The seat of the soul is where the inner world and the outer world meet. Where they overlap, it is in every point of the overlap. - Novalis

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Patrick Dunagan on the eco language reader

The Eco Language Reader, edited by Brenda Iijima, Softcover, $19.95, Nightboat Books 2010

Continual Critique: After the After of Ecology
a review by Patrick Dunagan - an excerpt:

...Engaging questions such as, “How will we continue to read and write ecological engagement?” insistently point toward that very situation, without seeking to erect limitations around it. One possibility for how such a project may be framed is offered by Leslie Scalapino’s remark, “Seeing at the moment of, or at the time of, writing, what difference does one’s living make? What difference does one’s living make in ‘that’ space, and in relation to spaces all existing at once there?” The writers and thinkers here engage language while, all around them, that same language, by its very structure and referential nature, is a force for domination and destruction of the various natural systems within which life exists. Poets are in a unique position to critique that situation. They are intimate with the force that language yields, not only in regards to realms beyond the window, but also to interior social environments. Poets as language-bearers have a vital role to play in the engagement and exchange of ideas, as Leslie Scalapino quips: “I don’t find the relation of language to so-called ‘political’ events to be illogical.”

Monday, January 10, 2011

On Tarkovsky

Andrei Tarkovsky: The Elements of Cinema
by Robert Bird.

I am finally making the time to read this very excellent book. Essential reading.

"Bird has benefited from extensive archival research and he illuminates Tarkovsky's career in sharp detail . . . His range of references, from classical Russian literature and philosophy to contemporary video art, is wide and refreshing, often triggering new reactions to films that are in danger of passive veneration . . . this is a richly argued and referenced case for Tarkovsky as heir to the symbolists' quest for spiritual enlightenment." – Sight and Sound

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pavel Florensky

Pavel Florensky: A Quiet Genius by Avril Pyman
Continuum, 2010.

From the publisher: This is the first biography in English of an extraordinary polymath whose genius was stifled and finally extinguished by the Soviet Union. He has been compared to Pascal, Teilhard de Chardin, even da Vinci. Florensky was, at one and the same time, a supremely gifted philosopher, mathematician, physicist, inventor, engineer and theologian. He was also a poet and wrote studies of history, language and art. Although he taught philosophy for most of his working life, his interests were wide-ranging and profound and included the study of time and space, theoretical and applied physics, aspects of language, and the properties of materials and geology. His book The Pillar and the Ground of Truth is widely seen as a masterpiece of Russian Orthodox theology. Avril Pyman looks at Florensky’s life, from his childhood as the son of a railroad engineer to his mysterious death, and provides a populist perspective on his achievements. Her book celebrates the life of a little-known twentieth century Christian genius.

"Avril Pyman’s marvelous biography of Pavel Florensky is a labour of love and the fruit of decades of dedicated research into the intellectual culture of Russian modernism. Over the past thirty years Florensky has emerged as a giant of European culture of his day, but his lifelong intellectual project to a large degree remains poorly understood (which is understandable given the breathtaking variety and spectacular ambition of his endeavours). With Avril Pyman’s book Florensky has finally begun to receive his due. With the deft touch of a seasoned biographer Dr Pyman uncovers the intricate and poignant design that lies at the base of Florensky’s various intellectual activities and engagements. Displaying a complete command of her subject Avril Pyman draws on the vast corpus of Florensky’s published writings, most of which have never been translated into English, on the memoirs and correspondence of his family and friends, and on the constantly expanding body of scholarly literature on him. Eminently readable and authoritatively precise, Dr Pyman’s biography will be a touchstone for all future work on Pavel Florensky." -- Robert Bird, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, The University of Chicago

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Visible Language

Visible Language: The Earliest Writing Systems
Lecture - Jan. 12 in Chicago - Christopher Woods.
Oriental Institute Museum Publication (With pdf link to the entire book): Visible Language: Inventions of Writing in the Middle East & Beyond
Oriental Institute Special Exhibit (through March 2011)