Tag Archives: literature


I had to memorize this in high school: (though not in this format).

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To kick off the new year, here’s a story by a Russian writer with a very Polish name: Sigismund Krzhizhanovsky. I’m just starting to explore his works, only a few of which have appeared in English. I thought I’d add to that little pile by translating a short piece called “The Land of the Nots” […]

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Happy Bloomsday, everyone! And what a lucky day it is. A tweet from uchicagomag (the University of Chicago alumni magazine) led to this wonderful photo showing two of my most favorite things: Looks like she’s absorbed in Molly’s soliloquy. “Yes” indeed! By a commonplace coincidence, I just recently finished The Dalkey Archive, which would lead […]

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Not many notes have been emanating from the basement recently. A lot has been happening upstairs, but the excitement generated there is unlikely to be of particular interest to you. And of course something big is afoot in the world outside, yet whenever I’m on the verge of writing about an especially funny or shocking […]

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The lefty blogs have gone so batscheiss crazy over the fact that Clinton is still in the race, it’s impossible to read them. So, for some weeks now, I haven’t. It’s very pleasant. I finally got around to reading a novel a friend gave me a while back, Beyond Sleep, by the Dutch writer Willem […]

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Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest, Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum … I always imagined fifteen guys stomping up and down on some poor guy’s chest. Maybe I’m the only one—I never really checked with anyone else. Well, today I came across this translation at a Russian blog: пятнадцать человек на сундук мертвеца, […]

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The recent news coverage of Barack Obama’s supposed “plagiarism” stirred up once again the confused pot of ideas I have or seem to have about originality and the overselling of same in the form of “intellectual property rights.” Due to the unprecedented way my cortical convolutions took shape in the latter stages of my embryonic […]

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Okay, I’ve got a thing about verbal economy, but maybe this is too damn parsimonious. A while back the online magazine Smith presented a six-word “story” by Ernest Hemingway: For Sale: baby shoes, never worn. A remarkably concise tale indeed—pathos concretized pithily. Smith invited its readers to go mano-a-mano with Papa, and six-word memoirs from […]

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I stumbled across a review of a book called Novels in Three Lines by Félix Fénéon, and given how I admire concision (or say I do, at any rate), I just had to take a look. The title in French, Nouvelles en trois lignes, is actually a pun: nouvelles can be taken as either “novellas” […]

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And now—you be the photo editor (click to enlarge): Yes, it’s pathetic. I take pictures of a dandelion instead of commenting on Virginia Tech, Alberto Gonzales, or Iraq. So it goes. Adios, KV. Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At […]

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  • Proverbs for Paranoids, 3: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.
    Gravity’s Rainbow

    ‘Is it about a bicycle?’ he asked.
    The Third Policeman