"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
Posts tagged "history"
Picking a subject

Picking a subject

If anyone asked I said I wanted to be a writer, and I imagined and intended that this should be another word for novelist. But the stories of the glamorous dead, biography and narrative history, were as often as not what I read for pleasure. Not long before the turn of the century, my mother...
An absence full of presence

An absence full of presence

What You Did Not Tell: A Russian Past and the Journey Home by Mark Mazower is an eloquently written rhapsody on the art of remembering. It is rhapsodic both in the primary sense of the word, in that it is a chronicle exuding a certain air of poetry and exalted, almost epic feeling, and in...
The truth of the lie

The truth of the lie

“The duty of art (or of thought) consists in showing us the complexity of existence in order to make us more complex, in examining the mechanics of evil, so that we may avoid it, and even the mechanics of good, perhaps so we may understand them”. This is Javier Cercas’ declaration of intent at the...
After shock

After shock

On 4 July, a little under six months into Donald Trump’s presidency, I joined a packed audience of over 2,000 at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall for an engaging and impressive keynote speech by Naomi Klein based around her latest book No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics. Klein equates Trump’s election...
Very like a whaler

Very like a whaler

Among the great books of the sea, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, The Whale of 1851, has few peers. Around the simple narrative of Captain Ahab’s obsessive pursuit of the great white whale that had taken his leg, the whale’s deliberate destruction of his ship, and the loss of all but one member of the crew,...
Be a writer

Be a writer

In Ancient Egypt, or at least in the New Kingdom, writing was taught in scribal schools. Young boys (there is little evidence for girls’ schooling) were taught to read and write by dictation and by copying existing texts. Various compositions, of different genres and from different periods, were deemed suitable for teaching purposes. Classics of...
Greetings from Fürstenfelde

Greetings from Fürstenfelde

The vixen lies quietly on damp leaves, under a beech tree on the outskirts of the old forest. From where the forest meets the fields – fields of wheat, barley, rapeseed – she looks at the little group of human houses, standing on such a narrow strip of land between two lakes that you might...
Marina Warner hits the high notes

Marina Warner hits the high notes

Marina Warner’s soaring new story collection Fly Away Home echoes with the author’s signature concerns about life’s mysteries, wonders and perplexities through myth, history and the present. Beginning with a tale you can read on these pages, I ask her about the gathering of these stories and their wider themes. MR: A version of the...
Sing for me

Sing for me

In those days the rumour started that there would be an inquiry. Full and frank disclosure, the government kept hinting. A tribunal of independent adjudicators and observers. Independent observers. They’d look into the events thoroughly. And into the sequence of events that led to them, into the decisions and actions that led to those particular...
The eye of the Gorgon

The eye of the Gorgon

The middle of August, and by extension the end of summer, is the time of the Perseids – magnificent, prolific meteor showers, majestic shooting stars inspiring us with awe at this glimpse of eternity and immensity, but also forcing us to shudder at the prospect of chaos and human mortality. They herald divine illumination and...