State of Emergency, January 2003

Walter Benjamin, Illuminations: Essays and ReflectionsEdited by Hannah ArendtSchocken Books, 1988 The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that “the state of emergency” in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We…

A Thousand Letters Behind

Marcel Proust, Selected Letters, volume 4: 1918-1922 Edited by Philip Kolb, translated and with an introduction for Joanna Kilmartin Months ago, I read volume 4 of Proust’s selected letters translated into English.  As the Buddhists…

Kafka

I am looking, as I write of Kafka, at the photograph taken of him at the age of forty (my age)—it is 1924, as sweet and hopeful a year as he may ever have known…

Appreciating Kafka

The marvelous thing is that the bareness brought him not to self-denial or self-hatred but rather to a kind of tense curiosity about every Jewish phenomenon, especially the Jews of Eastern Europe, the Yiddish language,…

Just Say “Yes”

“I read your manuscript… twice” “Really?” “Lemme tell you, it was something else” “Oh yeah?” “It’s like … I don’t know how to put it” “Just try” “OK … it’s like … Kafka on acid”…

Elvia Alvarado

Our Latin America Reading Group will discuss Elvia Alvarado’s testimony, Don’t Be Afraid, Gringo on Thursday 30 May at 7 p.m. at Café Ventana.   I imagine Elvia meeting up with Che And the revolutionary…

Kafka’s Axe

Dear Bella Levenshteyn, Was reading Kafka’s letters earlier today.  The passage caught my eye: “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we’re reading…