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In the Penal Colony

My favourite Kafka story improbably realized as an opera. But since it’s Glass, it’s not that much of a surprise. As is the case these days, things are vulgarized by the obligatory push for “relevance”. Ho-hum!     Franz KafkaIn the Penal ColonyJeff JanisheskioperaPhilip Glassphilosophical literature

A hundred years of consciousness: ‘a long training in absurdity’

The very excellent Galen Strawson’s Isaiah Berlin Lecture from earlier this year. Highly unusual indeed to spot a footnote to Hayek’s TSO — so that’s rather good news. Also in anticipation of a review I’ve commissioned for Shaun Gallagher’s recently published Enactivist Interventions: Rethinking the Mind, Shaun has made available the book’s intro: see here. behaviourismconsciousnessenactivismFriedrich HayekGalen StrawsonPhilip…

In the Penal Colony

Of all of Kafka’s pieces I’ve always have been of the view that In the Penal Colony was the only one that could be plausibly rendered in film — but as an opera? And with no machine and with an homoerotic spin? The Boston Globe thinks it works. Franz KafkaIn the Penal ColonyPhilip Glassphilosophical literature


Thirty-seven years on this record has lost none of its bleak power, a truly adult record in a sea of rock banality: As a recovering cocaine addict, Bowie’s songwriting on Low tended to deal with difficult issues: “There’s oodles of pain in the Low album. That was my first attempt to kick cocaine, so that…

Life as Literature

I’ve been thinking a lot about my instinctive predilection for writers whose life and work bleed into each other, an attraction I felt long before I was fully aware of their biographical details. The first was Kafka; the second Rolfe; the third Musil; the fourth Mishima and the fifth, Toole. I’ve come to the conclusion that these philosophical novelists…