Tag Archives | Literature

City Lights Celebrates 60

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

When Gutenberg created the printing press, humanity took a massive leap in literacy, social equality, and political democracy. It’s hard to imagine in this day of tablet phones and digital literature, but after World War II the American paperback created a revolution of its own: it made books available for cheap and made publishing possible for all kinds of niche writing including that always-highly-touted, but-often-most-all-but-ignored object: the contemporary poetry collection. It wasn’t exactly the Gutenberg revolution, but the effect was impactful, widespread and, in the case of City Lights, sustained.

This year, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights paperback publisher and bookstore is 60. Here’s the Los Angeles Review of Books on the birthday and the publisher’s latest release…

Major cultural changes often result from individual vocation and choices. Ferlinghetti’s life story seems so characteristically American. He had a rocky beginning in life: his Italian father died six months before his birth and his French mother was sent to an asylum a few months after.

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The Mystery of Lewis Carroll

The author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which sees its 150th anniversary this year, remains to this day an enigmatic figure. Jenny Woolf explores the joys and struggles of this brilliant, secretive, and complex man, creator of one of the world’s best-loved stories, at Public Domain Review:

When Charles L. Dodgson was born in January 1832, his paternal aunt wrote a letter to his parents, welcoming the “dear little stranger” and begging them to kiss him on her behalf. His clergyman father, already “overdone with delight” whenever he looked at his family, put a notice in The Times to announce the arrival of his much-wanted first son.

Lewis Carroll Self Portrait 1856 circa.jpg

Lewis Carroll Self Portrait, circa 1856.

 

The baby would grow up to become Lewis Carroll, author of two of the most famous children’s books in the world. Mystery, and even controversy, would surround him in later life, but one thing that never changed was his deep attachment to the members of his family, or theirs to him.

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The Rewriting of David Foster Wallace

For fans of David Foster Wallace’s writing (Infinite Jest being the main event), the current focus on the man himself rather than his (admittedly challenging) literary legacy is more than a little disturbing, as recounted by Christian Lorentzen at Vulture:

Nobody owns David Foster Wallace anymore. In the seven years since his suicide, he’s slipped out of the hands of those who knew him, and those who read him in his lifetime, and into the cultural maelstrom, which has flattened him. He has become a character, an icon, and in some circles a saint. A writer who courted contradiction and paradox, who could come on as a curmudgeon and a scold, who emerged from an avant-garde tradition and never retreated into conventional realism, he has been reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other.

David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace.

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Why Are Beggars Despised? by George Orwell

Sandra Druschke (CC BY 2.0)

Sandra Druschke (CC BY 2.0)

via Reddit (r/books):

It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary “working” men. They are a race apart–outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men “work,” beggars do not “work”; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not “earn” his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic “earns” his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable.

Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no essential difference between a beggar’s livelihood and that of numberless respectable people.… Read the rest

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James Joyce — Modern Psychonaut

Bobby Campbell (CC BY 2.0)

Bobby Campbell (CC BY 2.0)

“I am convinced personally that Mr. Joyce is a genius all the world will have to recognize.”
– Aleister Crowley, The Genius of Mr. James Joyce

“Joyce’s prose prepared me to enter psychedelic space.”
– Timothy Leary, FLASHBACKS

“(Finnegans Wake is) about as close to LSD on the page as you can get…”
– Terence McKenna, Surfing on Finnegans Wake

“If you’ve never had a psychedelic, reading Joyce is the next best equivalent.”
– Robert Anton Wilson, RAW Explains Everything

“I have read Finnegans Wake aloud at a time when takers of LSD said, ‘that is JUST LIKE LSD.’ So I have begun to feel that LSD may just be the lazy man’s form of Finnegans Wake.” 
– Marshall McLuhan, Q & A

“Someday I’m going to get my article published; I’m going to prove that Finnegans Wake is an information pool based on computer memory systems that didn’t exist until centuries after James Joyce’s era; that Joyce was plugged into a cosmic consciousness from which he derived the inspiration for his entire corpus of work.Read the rest

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A Very Seussian Call of Cthulhu

Australian artist, R.J. Ivankovic has diabolically mashed up two disparate, yet oddly complimentary genres in this fabulous collection: the weird fantasy and horror of H.P. Lovecraft and the weird fantasy and childlike wonder of Dr. Suess. Feast your eyes on the eldritch, sanity-blasting horror of two literary masters melded into an unspeakably delightful melange by creative forces beyond the ken of hapless mortals. We might live on a placid island of ignorance, but sometimes setting sail on the black seas of infinity is its own reward. Sometimes not, as the doomed narrator of the following tale will attest, but them's the breaks, kids. hpl_s_the_call_of_cthulhu___cover_by_drfaustusau-d4knqrz
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Brush with a Goddess

I burst into my home at about 1:30 AM, and there she was, John Tim in tow. Before I could even eek out a proper greeting, she let out a bellow, the kind you’d expect from a tortured owl. Planted herself into the middle of the living room, still howling she grabbed and tugged at the clothes of the four gentleman present. She was wobbly and reeked of peach schnapps, and we weren’t gonna have any part in it. After her first assault failed, she looked up and smiled, “Don’t you guys get it? I love you all equally!” and then continued howling, this time the shrieking of holy orgasm. She then tried to mount my roommate sitting at his computer desk, no take, so she went on to just spread her legs as wide as possible, still moaning. She tried removing her top, that attempt was stifled.… Read the rest

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The Evolution of Language and the Death of “I”

The Dark Meaning Research Institute has just published its third paper, which is on the evolution of language. Dark Meaning Research Institute logoIt states:

Since we saw in Paper No. 1 that the self and the other are inseparable, we can also begin to see how one of the biggest tricks in The Language Show – “sawing a person in half” – is achieved. Two aspects of the same self can be made to look like completely separate parts thanks to the old magic dividing wand of “I”, which forces a person into a very narrow position with a limited view of reality.

The trick is very easy to perform: an unwitting actor’s attention is directed away from their true centre by making them focus on a magic dot in their limited field of vision while a bend is made behind them. This results in the victim maintaining that they are an individual, which always gets a big laugh from the audience, who fail to realise they are also victims of the same trick.

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ATTMind Radio EP. 4 – Entheodelic Storytelling With Benton Rooks

Benton Rooks ATTMind Radio ep 4This interview is with Benton Rooks, author of the TRETA-YUGA graphic novel trilogy, writer for Reality Sandwich and Disinfo, and a generally awesome guy. In 2014 he co-coined the term “entheodelic storytelling” with Graham Hancock, shamanic filmmaker/author Rak Razam, and Jeremy D. Johnson, editor of the psychedelic culture section of RS.

We speak about the often-marginalized power of the storytelling narrative in fiction and literature, the role of mythology in contemporary culture, altered states for creativity, and generally what it's like to be a fringe-writer in the modern world.

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