Sunday links

20th February 2022

John Wyver writes: welcome to another collection of articles that have engaged and interested me over the past week, starting off with three very different but highly recommended articles about aspects of cinema.

The weirdness of zoetropes: another wonderful post from Stephen Herbert’s blog The Optiloque, this time exploring the 19th century device that conjured the illusion of moving images from animated strips; for more on this see Herbert’s dedicated website The Wheel of Life.

Investigate the sock [£, but limited free access]: the somewhat obscure headline conceals a wonderful LRB review essay – of Robert Gottlieb’s Garbo – by David Trotter about the glorious Greta (above).

Can Francis Ford Coppola make it in Hollywood?: a great profile of the great filmmaker by Zach Baron for GQ.

‘At 6pm every evening the screen went blank’ – the outlandish tale of the UK’s TV blackout: Benjie Goodhart for the Guardian on the ending of the ‘toddlers’ truce’ in February 1957.

• Here’s a rich thread by Oliver Wake about a lost television play:

Jennie C. Jones, a minimalist who calls her own tune: I love discovering artists new to me through well-written profiles such as this by Siddhartha Mitter for The New York Times; Jones makes beautiful abstract paintings and minimalist sound scores.

The rise of ‘immersive’ art [£, but limited free access]: Anna Wiener for The New Yorker is well worth your time on art and the aesthetics of ‘advanced technologies’.

When architects made worlds: a thoughtful, nuanced response for The New York Times by the paper’s architecture Michael Kimmelmann to the new MoMA show (which I’d love to see), The Project of Independence: Architectures of Decolonization in South Asia, 1947-1985.

The battle for the Barbican: reviewing two new books for Tribune, Owen Hatherley is really good on the Barbican and the adjacent Golden Lane estate.

• This is a fascinating long thread…

Station to station – a spotter’s guide to prefab design on the railways: a Guardian picture essay by David Lawrence with photographs by Luke O’Donovan highlighting prefabricated railway buildings – and trust me this, it’s much more interesting, and more delightful, than that description might suggest.

Chekhov large and small: Bob Blaisdell for LA Review of Books on lives of the Russian author, including Michael Finke’s new Freedom from Violence and Lies.

Kathleen Sully, the vanished novelist: this is such an interesting story by Brad Bigelow at The Neglected Books Page about discovering the work of a now-obscure but once feted mid-century writer:

Kathleen Sully’s writing is almost addictively readable. Her prose is spare, unstudied, brisk. She relies heavily on dialogue—but not on deep conversations. Scenes move quickly. Emotions run close to the surface. Merrily to the Grave was fuelled by a raw energy, a brutal honesty I’d only seen in Orwell or Patrick Hamilton. I was eager to go further. I located cheap copies of more novels, gulped them down, posted my initial reactions and became obsessed with learning more.

Living in an immaterial world [£, but limited free access]: Bruno Maçães for New Statesman is well worth reading on the meraverse.

How many words does it take to make a mistake? [£, but limited free access]: William Davies is excellent for LRB on the troubles and travails of higher education.

No safe harbour for democracy as storms batter the UK’s house of lies: there’s no shortage of thoughtful commentary on the sad, desperate state that we’re in, but I think this New Statesman contribution from German correspondent Annette Dittert is particularly good…

The dark century: … and this is another familiar and yet revealing think piece with a wider reach: David Brooks, again in The New York Times:

The normal thing to say is that the liberal world order is in crisis. But just saying that doesn’t explain why. Why are people rejecting liberalism? What weakness in liberalism are its enemies exploiting? What is at the root of this dark century?

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