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Archive for March, 2010

I finally made it up to NYC on Sunday the 21st of March, 2010 to see the Illuminated Manuscript shows at the Met and the Morgan Library. It was a glorious affair. The perfection of these pieces was astounding. I caught myself uttering “My God!” and “Jesus Christ!” under my breath and it wasn’t in vain. One has to witness these Books of Hours in order to gain a true appreciation of the skill, craftsmanship and downright artistry involved in their creation. The other highlight of the trip was an all too brief sojourn to McSorley’s Olde Ale House on 7th Street. Joseph Mitchell got it right in his small piece from The New Yorker worded so many moons ago…

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James Wood makes the sign of the cross and blesses the reader of his new article in the New Yorker with some very interesting thoughts. For instance “Does literature progress, like medicine or engineering?” I don’t believe it does, only that the fashions of it do.  Wood here really lands a knockout punch in the first paragraph when he goes on to state that:

“…anyone painting today exactly like Courbet, or composing music exactly like Brahms, would be accounted a fraud or a forger, much contemporary fiction borrows the codes and conventions-the basic narrative grammar-of Flaubert or Balzac without essential alteration.”

After reading the first paragraph of the article who really cares about the book being reviewed? I am intrigued to think that nothing has really changed about the novel in 150 years. What were all those modernists and post-modernists up to all this time? Nothing. So buy yourself a Balzac or Flaubert’s Parrot 🙂 don’t do that.  Then see what it means to be real while reading James Wood squeal…

Till we meet again.

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A Reminder…

I also maintain a blog over at http://mikemccullough.blogspot.com/ it contains examples of poetry I’ve written.

That is all, Thanks!

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The New York Times has reported that Caravaggio has surpassed Michelangelo for supremacy in the world of painting.  IDK what to make of this ridiculous little story other than that it gives one a chance to think about painting–>

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/arts/design/10abroad.html?ref=design

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Recent Acquisitions

Mr. & Mrs. Bridge – Evan S. Connell

The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry

Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life – Lyndall Gordon

O. Henry – Modern Library Edition

A Room With A View & Howard’s End – E.M. Forster

The Last Chronicle of Barset – Anthony Trollope

Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid – Douglas R. Hofstadter

Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton

Victory – Joseph Conrad

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Michael Wood’s essay on Zadie Smith’s new collection of essays is depressing in its’ sprightliness. I guess only in the NYRB can one find the phrase “ideological inconsistency” used in a positive context. Saying that you should read bad literature to know what good is, is like saying I should drink Schlitz malted liquor instead of a decent local IPA just so I can enjoy the IPA that much more. Zadie Smith is obviously accepted by the sort  of people who don’t mind what they are reading so long as it attempts to be funny or displays some act of horrible atrocity. Which could sum up most contemporary literature. Skimming through this article it is obvious that Michael Wood cares little for what Zadie Smith writes. From the quoted passages in the article it is clear that Mrs. Smith doesn’t even care what content is there so long as there are enough words to fill the page with a certain sense that she has decided to make her own. Bravo! I salute you for hacking a path for yourself in the jungle of lit. Though that path may not be belgian block, asphalt or concrete, and it might be over grown for another to hack through,  it will get you where you want to go.

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