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Can a Big Government Push Bring the Nobel Prize in Literature to South Korea?

In Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square, a shining bronze statue of King Sejong the Great, the fourth ruler of the Joseon dynasty, presides over twelve lanes of traffic. Behind him sits the Gyeongbokgung Palace compound, today home to the National Palace Museum. Show More Summary

Reading the collections, Week 46: Math becomes art in Byrne’s 1847 colourful Euclid

Amongst the stacks in St Andrews one can find some of the most stunning and renowned examples of mathematicians and artists collaborating or crossing boundaries to experiment largely with Euclid’s […]

Zaw Zaw Aung (1937-2016)

As, for example, The Irrawady reports, Zaw Zaw Aung, Writer Famed for Ushering in Modernism, Dies at 79. None of this Burmese writers' work appears to be available in English translation, but he was an important figure, especially in...Show More Summary

The Rose of Cikembang review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Kwee Tek Hoay's 1927 novel, The Rose of Cikembang, another volume in Lontar's Modern Library of Indonesia-series.

The Rhinoceros and the Hippopotamus

Where is the great nonsense of our time? You might say that our political world is replete with nonsense, but that’s not the kind of nonsense I mean. True nonsense is aware of itself as nonsense—in fact, that’s one of… Continue reading ?

Where we find new old books, chapter 5, part II: A beginners’ guide to uncovering rare book treasures: the journey of a 500 year old book

Here, our Lighting the Past team complete the story of their recent adventures uncovering the story of one of our new finds. Provenance of a 16th century Parisian sammelband At […]

Whitbread Costa Book of the Year

They've announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) the winner of this year's Whitbread Costa Book of the Year -- and it is The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. The winner of this prize is selected from the category-winners, and it's the...Show More Summary

Premio Rómulo Gallegos can't pay

The Premio Internacional de Novela Rómulo Gallegos is one of the most illustrious Spanish-language novel prizes, with a list of winners to rival pretty much any other book prize; it also comes with good money attached (though there's...Show More Summary

On the Edge review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Rafael Chirbes' On the Edge, just out from New Directions (with a UK edition from Harvill Secker due out in a couple of months). As I mentioned... years ago, this was pretty...Show More Summary

Activists of the Imagination: On English as a Department, Division, Discipline

Earlier this month, just back from a marvelous and productive MLA Convention in Austin, Texas, I started to write a post in response to an Inside Higher Ed article on "Selling the English Major", which discusses ways English departments are dealing with the national decline in enrollments in the major. Show More Summary

Ibrahim al-Koni

At Marcia Lynx Qualey (of the invaluable Arabic Literature (in English)) reviews Ibrahim al-Koni's National Translation Award (in William Hutchins' translation) prize-winning New Waw, Saharan Oasis (see also the University...Show More Summary

Ottaway Award nominations

At Words without Borders they've put out their Call for Nominations: The 2016 Ottaway Award -- that's the 'Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature', recognizing: "individuals who have taken extraordinary steps toShow More Summary

Jantar books

I mentioned Czech Republic-based Jantar Publishing a couple of weeks ago, and they've now kindly sent me a couple of their books, and while I should be getting to these sooner rather than later, hot damn, they deserve a mention justShow More Summary

I Wanted to Ruin It for You: On Yael Hedaya’s Housebroken (Part 1)

    Do you remember that strangely addictive taste of drugstore lipstick on your teenage lips And how it wouldn’t taste the same if you bit right into it? But I’m getting ahead of myself.   I… Continue reading ?

Air Head

I fly an average of twice a month these days, usually for work, and although I spent much of my life afraid of airplanes, I now chase them with an addict’s need. If it has been a while since I have been aloft, I’m restless, peevish, mindless, tired—useless as a human being. Show More Summary

Design for Living

In the English-speaking world, we are used to thinking of our greatest writer as an enigma, or a blank. Though there’s enough historical evidence to tell us when Shakespeare was born and when he died, and more than enough to prove that he wrote the plays ascribed to him, the record is thin. Show More Summary

Links & Reviews

- The Massachusetts Historical Society marks the 225th anniversary of its establishment today. May it ever prosper!- An employee of the National Library of Ireland will face trial over the theft of more than two hundred books from the library's collections. Show More Summary

Réparer les vivants in English

I was impressed by Maylis de Kerangal's Birth of a Bridge, and ever since have been looking forward to her more recent, also multiple-prize-winning novel, Réparer les vivants. It's due out in English shortly, and I'll be covering itShow More Summary

The Deep Sea Diver's Syndrome review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Serge Brussolo's The Deep Sea Diver's Syndrome, just out from Melville House. Brussolo is an immensely popular -- and prolific -- French author, the kind of writer where,...Show More Summary

Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Death of God

The connection hinges on the meanings of the word mystery, but it’s worth considering. Creation, after all, is the scene of the greatest whodunit of all time—theoretical physicists and speculative metaphysicians alike engage in perpetual forensic evidence-gathering, but they have failed… Continue reading ?

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