Fragments from the Burning Archive: Mikhail Bakhtin

I plunged again into my white box of old handwritten index cards today, and pulled from the archive, laid down in my twenties and thirties, a fragment from Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975), the Russian literary critic and philosopher. The text comes from a late work of Bakhtin, Speech Genres, although I took the text from Clark … Continue reading Fragments from the Burning Archive: Mikhail Bakhtin

The kaleidoscope of 2020: year in review

A tradition that I have embraced on this blog over the last few years has been to write year in review posts in December. In 2019 I reflected on walking through the desert, notes on my reading, the democratic rebuff to progressivism, and walking through the circles of hell. In 2018 I reflected on ambiguous … Continue reading The kaleidoscope of 2020: year in review

Cultural collapse: Delhi 1857

Today, I am reposting this response to William Dalrymple's magnificent The Last Mughal: the Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857. I wonder if, over the next 5 to 10 years, we will be conducting sad online mushairas (poetic symposiums) and singing laments for the collapse of the Washington court? Cultural collapse: Delhi 1857 (February 4, … Continue reading Cultural collapse: Delhi 1857

Axel’s Castle, a mirror and an encyclopaedia

Today I am reposting this post from April 2, 2018 that reflected on some of the literary symbols that formed uncanny fascinators in my mind. *** When I was about fifteen, I found Edmund Wilson's Axel's Castle in a library. It was my introduction to literary modernism, and their progenitors, the French symbolists. Over time … Continue reading Axel’s Castle, a mirror and an encyclopaedia

A solution to political decay: the ordinary virtues of governing well

I am reposting this reflection on the response to political decay in the midst of the constitutional crisis under way in America, which reveals dramatically the rot in America's institutions and elites. Over the next weeks I want to focus on some long-term writing projects outside the blog and so will mostly be reposting some … Continue reading A solution to political decay: the ordinary virtues of governing well