The persistence of the Mahabharata

One year ago I was about to fly to Bali, as it turned out in the last window of easy international travel before wide COVID travel restrictions. It was a wonderful, relaxing, luxurious and rejuvenating trip. Part of the regrowth came from the direct experience of the cultural traditions that India disseminated over South East … Continue reading The persistence of the Mahabharata

My descriptions of the Northern Peoples – travel in Stockholm and Uppsala

I am returning today to my notes on my travels, and piecing together the literary and cultural associations prompted by my travels through Stockholm and Uppsala in June. I began to say that I knew little Swedish or Scandinavian writing or culture as I entered the country, but that was not really true. As we … Continue reading My descriptions of the Northern Peoples – travel in Stockholm and Uppsala

Poem: The State Historical Museum, Moscow

On my trip to Moscow I visited the State Historical Museum in Moscow, housed in the Nikolaevsky Gate at the northern entrance to Red Square. Its collection and interpretation are still very much informed by the approach to the historical sciences of 20th century Russian Marxism. An audio-guide turns the mysteries of Russian history and … Continue reading Poem: The State Historical Museum, Moscow

The victorious hermit in Copenhagen

I was only in Copenhagen for a day in which time I strolled down Stroget, ate some excellent pickled herring in Nyhaven, enjoyed the excellent cinnamon and cardamon buns of Danish bakeries, relaxed on a cruise boat around the harbour during which the guide was openly contemptuous of the tourist obsession with the little mermaid … Continue reading The victorious hermit in Copenhagen

Berlin, Vergangenheitsbewältigung and finding freedom in the past

After Prague we travelled by train to Berlin. There were no preeminent icons of literature - at least fiction and poetry - who I intended to discover or rediscover on this trip to the German capital. It is not because figures from German literature have not been participants in my infinite conversation over the years. … Continue reading Berlin, Vergangenheitsbewältigung and finding freedom in the past

Encountering Fernando Pessoa in Lisbon

Travel - I am finding - is for me an exploration of the cultural, the imaginary, the infinite conversation as much as it is sightseeing the material world. So my travel to Lisbon has been an encounter with a new writer, who I may add to my collection of the fragmentary, unsuccessful and unpublished: Fernando … Continue reading Encountering Fernando Pessoa in Lisbon