Monday, February 8, 2010

Duddy Kravitz's brother Lenny

Picture taken after Lenny dropped out of medical school: pertinent phrase--"anatomy's the killer..." O-o-h yeah.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Literary Bile

Today's Arts & Letters Daily features an excellent article from the Toronto Globe & Mail on the biliousness of writers to their own fraternity, entitled "You suck, and so does your writing." It ends with the following comment on Canadian writers:
It pains me, though, that Canadian writers have fallen invectively short. Are we too nice? Too deferential? Sure, there's no shortage of private whingings, resentments and jealousies, but wouldn't it be a treat to have, say, Alice Munro opine of Robertson Davies something along the lines of: “The man was a blowhard. All that cloudy, mystical Jungianism hung on the slenderest of twigs; and never a character you could faintly believe in.”

Ah well, I can dream, can't I?
The article's writer "... [b]ooks editor Martin Levin has been the target of some invective of his own, but of disappointingly low quality."

Monday, February 1, 2010

On History and National Identity

A very useful quotation on the importance of historical knowledge and understanding (à propos the central significance of Ethel Wilson's The Innocent Traveller) comes from Karl Marx in his Eighteenth Brumaire:
"Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past."