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Viewing Blog: ReadySteadyBook, Most Recent at Top
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ReadySteadyBook is an independent book review website devoted to reviewing the very best books in literary fiction, poetry, history and philosophy.
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26. Spike Island’s fourth book and zine fair

Spike Island’s fourth book and zine fair brings together international independent publishers, designers and collectives whose work focuses on experimental design and literature:

Participants include: An Endless Supply / B.Books / Bedford Press / Book Works / Bronze Age Editions / City Edition StudioColin Sackett/UniformBooks / Copy / Eastside Projects / Foyles / G39 / Hato Press / Hyphen Press / Influx Press / Laydeez do ComicsLibrary of Independent Exchange / Mule PressMuseums Press / Nom de Strip / Penned in the MarginsSpike Associates 

Reading area: Åbäke / AND Publishing / APFEL / Sophie Dutton / Gratuitous Type / Teller / Weng Nam Yap

To accompany the fair, we also present a series of short talks, performances and readings by artists and writers including Luke Kennard, Patrick Coyle, Samuel Hasler, Holly Corfield-Carr, I Am Dora and Marie Toseland

Alongside this are a rare exhibition of works by Modernist printer Desmond Jeffery and a temporary studio where Spike Island-based designer Jono Lewarne works with UWE students throughout the day to produce a printed publication.

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27. Mark Poster RIP

Sad to hear of the death of critical theorist Mark Poster:

It is with deep sadness that we share the news that our esteemed colleague Mark Poster, Emeritus Professor of History and Film & Media Studies, passed away in the hospital earlier this morning. Mark Poster was a vital member of the School of Humanities, and for decades one of its most widely read and cited researchers. He made crucial contributions to two different departments, History and Film & Media Studies, and played a central role in UCI's emergence as a leading center for work in Critical Theory...

Mark Poster was a major figure in the rapid development of media studies and theory in the USA and internationally. While as an intellectual historian he could draw on Frankfurt School thought as well as on cybernetics, he was particularly interested in the potential of poststructuralism for media studies. From his translations of Baudrillard to his dissemination of Foucault, Poster played a highly influential role in the study of media culture, including television, databases, computing, and the Internet; he continued to offer crucial commentary on the relevance to technology and media of cultural theory, and his numerous articles and books have been translated into a number of different languages. Reflective of the breadth of his interests and expertise, Poster held courtesy appointments in the Department of Information and Computer Science and in the Department of Comparative Literature. First hired at UCI in 1968, Poster had recently retired after 40 years of service to the School and the Campus (more...)

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28. The fictions of modern love

This evening of "politics, poetry & the fictions of modern love... with Danny Hayward, Jennifer Cooke, Reina van der Wiel and Felicity Allen" looks interesting (more at parasol-unit.org), particular the talk by Danny Hayward (How to be Dominated, or, Night Thoughts on Poetry and World History):

The talk will attempt to specify a category of writing that wishes not only to contest the ownership of the category of the popular, but which wants actively to ownthat category. In its first parts it will offer a polemical history of its central category for the previous two centuries of capitalist development, from Schiller via Wordsworth to Brecht, before proceeding to a more speculative discussion of contemporary writing that wishes to seize (and not merely to gain) popularity from the interests for whom popularity is a synonym of turnover. Setting itself in equal opposition to Adorno's view of "high" and "low" culture as two torn halves that will not be added together, and the profitable therapeutics of anything goes, the talk will argue that a contemporary communist popular culture can only function as a comedy of domination instated at the level of syntax, prosody, and narrative. Broadly speaking, the talk will claim that the poetic writing, if it wishes to maintain some relation to historical development, must learn how to work with its own domination.

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29. Stothard says silly things

Peter Stothard recently said some silly things about bloggers. Huge thanks to John Self for this excellent response.

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30. Negri reviews Agamben

But how did Agamben get here, to this radicalized nihilism, where he swims delighting in the fact he has overcome (or concluded) Heidegger’s project? He has come across a long journey that is articulated in two directions: one a truly political-judicial critique, the other an archeological one (a theological-political dig). Carl Schmitt is at the center of this journey: he guides the two directions, the one that leads to qualifying power as exception and therefore as force and destiny, an absolute instrumentation without any technical quality and the sadism of finality; on the other hand, one that leads to the qualification of potency as theological illusion, i.e. impotency, in the sense of the impossibility of relying on its effectiveness. Therefore, he incites unproductiveness, thus denouncing the necessary frustration of will, of the masochism of duty. The two go together. It is nearly impossible, recovering the actuality of the Schmittian concepts of the “state of exception” and the “theological-political”, to understand if they represent the biggest danger or instead if they are simply an opening to their truth. Metaphysics and political diagnostics surrender to indistinctness. But that would be irrelevant if this indistinctness didn’t drown any possible resistance. Let’s go back to the two identified lines: the whole journey that follows Homo Sacer develops on this double track. The second track is summarized in The Kingdom and the Glory...

The sacred dilemma of inoperosity. On Giorgio Agamben’s Opus Dei by Antonio Negri.

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31. Is Ontology Making Us Stupid?

Graham Harman with his new ontology proposes a veritable semantic descent (or we could call it an “objectal descent”), to reverse the linguistic turn, and to replace it with an ontological turn... My thesis is that much of OOO is a badly flawed epistemology masquerading as an ontology...

Provocative critique of Harman's OOO from Terence Blake. Blake picks up on a fear of mine that, having offered us the really real world, OOO seems to renege on the promise and simply re-instate, at a different level of abstraction, the Kantian distinction between phenomenon and noumenon...

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32. OOO calls for better texts

In other words, I think I’m giving an even stronger critique of authorial intention than is usually the case. Not only do authors fail to master the infinite dissemination of their texts, they probably don’t even put the text in the right shape in the first place. Most of them should have written better texts. Just as social surroundings fail to exhaust a literary work, the exact written form of a literary work fails to exhaust the deeper spirit of that work...

Graham Harman responds to Dan Green (who in turn was writing in response to Harman's The Well-Wrought Broken Hammer: Object-Oriented Literary Criticism [pdf]).

Speculative Realism and OOO have much of interest to say on literature and literary criticism. In particularly, Harman's concept of a withdrawing ontology, of objects that can't be fully known, has some potentially interesting literary critical applications. The conversation between Green and Harman opens up some interesting avenues, but I think there is yet a lot more to say on this...

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33. Herbert Rosendorfer RIP

News just in from his English-language publisher Dedalus that Herbert Rosendorfer, "one of Germany's greatest post WW2 authors", has died:

Herbert Rosendorfer was born in Germany in 1934 and died in 2012. His first novel Der Ruinenbaumeister (1969) was a critical and commercial success, and is regarded by many critics as one of the masterpieces of German twentieth-century fiction. It was published in English by Dedalus in 1992 as The Architect of Ruins. This was followed by Stephanie in 1995, which was shortlisted for the Shlegel-Tieck Translation Prize. Letters Back to Ancient China is the most commercially successful of his novels and in Germany has sold over two million copies. Mike Mitchell's translation was awarded the Schlegel-Tieck Translation Prize in 1997. Dedalus published Grand Solo with Anton by Herbert Rosendorfer in 2006.

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34. This World We Must Leave

More about This World We Must Leave...

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35. Tor Ulven’s Replacement

It’s often unclear whether Ulven’s voices are meant to be many, or one. They certainly speak and think of similar things. Like Beckett’s creations, all are crippled, decrepit, or otherwise waning. Decay, says one, is the “lowest multiple,” which may be why these characters seem to converge. In their infirmity, each shares something essentially human. As it’s put at one point, “people are only really revealed in decline.” Yet if decay and decline disclose the human condition, they also herald a kind of heroism. Early on, we meet an old man for whom “unbuttoning a shirt is a real task . . . a project in itself . . . a triumph every time.” Replacement is full of such everyday struggles. But because the book balances all events equally, compressing life’s major and minor moments, these delicate acts acquire a heartrending resonance...

David Winters reviews Tor Ulven’s Replacement on full-stop.net.

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36. Levé's Autoportrait

When I was young, I thought Life: A User’s Manual would teach me how to live and Suicide: A User’s Manual how to die. I don’t really listen to what people tell me. I forget things I don’t like. I look down dead-end streets. The end of a trip leaves me with a sad aftertaste the same as the end of a novel. I am not afraid of what comes at the end of life. I am slow to realize when someone mistreats me, it is always so surprising: evil is somehow unreal. When I sit with bare legs on vinyl, my skin doesn’t slide, it squeaks. I archive. I joke about death. I do not love myself. I do not hate myself. My rap sheet is clean. To take pictures at random goes against my nature, but since I like doing things that go against my nature, I have had to make up alibis to take pictures at random, for example, to spend three months in the United States traveling only to cities that share a name with a city in another country: Berlin, Florence, Oxford, Canton, Jericho, Stockholm, Rio, Delhi, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Mexico, Syracuse, Lima, Versailles, Calcutta, Bagdad...

Extract from Édouard Levé's Autoportrait (translated from French by Lorin Stein, published by Dalkey Archive) over on the Paris Review.

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37. Speculations: A Journal of Speculative Realism

Speculations: A Journal of Speculative Realism is "an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published by punctum books (online and in print-on-demand and e-reader editions) that provides a forum for the exploration of speculative realism and post-continental philosophy. Our aim is to facilitate discussion abut ongoing developments within speculative realism." The current issue (Speculations III) is just out.

Worth saying, too, that I bought all three print-on-demand volumes via lulu.com and for print-on-demand books these are very handsome volumes...

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38. Graham Harman – Garcia's Jungle

"Celebrating the 90th anniversary of Presses Universitaires de France (PUF) Multimedia Institute and Institut Français Zagreb coorganized a 2-day meeting in Zagreb (June 22-23, 2012 / net.culture club MaMa), presenting the series MétaphysiqueS." And here is Graham Harman on the philosophy of Tristan Garcia...

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39. Richard Skelton – Of The Sea

More about Richard's sublime music at richardskelton.wordpress.com and corbelstonepress.com.

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40. RGAP

RGAP (Research Group for Artists Publications) was "formed by Martin Rogers in 1994, and was previously sited at the School of Art and Design, University of Derby" –

In 2002, RGAP moved out from the University to become an independent, not-for-profit artist-led organisation, and has continued to publish artists' books and editions, and work with other centres in the UK and abroad, setting up collaborative projects, publications, exhibitions and events. This includes the organisation of the Small Publishers Fair – an international event held annually in London.

As well as working with visual artists, RGAP has published editions by composers, writers, sound, and performance artists, and works have been featured in numerous exhibitions related to artists’ books and publications.

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41. "the full stop is all very well... but it is not for him"

"Slowly, patiently, with unstoppable momentum, he explains in his ramshackle English that the full stop is all very well for other writers, but it is not for him..." László Krasznahorkai interviewed by Richard Lea.

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42. Slavoj Žižek in Conversation with Jonathan Derbyshire

Slavoj Žižek in Conversation with Jonathan Derbyshire at Central Saint Martins (I've seen Žižek a few times 'live' now – and this is him at his best, at his most philosophical, I think.)

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43. Hildur Guðnadóttir — Erupting Light

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44. Another Žižek

Slavoj Žižek has yet another book coming out this year: excerpt available over on odbor.org (via progressivegeographies). The Year of Dreaming Dangerously is published by Verso and out in October.

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45. Conversation with Critchley about The Faith of the Faithless

Simon Critchley discusses his new book, The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology, with Dave True of Political Theology.

"Along the way Critchley touches on an array of topics: his respect for religion, the experimental nature of free thought, what love has to do with a politics of resistance, the genius of the Occupy Movement, nonviolence and its limits, the wisdom of Antonio Gramsci, and the illusions of Marxism."

Earlier responses to the book can be accessed via politicaltheology.com/blog.

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46. Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto — Halo

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47. Owen Hatherley on New Labour's regeneration legacy

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48. Badiou interviews Foucault (1965) 3/3

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49. Badiou interviews Foucault (1965) 2/3

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50. Badiou interviews Foucault (1965) 1/3

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