"Story-time (the time within a story) is not linear. The living and the dead meet as listeners and judges within this time, and the greater the number of listeners felt to be there, the more intimate the story becomes to each listener. Stories are one way of sharing the belief that justice is imminent. And for such a belief, children, women and men will fight at a given moment with astounding ferocity. This is why tyrants fear storytelling: all stories somehow refer to the story of their fall."
@7 months ago with 35 notes
#Storytelling #Literature #Poetry #Photography #John Berger
"Images are not just a particular kind of sign, but something like an actor on the historical stage, a presence or character endowed with legendary status, a history that parallels and participates in the stories we tell ourselves about our own evolution from creatures “made in the image” of a creator to creatures who make themselves and their own world in their own image."
@8 months ago with 20 notes
#Visual Culture #WJT Mitchell #Art #Language #Art History #Literature #Writing #Aesthetics #Theory
During another period of ex-pat existence, in Italy, I sat at a Roman café table in a Renaissance square rolling my eyes at the soap opera of Italian political life: wire-tapped politicians and footballers and TV stars, backroom media deals, glaring conflicts of interest, tabloid culture run riot, politicians in the pockets of newspapers. I used to chuckle over la Repubblica and tease my Italian friends about the kind of problems we didn’t have in our basically sound British parliamentary democracy.
And so I recognize myself to be an intensely naïve person. Most novelists are, despite frequent pretensions to deep socio-political insight. And I retain a particular naivety concerning the British state, which must seem comical to many people, particularly younger people. I can only really account for it by reaching back again, briefly, into the past. It’s a short story about debt—because I owe the state, quite a lot. Some people owe everything they have to the bank accounts of their parents. I owe the state. Put simply, the state educated me, fixed my leg when it was broken, and gave me a grant that enabled me to go to university. It fixed my teeth (a bit) and found housing for my veteran father in his dotage. When my youngest brother was run over by a truck it saved his life and in particular his crushed right hand, a procedure that took half a year, and which would, on the open market—so a doctor told me at the time—have cost a million pounds. Those were the big things, but there were also plenty of little ones: my subsidized sports centre and my doctor’s office, my school music lessons paid for with pennies, my university fees. My NHS glasses aged 9. My NHS baby aged 33. And my local library. To steal another writer’s title: England made me. It has never been hard for me to pay my taxes because I understand it to be the repaying of a large, in fact, an almost incalculable, debt.
@11 months ago with 2 notes
#Non-fiction #Zadie Smith #The New York Review of Books #Literature #State services #Local government #London #Willesden #Libraries #Austerity
@11 months ago with 9 notes
#Literature #Art #Photography #José Saramago #Doug Dubois
“When painting my parents and grandparents with the paints of literature, transforming them from common people of flesh and blood into characters, newly and in different ways builders of my life, I was, without noticing, tracing the path by which the characters I would invent later on, the others, truly literary, would construct and bring to me the materials and the tools which, at last, for better or for worse, in the sufficient and in the insufficient, in profit and loss, in all that is scarce but also in what is too much, would make of me the person whom I nowadays recognise as myself: the creator of those characters but at the same time their own creation.”
— José Saramago, Acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1998. Photograph © Doug Dubois, from All The Days And Nights