Monday 6 December 2010

Web muster

Umberto Eco on lists (hitting that link will probably pop up up a print dialog box, but just cancel it and all will be well):

SPIEGEL: You yourself are more likely to work with books, and you have a library of 30,000 volumes. It probably doesn't work without a list or catalogue.

Eco: I'm afraid that, by now, it might actually be 50,000 books. When my secretary wanted to catalogue them, I asked her not to. My interests change constantly, and so does my library. By the way, if you constantly change your interests, your library will constantly be saying something different about you. Besides, even without a catalogue, I'm forced to remember my books. I have a hallway for literature that's 70 meters long. I walk through it several times a day, and I feel good when I do. Culture isn't knowing when Napoleon died. Culture means knowing how I can find out in two minutes. Of course, nowadays I can find this kind of information on the Internet in no time. But, as I said, you never know with the Internet.

Jonathan Jones on Chinese firms copycatting UK architects

Alan Jacobs ask whether looking at the 18th century can help us understand the early 21st

Many of the ethical norms of the previous century were loosened significantly, and folks tended to have a sense that they were operating in greater freedom than their ancestors (which most, but not all, of them thought was wonderful). Thus traditional Christian self-examination for signs of unconfronted sins was replaced by something quite different: “When educated Georgian polite society examined itself, however, the tone was more subjective, even narcissistic. Diaries and autobiographies . . . show that people were dwelling more on their own psychological make-up, and often indulging, rather than quelling, their humours and passions.”

Filed under 'books I shall read soon' - Alexandra Harris's Romantic Moderns wins the Guardian's First Book prize.

But if you read one thing this week, make it this extraordinary piece by New Zealand journalist and news commentator Julie Starr: My brother was shot in the head on a Monday night.

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