“There is no centre anymore. We live in a multipolar world, and culture reflects that." Fatima Bhutto
Posts tagged "WWI"
A paean to the death of Central Europe

A paean to the death of Central Europe

Józef Wittlin, like Homer’s Odysseus whom he so much admired, was a man of many minds, human experiences, geographical and national homes. Born in Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he would come to be hailed as one of the most important voices of a new-born independent Poland. A Jew by birth, a Christian...
William Ryan: Seeking answers to the darkness

William Ryan: Seeking answers to the darkness

William Ryan’s historical thriller A House of Ghosts has been receiving high praise in the press and from readers. I’m willing to bet the stunning cover design, featuring an embossed gold-leaf image of Blackwater Abbey, has played a part in the novel’s success. Stars flicker in the night sky and stylised rays of light fan...
The mountain king

The mountain king

In the popular imagination, German history, culture and even reality closes down in 1918 with the end of WWI, the end of the German Empire and its Central European logic, the end of all order based on the authority of hereditary power, received structures, hierarchies, even typography. A strange, fantastical interlude begins, officially called the...
Unflinching and unforgettable

Unflinching and unforgettable

Catriona Ward’s superbly crafted, atmospheric new novel Little Eve continues to expand her oeuvre as one of the most interesting writers in Britain today. Following on from her stunning gothic debut Rawblood (winner of the Best Horror Novel at the 2016 British Fantasy Awards, and shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award), Little...
The eye of the Tigris

The eye of the Tigris

The present is an arrogant time in which to live, always has been. Humans of the present look back at their people, land, and history, and whisper to themselves with glee, We are not them. But we were always them. We are our history; we are the crimes of our ancestors. And we wait, mouths...
The Leica way

The Leica way

In his previous book, Norwegian Wood (MacLehose Press, 2015), Lars Mytting composed an elegy to trees – not only as an elemental form of life, as symbols, and as the other, vital half of the animate cosmos, but also in their immutable relation to man. Norwegian Wood is about the transcendental materiality of timber, logs,...
Maps and the 20th century: drawing the line

Maps and the 20th century: drawing the line

From questions of war and peace to understanding the movements of people, nature and even the financial markets, the new exhibition at the British Library, Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line, explores how maps have become increasingly present in daily life. The exhibition looks at the spectacular advances in the technology of mapping...
The power of leaves

The power of leaves

We live in an age of speed, expedience, brief thoughts and long illusions; we relish fast images, swift exchanges of truncated words, and hurried displacement; we rejoice in monumental structures, ideas, endeavours. News, whether of catastrophe or joy, races through our minds or past our eyes like flashes of lightning; we claim to experience life...
Erwin Mortier: History is debate

Erwin Mortier: History is debate

Erwin Mortier’s meticulously crafted novels about memory, language and identity are acclaimed across the world and his latest, an attempt to plug a surprising gap in Belgian literature about the Great War, was immediately dubbed a modern classic. I catch up with him on the release of the English-language edition. MR: Your first three novels...
Swarms and sorrows

Swarms and sorrows

He frequently took me on trips with him when the war was over and he meticulously documented what I call the congealing, the great levelling, in all respects after the ravages and the euphoria of peace. The smoothing-over of the tormented earth. The cemeteries where the fallen were gradually put in straighter and straighter ranks,...