Friday, June 19, 2009

Franklin Rosemont 1943 - 2009

Franklin Rosemont, celebrated poet, artist, historian, publisher, street speaker, and surrealist activist, has died in Chicago aged just 65. He was active in the Sixties in the Wobblies and as part of the group around Rebel Worker. He translated Breton's writings in English (published in the UK by Pluto Press), and was the author of one of the best books on the life of Joe Hill. A tribute to Franklin by David Roediger, Paul Garon, and Kate Khatib, has been posted on InterActivist Info Exchange:

"Between the history he himself helped create and the history he helped uncover, Franklin was never without a story to tell or a book to write—about the IWW, SDS, Hobohemia in Chicago, the Rebel Worker, about the past 100 years or so of radical publishing in the US, or about the international network of Surrealists who seemed to always be passing through the Rosemonts’ Rogers Park home. As engaged with and excited by new surrealist and radical endeavors as he was with historical ones, Franklin was always at work responding to queries from a new generation of radicals and surrealists, and was a generous and rigorous interlocutor. In every new project, every revolt against misery, with which he came into contact, Franklin recognized the glimmers of the free and unfettered imagination, and lent his own boundless creativity to each and every struggle around him, inspiring, sustaining, and teaching the next generation of surrealists worldwide."

Read the full text of the tribute here:

Boyd Tonkin: "Has British History lost its tongues?"

Consistently one of the best literary journalists featured in the UK daily papers, Boyd Tonkin assesses the impact of the "meltdown of language teaching in many schools and universities" on the interpretation of Continental history by British-based writers in the Independent.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Facsimile Dustjackets

Hooked on the artwork for book jackets? Or got a copy of a book but the dustjacket is missing - here is a great website, with thousands of inspirational images, which can be searched or browsed. Created by Mark Terry, who will also supply facsimile copies of original dustjackets to replace missing or damaged originals. Some good links to other sites.

The Peep Diaries

Hot of the press is a new book from City Lights - The Peep Diaries by Hal Niedzviecki, which explores the growth of a voyeuristic and informal surveillance culture. From the City Lights blurb:

"We have entered the age of "Peep culture": a tell-all, show-all, know-all digital phenomenon that is dramatically altering notions of privacy, individuality, security and even humanity. Peep culture is Reality TV, YouTube, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, surveillance technology, blogs, amateur porn, cellphone photos of your drunk friend making out with her ex-boyfriend, and more. In the age of Peep, core values and rights we once took for granted are rapidly being renegotiated, often without our even noticing.

Social critic Hal Niedzviecki dives into Peep, starting his own blog, joining every social network that will have him, monitoring the movements of his wife, hiring private detective websites to investigate his father, spying on his neighbors, and trying out for Reality TV, and drinking with a group of middle class empty nesters whose new hobby is posting their amateur porn to the 'Net. Part travelogue, part diary, part meditation and social history, The Peep Diaries explores a rapidly emerging digital phenomenon that is radically changing not just the entertainment landscape, but also the firmaments of our culture and society."

"A snapshot of a world in profound transformation. Compelling and creepy."
—Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and No Logo

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Castoriadis: Psyche, Society, Autonomy

Jeff Klooger who runs the occasional Castoriadis blog has written a critical exploration of the "underpinnings and implications of
Cornelius Castoriadis’ reflections on Being, society and the self. The book introduces the reader to the main concepts of Castoriadis’ work, but goes further to uncover the fundamental philosophical issues addressed by Castoriadis, and to critically examine the issues his work opens up." Published by Brill the book is available in hardback only at the astonishing price of 121 euros.

Never an easy read, but always rewarding, Castoriadis' work deserves to be better known in the UK. My introduction was by those wonderful pamphlets run off on an old duplicator by the Soldiarity group many years ago - which somehow still seem more appropriate for the subversive spirit that lays at the heart of Castioradis' writing. A pity that the audience for Jeff's book will be restricted by the price tag.

Castoriadis blog: New Book On Castoriadis Published