Cities of Light

04.26.2006 | Zhanna Gumerova | Fine Art, Partisan Art, Photography | 1 Comment

Unread and Underrated: Henry James's The Princess Casamassima

04.21.2006 | John Bruce | Literature | 3 Comments
The portrayal of political conspiracy in the novel has imaginative force enough to do what it needs to do. But The Princess Casamassima isn't, as far as I can see, primarily about revolution. It is perhaps James's fullest depiction of society and the full scope of life that he saw around him. Revolutionary conspiracy is part of the picture, though James understands both the fecklessness on one hand, and the utter cynicism on the other, of radical politics, and he doesn't offer them as a viable way to parse out what a careful observer sees of the world in its complexity and confusion.

Ern Malley and The LeRoy Legacy

04.13.2006 | Jeremy Axelrod | Literature, Media Affairs | 2 Comments
The acceptance and effusive praise of these poems was supposed to embarrass all hoodwinked readers and editors, proving that the School of Obscurity read meaning into randomness. More important, it was meant to expose how destitute in meaning modern poetry had become. But it didn’t. Despite the considerable sensation created by the hoaxers’ unveiling, the Ern Malley poems did not lose legitimacy. For many sophisticated readers discovering the nonsense-intentions of the authors didn’t undermine the art at all. Nobody stopped drinking champagne from the glass slipper, and Malley remains at least as compelling as LeRoy. For in the effort of critiquing modern poetry, McAuley and Stewart had in fact created it.

Citizens of Limbo

04.11.2006 | Robert Latona | Cultural Affairs, Literature | 5 Comments

So how, exactly, did Richie end up where he did? Or me? Or anyone? In Richie’s case, the bottom line might be that he just isn’t into body hair. I’ve seen odder specimens, with odder reasons for being where they are, drift in and out the slipstream in the course of 30 plus years of slogging it out in Spain: alcoholics, remittance men, second-home owners, English teachers (hey—if it was good enough for James Joyce….) Vietnam draft dodgers gone potbellied and gray, people who get on and off yachts, Army brats and many, many lost souls with too much money or with no money at all.

New Partisan Presents: PEGGED by Nick Savard

04.5.2006 | The Editors | Fine Art, Partisan Art, Partisan Briefs | 1 Comment
New Partisan, along with affiliate and contributor, Miranda Fine Art present Nick Savard’s solo gallery show, PEGGED, opening tomorrow in London. Savard is a New York based artist who incorporates photography, drawing and sculpture into his work. His most recent installation is an intricate setup featuring wooden viewing cones, a system of pulleys and drawings. If you’re in London, be sure to check it out. Details of the show, some examples and a brief essay on Savard’s work follow.

April 7 - 13 May 2006
The Glasshouse Gallery
2-3 Bull's Head Passage, Leadenhall
Market, London, EC1

The Depressing World of TJ Goldman

04.4.2006 | Adam Chimera | Fiction & Fables | 2 Comments
The bus was crowded with boisterous children, many of whom TJ seemed to know. He exchanged pleasantries of the spitball and ear-flicking variety with them. Fortunately, I was more or less left alone, and TJ made no effort to introduce me to anyone. Although I noted the lack of traditional social grace (something of which I was almost as guilty), I did not dare hold this against him for fear that he might detect even my most secret disapproval. In no way did I want to increase the likelihood that some subroutine of cordiality, constructed passively by observation but unused to date, would become active in TJ and lead to my forced interaction with the other riders.

From Salmagundi, No. I.-Saturday, January 24, 1807

03.31.2006 | Trad Anon | Literature, Partisan Reader | 1 Comment

s everybody knows, or ought to know, what a Salmagundi is, we shall spare ourselves the trouble of an explanation—besides, we despise trouble as we do everything that is low and mean; and hold the man who would incur it unnecessarily, as an object worthy our highest pity and contempt. Neither will we puzzle our heads to give an account of ourselves, for two reasons; first, because it is nobody’s business; secondly, because if it were, we do not hold ourselves bound to attend to anybody’s business but our own; and even that we take the liberty of neglecting when it suits our inclination. To these we might add a third, that very few men can give a tolerable account of themselves, let them try ever so hard; but this reason, we candidly avow, would not hold good with ourselves.

Hardly A Headline

For a while as an AP reporter in Los Angeles, I started my day chatting up the mother of a man who murdered Bobby Kennedy, tearing a big hole in U.S. history. Most of the world probably missed it last week when Sirhan Sirhan was again turned down for parole. Like a tree that falls unheard in the forest, little note was made of it -- even Sirhan didn't show up for his 13th parole hearing.

An Inconvenience Rightly Considered

Just before dusk, the people of San Carlos disappeared into their houses and pulled the curtains shut, as if an air raid siren had gone off at a frequency I couldn’t hear. Then, as the sun sunk over the lake, the chayules came. Tiny green gnats, flying in thick clouds, crowding my eyes, my nose, my throat. I tried to cover my face, but they darted through my fingers and into my mouth and ears. The occasional car, sliding by like a ghost in the gloaming, would illuminate hundreds of thousands of insects in their headlights. Because the chayules are attracted to white light, all the light bulbs in San Carlos are dark red, giving the empty city a hellish scarlet glow.

Napoli: New Paintings and Drawings

03.22.2006 | Amber Scoon | Fine Art, Partisan Art | 6 Comments

"See Napoli and Die"

Only If You Eat Food

03.16.2006 | David L. Steinhardt | Food, National Affairs, Science | 2 Comments

Farmers have, since time immemorial, bred the local corn with other strains, while also cross-breeding these crops with bacteria, viruses, fungi, and the occasional jellyfish or horse, in search of grains that can infect others, grow under toenails, cause intense pain or run the steeplechase.

The Climber's Choice (Part 1 of 3)

The runway at St. Dymphna is a circle, the preferred orbit of angels, but not well-suited to sublunar aircraft. Our stewardess assures us, however, that air traffic controllers on the island of St. Dymphna are legendary geometers, and fully ordained priests. Very few planes fall prey to centrifugal disaster. And, miraculously, ours is not one of them.

The Climber's Choice (Part 2 of 3)

After a couple of nights in the pension, slowly recovering from our descent onto the runway, we pack our knapsacks and head out into the rainforest. Hiking is the chief touristic activity on this island, where so little is horizontal. The Dymphnasians are helpful should you get lost. To be precise: the sane ones are.

The Climber's Choice (Part 3 of 3)

The terrible moonlight guides us back to our pavilion. We say nothing to each other. Lucia's face is ghastly in this changed light; mine is too, I expect. What was pity has become something so much deeper, unfathomable, something which stares into you as you stare into it.

Tour de Force

03.10.2006 | Robert Latona | Music | 2 Comments

You have to be cautious, though, about attaching visual referents to music. Who can hear Ponchielli without flashing on a bunch of leering crocodiles trying to either eat or rape all those prancing ostriches and hippos in tutus?

Sponge Cakes with Gooseberry Fool? Evelyn Waugh was odd.

03.6.2006 | Lincoln MacVeagh | Literature | 7 Comments

During the German bombing campaign of 1943 Waugh asked that his eldest son be sent to London, while at the same time ordering his library removed to the country for safekeeping. He joked about the decision in his diary as follows, “It would seem from this that I prefer my books to my son. I can argue that fireman rescue children and destroy books, but the truth is that a child is easily replaced while a book destroyed is utterly lost…”

Getting It Right

“Hey – Stuckey says Wallace has been shot!”

My mind raced back to the night when an AP reporter phoned the bureau with the stunning report that Robert Kennedy had been shot. Before moving the bulletin, the bureau chief queried the reporter to make sure there was no mistake.

I grabbed the telephone. Now it was my turn to ask the questions.

© 2006 Hanna Mandelbaum

What A Wonderful World

02.27.2006 | Marguerita | Partisan Art | 1 Comment

Ann Marlowe, the Memoir, and the Self-Made Man

02.22.2006 | Tony Dokoupil | Literature, Media Affairs | 7 Comments
Me Books are distinguished by the fact that the first-person voice is the only voice in the text, and “I-I-I” is tacitly believed to be the only seat of authority from which to report the world. That serial memoirists own this seat of authority is perfectly harmless until the touching letters from readers, the millions of dollars, the Bestseller mantles and the cover medallions aren’t enough. They want to pretend that what they publish is more than eloquent journal writing; that it’s cultural commentary; that their accidental adventures in addiction, divorce, death, and disease can be activated into episodes of accidental ethnography.

Without Apology

Because there can be no fear check on a free and open press, and because of the self-evident newsworthiness of the cartoons, the editorial staff of New York Press collectively resigned when ownership decided to kill the images and several thousand words dedicated to them just hours before the paper was to go to print on Tuesday.

Here is the editorial that was to have run on the issue’s cover and their letter of resignation and here are four of the essays on the cartoons that were to have run inside the paper.