Tag Archives: literature

‘A River Runs through It’

The film by the name, ‘A River Runs through It’ (Redford 1992) is based on an autobiographical novella by Norman Maclean, similarly titled ‘A River Runs through It and Other Storie’s (Maclean 2017; Kindle edition). He was the older brother in the Maclean family, living in Western Montana – one of the most beautiful states…

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A stream of consciousness: Art, consciousness, self-consciousness and the unconscious

What is a ‘stream of consciousness’? This presupposes that one knows what consciousness is, and how it differs from the unconscious, and from self-consciousness. Briefly, consciousness means an awareness of something, most broadly your environment. In this sense, even plants are conscious, as shown by the phenomenon of phototropism. Self-consciousness, by contrast, denotes not just…

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Far more than a thriller writer

It is easy to misjudge a writer, particularly if the blurbs on the cover of his or her books proclaim something like: “Impossible to put down. Another mind-blowing story!” Or: “Wow…Blockbuster perfection. An exhilaratingly brainy thriller…” Not that these blurbs are inaccurate regarding the novels I have in mind; up to a certain point they…

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The biggest cover-up of all time?

After seeing the film based on Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and not having read the novel, I was somewhat prejudiced against his work as being just another kind of thriller, spruced up with a high-art context in which the action unfolds. Until I read his novel, Inferno, named after the first part of…

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What ‘decolonisation’ means: E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India

With all the talk about “decolonising” university curricula (see http://thoughtleader.co.za/bertolivier/2016/03/23/decolonisation-the-new-ideology/), which has again cropped up among the demands of the protesting students, I thought it might be productive to remind students and academic staff alike of one of the most eloquent – in fact, together with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, exemplary – critical literary…

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This is not all that Gyna sapiens (‘thinking woman’) is capable of

How the human species – Gyna and Homo sapiens (thinking woman and man), supposedly – have come down in the world. It does not take a genius to grasp this, although I daresay most geniuses would not waste their time with evidence supporting my statement, above; they probably have better things to do. What I’m…

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Idoru: Gibson’s astonishing glimpse of virtual reality’s future

William Gibson — creator of Neuromancer, among other gripping sci-fi novels — has arguably delved even further into the latent possibilities, or what Gilles Deleuze called virtualities, of the information revolution, in his quotidian dimension-surpassing novel, Idoru (Penguin 1996), one of the so-called Bridge trilogy. So much so that Peter Popham in the Independent commented…

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Emerson, a much-neglected thinker

Ralph Waldo Emerson — the leader of American “Transcendentalism” in the 19th century — has a lot to teach the self-obsessed, narcissistic, smartphone-wielding generation of today. Despite the fact that his famous essay, “Self-Reliance” (1841; available here) is written in the excessively patriarchal language of the time — one might be forgiven for thinking there…

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Anticipating reality – Peter F Hamilton’s Fallen Dragon

Although the title of Peter F Hamilton’s Fallen Dragon (Pan Books, 2001) creates the impression that it belongs to the fantasy genre (not really my cup of tea), one soon learns that you are dealing with science fiction. And you know that you are dealing with a master of science fiction when many of the…

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Ethics of poetic ethnicities

By David wa Maahlamela How I wish I could, like many, pretend that the ethics of poetry are engraved on a rock somewhere at the centre of the global village — an assumption that downplays the fact that one’s domicile, environment and experience directly informs his literary outlook. The poetry landscape in South Africa is…

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