Showing posts from April, 2016

Paul Griffiths lets Ophelia recount her story in her own words. Literally. His first-person narration uses only the 481-word vocabulary that Shakespeare gives to Ophelia in Hamlet. It sounds bizarre. Yet the result is tender, touching and extremely beautiful.

Paul Griffiths, Let Me Tell You. Reality Street, 2008.
extracts in Golden Handcuffs Review No.8
reading notes by Anthony Miller

So: now I come to speak. At last. I will tell you all I know.... These are the words of Ophelia at the beginning of this short novel: literally her words, in that her narrative is composed entirely of the vocabulary she is allotted in Hamlet. Within these meagre resources, she manages to express herself on topics including her love for her father (Polonius), her care for her younger brother (Laertes), her puzzlement in the face of the Prince himself, and her increasing sense that she must escape the fate awaiting her in the play.
This is no mere technical exercise or prequel to the play: the use of such a restricted vocabulary means that Ophelia’s voice, while direct and passionate, gains musical qualities as words keep recurring in perpetually changing contexts.I found let me tell you a beautiful a…

Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly - The book is a celebration of the seven deadly vices and shows no counterbalancing interest in the seven cardinal virtues. Even more, it is a celebration of pride, the pride of the ancient aristocracy of evil

Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly, Diaboliques: Six Tales of Decadence, Trans. by Raymond N. MacKenzie,Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2015.

With its six trenchant tales of perverse love, Diaboliques proved so scandalous on its original appearance in 1874 that it was declared a danger to public morality and seized on the grounds of blasphemy and obscenity. More shocking in our day is how little known this masterpiece of French decadent fiction is, despite its singular brilliance and its profound influence on writers from Charles Baudelaire to Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde, J. K. Huysmans, and Walter Benjamin. This new, finely calibrated translation—the first in nearly a century—returns Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly’s signature collection to its rightful place in the ranks of literary fiction that tests the bounds of culture.
Psychologically intense in substance and style, the stories of Diaboliques combine horror, comedy, and irony to explore the affairs and foibles of men and women whose aristocratic world …

Hirato Renkichi - Once called “the Marinetti of Japan” by David Burliuk, Hirato Renkichi produced a unique brand of Futurism from the late 1910s and early 1920s through poetry, criticism, and guerrilla performance

Hirato Renkichi, Spiral Staircase: Collected Writings, Trans. by Sho Sugita, Ugly Duckling Presse, 2016.

Once called “the Marinetti of Japan” by David Burliuk, Hirato Renkichi produced a unique brand of Futurism from the late 1910s and early 1920s through poetry, criticism, and guerrilla performance. Contributing to the earliest productions of Japanese avant-garde poetry, his aggressive experimentation with speed, spatialization, and performability would later influence what became a lively community of Dadaist and Surrealist writers in pre-war Japan.Spiral Staircase is the first definitive volume of Renkichi’s works to appear in English.

Translator Sho Sugita’s ingenious handling of the high-impact, anxiously mutating poetry of Hirato Renkichi—central to the blink-and-it’s-over Japanese Futurist literary movement, dead at 29—brings into sharp focus a momentous, of-the-moment figure little known in the English-speaking world. Hirato’s spring-loaded motto:
Directness is my mores.
My   …