Friday, March 12, 2010

Gödel, Platonov, Brautigan, Goldstein and more

Kurt Gödel, whom P. D. Smith described as 'an uneasy amalgam of Einstein and Kafka'

Alan Saunders interviews Mark Colyvan on Aussie radio about Gödel. There's also this BBC4 radio interview on Gödel, but I can't get it to play

Can you imagine walking with Gödel and Einstein while they talked about Kant? Ah, but, you see, it is doubtful in our enlightened day that Kant was such a great philosopher after all

Peter Smith's site is the go-to resource for those who want an introduction to Gödel's theorems

Rebecca Goldstein recommends five novels of ideas -- Synchronicity! It so happens that I had just begun reading two of her picks, Herzog and Middlemarch, when I saw this. Herzog is among the many US bestsellers in this impressive database

Here are two reviews of Goldstein's book against God. She also had a book about Gödel, and here she is in dialogue with David Eagleman

And here are two reviews of Jerry Fodor's (and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini's) book against some elements of evolutionary theory, presaged by Fodor's 2007 article in the LRB. According to the publisher's page, Noam Chomsky likes this book (which isn't to say that he agrees with its arguments). More here

Here's an Antipodean radio interview of Tzvetan Todorov about his defence of the Enlightenment, and here's John Gray dissecting the saccharine distortions in Todorov's book

Was Andrei Platonov Russia's greatest modern prose stylist? His book Soul was among Elif Batuman's four alternative modern Russian classics

Thomas Bernhard's publisher correspondence

Stephen Mitchelmore on Bernhard, Sebald and M. Amis

Last year, I linked to a spate of posts about Richard Brautigan and now there's been another spate, with pieces by Michelle Quinn, Robert Pincus and Billy Colllins

Fearing anarchy, Hobbes embraced tyranny

Fed up with tyranny, 19th-Century anarchists resorted to terrorism. Here are two reviews of Alex Butterworth's new book on them

Andrew Pessin's book, The God Question, looks like a good introductory text

Diarmid MacCulloch's History of Christianity looks good, too

Seamus Heaney interviewed

Travel stories by poets and novelists

Joseph Epstein on Svevo's novel Zeno's Conscience (ht Books, Inq.)

Literary translators in Germany face funding cuts

"To illustrate just how big this unresolved debt threat has become, [John] Lanchester (along with others) estimated that the total cost of the financial system bailout in the United States is bigger, in inflation-adjusted terms, than the combined cost of the Louisiana Purchase (in 1803, by President Thomas Jefferson), the New Deal (the 1930s), the Marshall Plan (1948-52), the Korean War (1950-53), the Vietnam War (1961-75), the savings and loan crisis (the 1980s), the invasion of Iraq (2003) and the entire NASA program, including the moon landings."

Update (March 15, 2010): WRW on Daniel Medin's TLS review of Robert Walser's The Tanners


Richard L. Floyd said...

A great clip. Dusty Springfield is a classic. And I am old enough to remember when interracial sexual tension like this was considered a scandal. How do you find all this great stuff?


praymont said...

Thanks, Richard. Some of the commenters on the clip at YouTube said that an interracial performance like this wouldn't have been broadcast in North America at the time. I can't remember whether this number aired on British TV or on an Australian show.