or from something unexpected (“boo!”) (or both – man-falling-on-banana-skin is unexpected and makes us laugh, naughtily, from the suffering of another). And in Tragedy the … Continue reading

Posted in Stuff | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“Smiley’s People” by John le Carré

Developing to some kind of resolution the story of Smiley and Karla, subtly making clearer the binary connections between them. P450 tries to make this explicit: Karla’s being brought down by Smiley’s defining compassion; Smiley’s being somehow damaged by his … Continue reading

Posted in Novel, Reading | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“On the Road” by Jack Kerouac

A sustained poem, genuinely great in that it combines a modern(ist) absence of overall narrative, and a concentration on the modern, young, world, with a profound literary resonance both explicit (references to e.g. Le Grand Meaulnes & Proust), and implicit, … Continue reading

Posted in New words, Novel, Reading | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment