Undeceive ourselves

Wendy Bellion reflects on the pleasures of trompe l’oeil and the links between citizenship and deception in early US history @ Common Place. I have a confession to make.In the course of writing my book on art and illusion in the early republic, I was taken in by a trompe l’oeil object.It was October 2002…. Read more »

The state of exile has the structure of a dream

Richard Byrne reflects on the essays and fiction of Croatian writer Dubravka Ugrešić @ The Common Review. Once upon a time there was a magical empire of letters called Central Europe. Its borders were fuzzy but recognizable. Vienna was its capital. The receding Ottoman Empire provided more of its territory. It was a place that… Read more »

Suavity and charm

Jeff Ousborne considers the importance of the sound of writing and music @ Talking Writing. We don’t listen to old pop songs for their subject matter: I love my baby; my baby left me; my baby still loves me; I’m leaving my baby; why doesn’t my baby love me? We listen to them, in Victorian critic… Read more »

Sebald is brilliantly visual

Rick Poynor considers the images of novelist W. G. Sebald @ Design Observer. W.G. Sebald, who died in a car crash in 2001, is one of the greatest European writers of recent years. His books Vertigo (1990), The Emigrants (1993), The Rings of Saturn (1995) and Austerlitz (2001), all first published in German, defy easy… Read more »

Culture needs social scenes

Helen Fitzgerald on the virtues of wanting people to like us @ The New Inquiry.  In Paris this past month, I spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to pretend I was part of the Lost Generation. I sat in cafes with gestural cigarettes and glasses of wine, and imagined myself crowding dialogue, confessions, secrets,… Read more »