Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time

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Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time

Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time

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A little edge-rubbing to DJ, minor surface wrinkling to spine ends of DJ, VG+, bright and unmarked internally. You never know where the essay will take you, its path is often idiosyncratic but never less than arresting. Not long after I began marking passages for future consideration, I also began keeping notes in the margin beside the markings, and then longer notes on the endpapers. But to palliate that condition, we are nowadays much more free to be thinkers than is commonly supposed.

Milanov doesn’t appear to have quite the reputation that James implies, and the quote is only “attributed” to her.

Zweig was one of the foremost proponents of the liberal humanism, the internationalism, the commitment to freedom through culture, that James strongly advocates.

From Louis Armstrong to Ludwig Wittgenstein, via Walter Benjamin, Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka and Marcel Proust, this is a a illuminating and fascinating work of remarkable erudition. I underlined things, put stars in the margin, added knowing comments about the provenance of Valery’s ideas (“Croce was here! If the humanism that makes civilization civilized is to be preserved into this new century, it will need advocates. Akhmatova’s friend and rival Nadezhda Mandelstam, on the other hand, seems delighted to have met Albert Camus: she distrusts the way he turns on the automatic charm even for an old lady, but she approves of his opinions. In the job we can have a profile written about us, and be summed up: all the profiles will be the same, and all the summaries add up to the same thing.There is nothing inherently wrong with erudition: it’s not as if we’re drowning in it, and anyway Proust himself wrote the most erudite book in the whole of French literature. Sometimes he seems to hold these people up to some very demanding standards: he's convincing on Sartre's feeble response to Nazism, but surely it's a bit much to question why Wittgenstein never mention the Fascists in Philosophische Untersuchungen, a work of pure linguistic philosophy?

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