nostalgia and the self

In Dubravka Ugrešić ’s The Museum of Unconditional Surrender, she attributes the following quote to the Russian literary theorist and critic Victor Shklovsky: “I have no desire to construct a plot. I am going to write about things and thoughts. To compile quotations.”  

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on photography, false promises, and melancholy

Francesca Woodman, House #3, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976

“I would argue that the compulsion of the narrative derives its interpretive animation from the real threat of loss,” Michael Ann Holly writes in her book The Melancholy Art; whether as an art historian you are acting the detective solving the mystery of a painting, or the philosopher attempting to articulate an affective response to a work of art, the motivation for the work remains the same: the experience of a loss.

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Language, the Mind, and the East vs. the West

Are we, in the West, overly consumed with creating validity through language? In other words, by naming something do we legitimize (or at least think we legitimize) something ie., eliminate the possibility of debate? 

I’m overly obsessed with language and the question of how it affects the way our mind functions analytically, so I was intrigued by Perry Link’s recent New York Review of Books blog post pondering the possibility that Western languages’ preference for nouns in contrast to Eastern languages’ preference for verbs, might lead Westerners to think something exists simply because a noun (label) for it exists. 

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Time’s Arrow

In Time’s Arrow Tod remembers the past but we, we encounter what it would be like to only remember the future.

It’s chilling to think about, the possibility of life moving in reverse. It’s an idea that is incomprehensible and yet somehow an idea we’ve been mulling over for our eternity, how many times have you heard someone assert something ended before it began?

But really, really think about it. What would it look like? Martin Amis has an idea. It looks like cab drivers paying passengers, bodies becoming stronger, hookers paying their clients, breakups beginning relationships, the knowledge of impending war or disaster, dirty dishes being set on a table, and doctors mutilating their patients. 

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On the limits of critique

The premise of Rita Felski’s (University of Virginia Professor of English) argument in her most recent book The Limits of Critique, or the point rather, is that the time is ripe for us to spend time critically analyzing critique itself; to dissect how we recognize it, how it has evolved, and ask how or if the suspicious reading that is its modus operandi has gone too far. She argues the onus critical theorists and academics have placed on critique, the dominant position we have created for it in discourse, and our subsequent forsaking of the alternatives, has nearly eliminated the possibility of (my words here) pleasurable reading.

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