“Last Year at Marienbad redux is an exhibition, public program and publication that explores the way fact and fiction merge to form accepted knowledge about people, places, events and politics. Drawing on the use of elliptical conversations in the 1961 film Last Year at Marienbad by Alain Resnais as a point of departure, the exhibition features works of art that utilize various cinematic conventions, such as editing, character development, narrative, mise-en-scène and montage, to reveal how our understanding of reality is often mediated by those very cinematic techniques.”
And part of this series, organized by The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, includes, of course, a screening of Last Year at Marienbad, which is based, in part on Adolfo Bioy Casares’s Invention of Morel:
Tuesday, October 22, 8:20pm at Film Forum
This is Film Forum’s third event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the New York Review of Books. The NYRB Classics edition of The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, inspiration for Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Oscar-nominated screenplay, will be on sale at their concession this night. Introduced by critic and NYRB contributor J. Hoberman. For more information, click here.
Tonight, 7PM at 192 Books: To celebrate the publication of Robert Walser’s A Schoolboy’s Diary, translator Damion Searls and poet Mina Pam Dick (whose ‘I Am The Robert Walser’ was excerpted in The Brooklyn Rail last year) will read their favorite stories from the collection and discuss the unusual but influential life of Walser.
This is going to be great. Come on by.
Learn more and RSVP at the event Facebook page here.
So what are you reading right now?
I just finished Renata Adler’s Speedboat. I’m completely addicted to the New York Review of Books Classics’ reissues.
They’re very handsome.
They’re beautiful and I’m a sucker for that.
And one after the next they seem to be exciting for me to read. One thing I like about them is that they’re surprising. When you read new books, so often you’ve heard too much. You’ve been reading reviews because you can’t really stop yourself and someone else is reading it and you’re talking about it. Or you hear something like this [interview] when you go on Amazon. And you absorb a lot of information: it’s like seeing the trailer to the movie or something.
As a reader, I’m really addicted to being surprised. It’s a great method for me to read these reissued books that I don’t learn a lot about.
—Jonathan Lethem in conversation with Kevin Nguyen on Omnivoracious. Read the transcript of the entire interview here.
Starting today, the West Village’s Film Forum will be screening Contempt, the Jean-Luc Godard movie based on Alberto Moravia’s novel of the same name. It stars Brigitte Bardot (and how!). To celebrate, Phillip Lopate will be introducing the film tonight at 7:45PM, so if you are in the neighborhood, you might not want to miss this. Books will be on sale, and free copies of the most recent issue of The New York Review of Books will be available.
Film Forum will be showing Contempt through September 19th. For more information on the screenings, the FF’s website here.
P.S. The trailer for this movie (above) is incredible, as the YouTube subject line insists. Absolutely hit that play button.
How did we miss this?! On August 15th of this year, Google UK honored E. Nesbit, author of The House of Arden, with her very own Google Doodle, and it’s adorable! The occasion was what would have been Nesbit’s 155th birthday and the doodle honors her beloved book, The Railway Children.
J. K. Rowling has consistently cited Nesbit as one of her favorite authors and a major inspiration for the Harry Potter series. Could that little train be the Hogwart’s Express prototype?
The force of Walser’s writing derives from this simultaneous valorization of irreducible individuality and of sameness, smallness, interchangeability. In the most various terms, Walser praises monotony; it makes it wonderfully difficult to read his tone. When is he serious? When is he mocking the will to conform? Susan Sontag wrote that “the moral core of Walser’s art is the refusal of power; of domination.” And yet, paradoxically, part of the power of Walser’s art lies in how that refusal of domination interacts with his narrators’ demands to be dominated. Walser’s voice is a strange mix of exuberance and submission, lyrical abandon and self-abnegation. His refusals are anti-heroic, wavering; they reveal—sometimes comically, sometimes tragically—how the desire to be ruled enters the subject, the son, the servant, the pupil.
Simpson was still hoping to fill the gap, still looking around for common ground, and, not finding any, he created some by visiting the zoo (one of the pastor’s few outside interests, according to John, the janitor) and came to the table that evening full of it.
“Father, I didn’t know they let those big turtles run around loose.”
“Tortoises, Father. Harmless.”
“Tortoises. But people shouldn’t write stuff on their shells.”
“Do it here, in the pews.”
That had been it for the zoo.
On his next afternoon off, Simpson visited the Museum of Natural History (one of the pastor’s few outside interests, according to John) and came to the table that evening full of it.
“Father, how about that big moose by the front door!”
“Elk, Father. Megaceros Hibernicus.”
“Elk. Those crazy antlers! Wouldn’t want to run into him!”
That had been it for the Museum of Natural History.
—from “One of Them,” which can be found in The Stories of J. F. Powers. We think this might be what William H. Pritchard means in his review of Suitable Accommodations when he calls Powers’ humor “dry wit with all the wet squeezed out of it.”
On a totally unrelated note: what if, in an alternate literary universe, Powers’ eager-to-please Simpson went to the turtle tank, not the tortoise exhibit, and schemed to free the turtles a lá William and Neaera from Turtle Diary and forgot his petty parish house social angst entirely? NYRB fan fiction writers,* go!
*NYRB fan fiction writers may or may not exist…yet.
“Here’s Bertrand Russell with his bad breath, phlegmatic G. E. Moore, and Wittgenstein—saintly, sympathetic, an angel of intellectual destruction—a hero so well written I kept forgetting he was real.”
A man’s country may be cramped or vast according to the size of his heart. I’ve never found my country too small, though that isn’t to say my heart is great. And if I could choose it’s here in Guadeloupe that I’d be born again, suffer and die. Yet not long back my ancestors were slaves on this volcanic, hurricane-swept, mosquito-ridden, nasty-minded island. But I didn’t come into the world to weigh the world’s woe. I prefer to dream, on and on, standing in my garden, just like any other old woman of my age, till death comes and takes me as I dream, me and all my joy.
—the first paragraph of Simone Schwarz-Bart’s The Bridge of Beyond, translated by Barbara Bray.
Just because summer (reading) is coming to an end doesn’t mean the world is too. Or does it?
We sure hope not, but in any case we spy three—count ‘em, THREE—NYRB Classics that will help anyone survive the imminent post-summer/apocalypse season: Tatyana Tolstaya’s The Slynx, John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, and Kingsley Amis’ The Alteration.
[P. S. Thanks for displaying, MJ!]
I don’t like math. I’m bad at it even though my grades are pretty good. I will never go into business, I can feel that. I only hope my parents don’t try to apprentice me to a businessman! I would run away, and then what would they have? But have I said enough here about Autumn? I went on a lot about snow. That’ll get me a good grade on my report card this quarter. Grades are a stupid invention. In singing I get an A and I don’t make a single sound. How does that happen? It would be better if they gave us apples instead of grades. But then it’s true they would have to hand out way too many apples. Oh!
—from “Autumn,” one of a series of essays by fictional boy, Fritz Kocher, in Robert Walser’s A Schoolboy’s Diary. Schools are in session (or about to go in session) all over the country now and, well—we feel you, Fritz. We feel you. Apples all around!
[The image was drawn by Robert Walser’s brother, Karl, and is also used as the cover art for the Walser favorite, Jakob von Gunten.]