Mrs D

Mrs D

June 25, 2018

The ambiguity that Woolf creates through technique in Mrs Dalloway is a strong challenge to literary convention. It’s often hard to distinguish the external voice of the narrator from that of a character’s first person view. This ambiguity is present throughout the novel and begins on the very first page: “Mrs Dalloway said she would […]

Japanese beauties

June 12, 2018

Beauty is inherent in the world and we have only to tune into it. Some beauty speaks particularly forcefully, other beauty exists in quiet delight. Great beauty may reside in forgotten places. Wherever it is and however it presents itself, thinking of beauty as resonance gives us new ways to find and appreciate it. Walking […]

Revisiting Rouen

June 8, 2018

One of the recurring themes of Rouen is a sense of isolation and distance. The poem itself may be considered a ‘war poem’ yet it is never dealt with directly. The narrator is a nurse, someone who deals with the aftermath of the action and provides a secondary service rather than actively participating in the […]

The mark on the wall

June 5, 2018

One of Woolf’s most striking portrayals of this idea comes in the 1921 short essay ‘The Mark on the Wall’, in which she remembers noting a small mark upon the wall and wondering what it was and what could have made it. The entire story is a wonderful musing on the ramifications of imaginative freedom […]

The reality paradox

May 28, 2018

While popular psychiatrist Maslow saw the progressive satisfaction of lower to higher needs as a pre-condition to self-actualization, Albert Hofmann (1990), synthesizer of the drug LSD, described a more immediate path to the higher spiritual realm through the experience of other realities. While noting the dangers inherent in taking the drug he developed and recommending, […]

The First Person and Other Short Stories

May 27, 2018

The First Person and Other Short Stories reads the title of Ali Smith’s latest work. What does that mean: “Other Short Stories”? Is it one of those books: an assortment of several stories  joined at the spine by little more than an editor’s taste or an author’s name? Or is it what we can term […]

Places define us

May 26, 2018

Places communicate to their users. The physical patterns that evidence particular ways of life communicate to other current or potential users. What is more, they speak in language that is often difficult to codify, but can be nonetheless well-understood.   Consider the analogy of music. Some music lovers may know exactly what comprises a certain […]

Harbor Town

May 24, 2018

Earlier plans and marketing brochures loosely claimed that houses would be inspired by a regional style of “old Memphis” or “old Mississippi riverfront towns”, but this was largely a marketer’s fictional appeal to history. With more than 20-approved architects and builders on an “approved” list who custom design for buyers of neighborhood lots, the resulting […]

Avante Garde ahead?

May 23, 2018

Stewart Home is in many ways correct. “To be avant-garde” he postures, “is to be ahead of the pack”, to be outside of the norms of society in order to highlight the contradictions failings of the system that are invisible to those inside it. Where he falters is in his assertion that this counter culture […]

Journalism

Although journalism executed rather differently than history or biography, it largely relies upon the same methods. The basis of most journalism is that it is the conveyance of events from one party to the masses. There is no room here for subjectivity or personal reflection, it’s a top down acquisition of information. That is the […]

London’s food scene

May 22, 2018

30 years ago, London was a joke. The whole of the UK was, seen as nothing more than an outdated place filled with fusty old men and a slavish obedience to tradition. Many on the continent despaired, wondering if it would ever break free of this brutish nationalism. We could be speaking about many topics […]

Hidden gems of London

From the title, you no doubt have a picture in your mind of exactly what we’re talking about. The hidden gems as they’re so often called, places that most people don’t know about and are underappreciated. Then comes the list of trendy popups and various indie stores and you’re expected to go to them and […]

Memories

May 21, 2018

In his anthology The Unattended Moment, Michael Paffard speaks of ‘ransacking’ the shelves of autobiography and memoir – from de Quincey and Wordsworth to Koestler and Nabokov – for the epiphanies, visions, revelations, illuminations, fits and trances that make up his mystical and quasi-mystical collection.   As Paffard points out, what connects many of these […]

Dear Jon – A Letter I Never Wrote

May 16, 2018

I can only speak for myself; I wasn’t there for Jon’s childhood and it wouldn’t be fair for me to comment on it. From my experience of him before he left, he seemed like an angry teenager. More than just the normal angst, he seemed to have so much misplaced anger. When he left, he […]

Education in London

May 15, 2018

The Education Act of 1870, providing public support for elementary education– an increasingly important device for socializing and controlling the working class–was an excellent example of this subtle process of domination, especially coming so soon after the ‘labour aristocracy’ achieved enfranchisement as a result of the 1867 Reform Act. But there was another important aspect […]

modern fiction

The assertion that “While much modern fiction seems to represent contemporary life, we would be wrong to expect it to be ‘real’ or to offer an account of ‘the truth’” is an interesting one. It really raises a lot more questions than it answers, and this essay intends to explore the central tenets: does modern […]

Running out of Room

May 13, 2018

What causes housing problems, and why do they perpetuate in the face of concerted efforts to solve or even mitigate them? The list could be enormously expanded. However, though the concepts outlined in the following pages are aimed at elucidating these and other questions, no attempt has been made to answer them in a methodical […]

Working in the East End

May 12, 2018

The East End was home for all levels of the working class. The better paid skilled workers probably lived in reasonable accommodations by the standards of the time, but the bulk of the workers, particularly the multitudes of casual workers, lived in densely packed, overcrowded, unsanitary rooms and lodging houses for which they paid high […]

Liberte, Egalite, Fratenite

May 6, 2018

Raymonde Machard declared that Liberte, Egalite, Fratemite must be lived out in the broadest sense. But she did not represent the majority opinion. Most writers argued not for a universal notion of citizenship shared between the sexes, but for a particular role that women alone would fulfill. They wanted to enlarge women’s “natural” housekeeping abilities […]

Irish nationals

May 4, 2018

Irish nationalism is all too often seen as the battle ground of men, occupying city post offices and exchanging furious rhetoric, a generalisation that sees women marginalised. In actuality, women were linked to the very core of nationalism not only, as critcs like Eagles note, because of their involvement in radicalism but because the very […]

Magic and creativity

May 2, 2018

There is a relationship between beauty, magic and creativity for which a few words are in order. There is something magical about beauty and the creative process which produces that beauty. Unfortunately, magic is probably even less understood than beauty. In its common connotation, magic implies getting something for nothing, a manipulation of physical reality […]

The Waves

However, any claim The Waves has to being an example of democratic literature is savagely undercut by the fact that it is by no means an accessable text. Although it may lack the dense myriad of allusions found in Joyce or Eliot, the novel’s sheer complexity of form and imagery leave the average reader in […]

London’s secrets

April 27, 2018

Contrary to the conscience-salving beliefs of the middle-stratum public, the lesser known areas of the city are not only inhabited by disreputable or dangerous elements of the working class, and the ‘respectable’ workers had not been able to escape to the suburbs. All strata of the working class were forced to live in the central-area […]

Peak problems

April 24, 2018

Experts have today warned that there is an overarching problem of rent in the capital. This problem applies to both visitors and residents, and may well risk peaking the capital’s potential. There is an on-going macro-struggle between the capitalist class, bent on increasing the rate of capital accumulation subject to the maintenance of social stability […]

The three musketeers

April 22, 2018

“Woolf, Joyce and Proust ‘hesitate to impose on life, which is their subject, an order which it does not possess in itself’, partly because they are seeking to represent ‘a more real reality’”. That assertion raises and relies on three central points: that life does not possess the order it is often attributed in fiction, […]

Economic shifts

April 18, 2018

With any change of the economic foundation, the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed. In considering such transformations, a distinction should always be made between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, aesthetic or philosophic–in […]

Engagement

April 11, 2018

The perception of beauty requires an extraordinary level of engagement with the world. As beauty is inherent in the world, we discover beauty when we are most in tune with the world, when we are in resonance with it. To resonate with beauty, not simply to recognize beauty from past experience, involves entering an altered […]

Future thinking

Stewart Home is in many ways correct. “To be avant-garde” he postures, “is to be ahead of the pack”, to be outside of the norms of society in order to highlight the contradictions failings of the system that are invisible to those inside it. Where he falters is in his assertion that this counter culture […]

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