About the arts and ideas - on my novels and literature, music, and art

A new book about Beethoven gathers together (and completely rewrites and supplements) my blog posts on Beethoven into a short introduction to the composer, Ways of Hearing Beethoven, which I hope to see published. My novel The Fall of the Berlin Wall, completed a year ago, is about musicians and particularly the intense, irrepressible daughter of the legendary pianist featured in my previous novel Hungry Generations, now fifteen years after those events. Five years ago, my 2015 novel, The Ash Tree, was published by West of West Books in conjunction with the April 24, 2015 centenary of the Armenian genocide; it's about an Armenian-American family and the sweep of their history in the twentieth century - particularly from the points of view of two women in the family.
There are three other novels of mine, which I would love to see published. One is Pathological States, about a physician's family in L.A. in 1962. Another is Hungry Generations, about a young composer's friendship in L.A. with the family of a virtuoso pianist, published on demand by iUniverse, which I think would be of value to a conventional publisher. A Burnt Offering - a fable (a full rewriting and expansion of my earlier Acts of Terror and Contrition - a nuclear fable) is my political novella about Israel and its reactions to the possibility of a war with Iran (with the fear that it will be a nuclear war).
[My blog posts are, of course, copyrighted.]

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

some plans

Over this past week, I've planned to write about Hemingway and Babel, about Walter Benjamin and Derrida, and about some performances I admire of classical music. I'll try in these next weeks to offer comments on each (though they'll be curtailed due to added commitments which have arisen).

I'm hoping to comment on the issue of how Hemingway and Babel differently portray ways of surviving in a hostile universe - and, with regard to the former, I'm struck by the bearing of two quotations on his work. One is Lawrence's remark the Hemingway fearlessly reveals what it feels like to lose all hope. The other remark is more obliquely relevant; it's W. C. Williams' idea in introducing the little magazine he edited in the early 1920s: "Contact" is a man without abstract analysis, parody, abstract ethics - with nothing but immediate contact with his world.

And I'm interested in how the French philosopher Jacques Derrida has made use of Walter Benjamin's thinking about repairing the broken world, attending to what disappears into its cracks and fissures, and defining the role of hope in human life. The link I'll try to explore is between Derrida's Spectres of Marx and Benjamin's "Theses on the Philosophy of History" in Illuminations.

Finally, I intend to comment on some of the musical performances which I've found most moving and illuminating - there are performances of Beethoven I'm tempted again to cite, but I'll let a single example about Schuber suffice for now: Sviatoslav Richter's performance of Schubert's last piano sonata (D. 960 in B-flat), playing the first movement at an unusually slow tempo which allows him to convey with great force the beauty in every phrase. [Here's a link to the cd: Schubert: Piano Sonatas D.958, D.960 ~ Richter .]

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