Northrop Frye in 1970: 'All the mass media have a close connection with the centres of social authority, and reflect their anxieties. ... [Such] communication is a one-way street. Wherever we turn, there is that same implacable voice, unctuous, caressing, inhumanly complacent, selling us food, cars, political leaders, culture. ... It is not just the voice we hear that haunts us, but the voice that goes on echoing in our minds, forming habits of speech, our processes of thought.' Of course, the RCMP kept a file on Frye, as they did on Sartre and Tommy Douglas.
From David Winters' review of Marek Bieńczyk's Transparency: 'Nowadays, as with shop windows, seeing through things is what stops us from seeing beyond them.'
Here's a neat new YouTube channel: the Intelligent Channel, which features Richard Belzer's interviews and Paul Holdengräber's new show (in which he interviews Colum McCann, Elizabeth Gilbert, etc.).
'There's nobody who writes better about failure than Thomas Bernhard':
Piece of Monologue quoting Claire Messud on Bernhard: 'Then I picked up The Loser, and was not only mesmerized, and horrified, but felt, also, profoundly spoken to: here was a book — a ranting monologue, more naturally than a novel — obsessing unflinchingly about the things that have always obsessed me. About art, and ambition, and failure, and delusion, and death. It is a book about anger. A book without paragraphs, which in its very form enacts anger. A book prone to wildly long sentences, preposterously violent judgments and enraging constructions.'
From Johns Hopkins University Press, Steven Gimbel has a new book called Einstein's Jewish Science: Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion: 'You cannot understand Einstein's science, Gimbel declares, without knowing the history, religion, and philosophy that influenced it.'
A review of John Gribbin's new biography of Erwin Schrödinger: 'Gribbin’s coup is to trace the origins of what is now called the Many-Worlds Interpretation to a lecture delivered by Schrödinger in Dublin in 1952, some five years before a paper by Hugh Everett more usually credited with the idea.'
Jennifer Egan's 'Book Bag' at Daily Beast.
I made my first Amazon list, in which I listed great non-fiction works that are available on Kindle for less than $20 and that were published between 1970 and 1985 (with one Bill Bryson exception). I focused on books that are accessible to non-specialists and that were produced by good publishers (as opposed to the e-book publishers who sell typo-ridden, public domain works).
The Complete Review rates Vertigo by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, the novel on which the amazing Hitchcock movie was based.