Literary Studies and Life


All life is fiction but it fails to get recorded as fiction. Reading high literature is the cleanest, neatest form of learning about life that there is. Last Christmas I determined to re-read the whole of Iris Murdoch – all 26 novels. I’ve got to number 8… The Italian Girl In The Unofficial Rose, Mildred […]

Experience and experiences (R9)


Humankind has Experience Or rather it has experiences which it builds into what it likes to think of as the invented abstraction ‘Experience’. Things happen down the years and it—humankind, better thought of, with its eager bombs & drones, as ‘humanunkind’—builds them into some kind of homogeneity—‘Experience’. Things happen—they are built into an edifice called […]

What is book-learning? (R8)


Book-learning often has a bad press. Mere book-learning, they spit out between pursed lips… But it’s worth asking exactly what one does get from books… The short answer might be that it depends what you do with the words you ingest. The longer answer is, perhaps, that it all depends on what is happening to […]

Purpose (R8)


What is the Purpose of  ‘The Work’? A good question to ask is—What is the purpose of anything? When the superlative English artist Ben Nicholson was challenged to explain the purpose of his more abstract paintings he said, “When you see a tree in the middle of a field you don’t go asking what its […]