He had brought a large map representing the sea, Without the least vestige of land: And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be A map they could all understand. … A perfect and absolute blank!   Lewis Carroll The Hunting of the Snark (1876)  

Edouard Louis

I have yet to read any of Edouard Louis’ books, but I still found this interview: Fact or fiction: autobiographical novels with Édouard Louis – books podcast very interesting & thought provoking. I’ve rarely heard any contemporary writer – or thinker – reflect in a clearer and more precise language on the relationship between identity and … More Edouard Louis

Notes on Melancholy, part 4

In my first note on melancholy I quoted the following question raised by Jacky Bowring, she asked: How can things that are sorrowful be beautiful? Louise Glück’s First Snow is not a theoretical answer, but a wonderful demonstration of something deeply sorrowful becoming almost unbearably beautiful – First Snow  by Louise Glück  Like a child, the earth’s going to … More Notes on Melancholy, part 4

More or less profound feelings

or: who am I to talk about Anxiety …? further notes on anxiety and fear Notes based on Sianne Ngai’s Ugly Feelings From chapter 5. Anxiety Anxiety has gradually replaced melancholia as the intellectual’s signature sensibility, indeed becoming the distinctive “feeling-tone” of intellectual inquiry itself.  Moreover, anxiety has a history of being gendered, not least through the influence of psychoanalysis, where the centrality of … More More or less profound feelings

A note to Harold:

Harold asks: Do you read that as Beckett saying that he is writing not from “nothingness” in an existential sense but from “a place without intellect or the observation that could declare something to be ‘nothing’ or ‘something’”? That latter seems likely. I’m not sure if I quite understand your question (and this uncertainty of … More A note to Harold:


I ended my last post by claiming that the nothingness of anxiety echoes the nothingness at the center of Beckett’s writing – but (how) can nothing function as a source, as the origin of creative production? Beckett offers two different ‘nothings’ as interpretative keys to his writing: If I were in the unenviable position of having to study … More Maelstrom

Better to be afraid of something than of nothing …

Further musings on Edmund de Waal’s exhibition During the Night at Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna Edmund de Waal,  Albrecht Dürer, Samuel Beckett & the concept of Angst A man (Albrecht Dürer) awakes from a nightmare in the depths of the night. He writes down his fears and illustrates them with a painting. 500 years later, another man (Edmund de Waal) is inspired … More Better to be afraid of something than of nothing …

1 = 1

Today I have been reading “1 = 1” by Anne Carson It’s a wonderful text, you’ll find it in THE NEW YORKER – and here are just a few lines for you: Imagine how many pools, ponds, lakes, bays, streams, stretches of swimmable shore there are in the world right now, probably half of them … More 1 = 1