Emmanuel Levinas, photo by Bracha L. Ettinger

What do you want to talk about?

Will Essays 2 Comments

It is always interesting to get reviews, even if they are not entirely favourable — or perhaps particularly if they are not entirely favourable — and so I was pleased this morning to see that my book [amazon_link id=”1441124152″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Levinas, Storytelling and Anti-Storytelling[/amazon_link]  (the original title, incidentally, was the much nicer Troubled Tales, but Bloomsbury, alas, overruled me!), has had received …


Big Beasts, Little Beasts, and the Value of Creative Writing

Will Essays 5 Comments

In this week’s Times Higher Education, there is an interview with the writer Hanif Kureishi, who has recently been made professor of creative writing at Kingston University. When it comes to creative writing, universities are fond of appointing Big Beasts of literature to professorial posts, in the belief that the presence of some charismatic megafauna might add colour, sparkle and …

Bangor Pier (Nick Macneill)

Accidental Sinology

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I’m down in Bangor for a brief spell, where I’ve been talking to creative writing and translation students about how a few years back I found myself stumbling into matters Sinological, and the general mayhem that has ensued since then. I wasn’t sure that I was going to get here at all this morning, as there was train chaos across …

Understanding, misunderstanding and failing to understanding the classics

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I’m writing this from Bangor, where I’m at a conference on Cultural Translation and East Asia; and in about an hour’s time, I’ll be in a panel where I’ll talking about the Chinese classic the Yijing 易經 (I Ching) and about my novel-in-progress, A Book of Changes, which puts the Yijing to work as a kind of literature machine, giving rise to …

Research, or something like it (Part I)

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Every few years, here in UK academic circles, there is a curious circus known as the REF, the “Research Excellence Framework”, a bizarrely arcane ritual of humiliation where academics struggle to demonstrate that their research is not merely good (one might have thought that being “good” was a sufficiently high demand, although apparently this is not so) but is instead excellent. …