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An immodest proposal
An immodest proposal

Stephen Barber

A War of Fragments: World Versus America

J.G. Ballard’s self-declared ‘Immodest Proposal’ for a global war-­alliance to exact the destruction of America demonstrates the provocatory zeal of his last fiction plans, as well as their enduring prescience. As Ballard emphasises several times in the World Versus America notebooks, he is utterly serious in his concerns and visions. Although the Ballard ­estate declined permission for any images of pages from the World Versus America archival notebooks to accompany this essay, any member of the general public interested to do...
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Tom McCarthy

Ecstasy of inauthenticity

The question of authenticity and I go back some way; we’re old sparring partners – frenemies. It’s been a fraught relationship, shot through with paradox and misconstruing. My first novel, Remainder, does turn around its protagonist’s obsession with becoming ‘real’, inhabiting his era or his city, building, skin, movements and gestures in a ‘first-hand’ or ‘authentic’ way, an obsession which he carries to the point of murder. Yet the pleasure of seeing this book receiving glowing press reviews that praised it for its ‘originality’ and ‘true’-ness was tinged with an awareness of something being odd or ‘off’, since Remainder is in fact the most un-original of novels, a novel about non-originality and simulacra that’s quite blatantly composed of set tropes and constructed situations reprised and, only slightly modified, replayed from sources ranging from Ballard’s Crash and Beckett’s Godot back to Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (Uncle Toby’s domestic re-stagings of battle terrains)...

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  • identity
  • Jacques Lacan
  • contemporary literature
  • psychoanalysis

 

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Jean-Luc Nancy

Ζένοι και Zah και Zuh

Ξένος extraneus του έξω όχι του μέσα (intraneus) όχι της οικίας unheimlich όχι του heim όχι της εστίας της άλλης πλευράς της πόρτας – fores, foreigner όχι υπερβολικά στον ρυθμό, odd όχι κανονικός όχι συνήθης σπάνιος ιδιάζων seltsam παράξενος besherat γενναίος κομψός απρόβλεπτος στραβός verschroben

λοξός αναπάντεχος εξαιρετικός εκπληκτικός

 

Είναι εκπληκτικό πόσες λέξεις εκφράσεις τρόπους διαφορετικούς έχουμε για να μιλήσουμε για τον παράξενο ξένο τον ausländer τον έξω από τη χώρα και όχι «pays avec nous» όπως λέγαμε κάποτε στη Γαλλία «c’est un pays à moi» για να πούμε κάποιος από το χωριό μου τη γειτονιά μου την περιοχή μου την πατρίδα μου

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“Obsessed with buffering”
“Obsessed with buffering”

Tom McCarthy

Recessional—Or, the Time of the Hammer

Towards the end of Thomas Pynchon’s mammoth 1973 novel Gravity’s Rainbow, the stumbling ingénue of a hero Tyrone Slothrop sets off on a commando raid. The territory he and his cohorts move through is a giant ­metropolis, a “factory-state” in which capital, technology and power, perfectly co-calibrated, send airships drifting through urban canyons, past chrome caryatids and roof-gardens on skyscrapers that themselves shoot up and down on ­elevator-cables: a conurbation ­Pynchon calls the “City of the Future” or “Raketen-Stadt.” The...
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  • literary studies
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Jean-Luc Nancy

غریبه‌ها غریبه‌ها

Etrange (غریب) در زبان فرانسوی از ریشه لاتین extraneus به معنای «خارجی» در برابر داخلی intraneus است. آنچه از خانه نیست unheimlich (امر غریب) از heim (خانه) نیست از منزل نیست در طرف دیگر دروازه fores است foreigner (خارجی)، خارج از ضرب و زیادی است odd (زاید) ناهنجار نامعمول نادر کمیاب تکی است seltsam (عجیب) عجیب و غریب besherat رشید ظریف پراوهام خمیده‌‌ verschroben (بد خو) خمیده شگفت‌ آور خارق‌ العاده حیرت‌ انگیز

غنای زبان امری غریب است در کلماتی که به نحوی حولِ مفهومِ غریبِ خارجی ausländer شکل گرفته اند خارج از کشور «هم‌‌ کشور ما» همانگونه  که پیش‌ تر در فرانسه می‌ گفتیم «این کشور من است» برای اشاره به کسی از روستای من محله‌ ی من استان من ولایت من

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Jochen Thermann

I really should not have hired him…

I really should not have hired him, but he seemed like he could fill in for my regular cook. Schneider had called in sick it seemed like it could drag on, so I took him on without too much fuss. He was a stocky, small man who could speak only broken German. At the end of the day, business had to go on, and the guests were hungry.

The complex relationships that you maintain often are unclear, even to yourself. So too the code that goes along with them. It is hard to decipher. It is only when things go off the rails that you recognize how well the self-regulation mechanisms were working: how Schneider would organize his purchases, how he would talk to the staff, how he put together the ingredients, and how truly he was interested in keeping business humming.

On the surface, the assistant chef worked in the same...