Tag Archives: books

Kindred Spirits (Notes on Henry Miller’s Nexus)

Chapter 8 of Henry Miller’s Nexus is about the role that other people can play in the life of an artist, for better or worse. Life can seem lonely for an artist, without anyone in the world who understands you, … Continue reading

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Hegel’s Scepticism

Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is an exercise in scepticism. People who call themselves “sceptics” often pride themselves on having their own ideas about the world, and trusting the evidence of their own senses. This is better than accepting established truths … Continue reading

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Notes on Henry Miller’s Nexus: Burying the Past

In Europe, Henry will acquire “a new body and a new soul”. Then he can make use of his experiences: what he has taken from New York, and from all his life so far. We’ve seen throughout Nexus that Henry … Continue reading

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Silence

When interviewed, Andy Warhol could appear aloof and arrogant. He famously preferred to give one word answers – usually “Yes” and “No” – or even just to nod or shake his head. He preferred even more not to give interviews … Continue reading

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To Own an Inch of Earth

Neal Cassady wrote to Jack Kerouac that when writing “one should forget all rules, literary style, and other such pretensions.” And what he wrote next was really beautiful: “… Rather, I think, one should write, as nearly as possible, as … Continue reading

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Love and Understanding (Notes on Jack Kerouac’s The Town and the City)

To children and writers, a landscape presents mysteries to be contemplated rather than solved. Jack Kerouac opens his The Town and the City with a description of the course of the Merrimac River, its “broad and placid” flow “broken at … Continue reading

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Getting into a Rut: Notes on The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol writes about time spent alone – in a “rut”, as he calls it. How he gets into a rut: “Go to my room, fluff up the pillow, turn on a couple of TVs, open a box of Ritz … Continue reading

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Take Heart (Notes on Henry Miller’s Nexus, Chapter 11)

Henry Miller falls asleep and has a dream, and that dream becomes a vision. He awakes to see the world with new eyes. It begins with one of those lucid dreams where anything is possible: “Nothing I wished to do … Continue reading

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Notes on Dante’s Paradise, Canto 3

“… think carefully what love is and you’ll see …” This line hands you the key to the poem, if you haven’t picked it up already. The universe of Dante is a hierarchy, where every individual’s place in the order … Continue reading

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Review of Slavoj Žižek’s Like a Thief in Broad Daylight (Part 1: “Introduction”)

Slavoj Žižek begins his book Like a Thief in Broad Daylight by discussing the purpose of philosophy. Its purpose, he says, is to “prod” people – meaning to “corrupt the youth” the way Socrates did, by challenging established norms. I … Continue reading

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