Category Archives: A Shoe Story

Siegfried Kracauer’s idea of ‘Mass Ornament’

Mass society as its own ornament was how the German social critic Siegfried Kracauer understood the street life of the dying years of the Weimar Republic. You can find this clever idea which brings us right to the present day … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Art History, Britain Today, Current Affairs, Things German, Who are you?, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Charlie Hebdo and the Enlightenment

Looking though a copy of Charlie Hebdo, after the appalling murders of its editor and contributors in January 2015, I was struck, as many commentators have been, by how French it was with regard to one salient Western ‘value’ : … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Current Affairs, Europe, Philosophy and Philosophers | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The Bad Boys of Philosophy

Here’s a passage I so admired in a review in the Times Literary Supplement, my weekly reading, five years ago, that I’ve kept it earmarked ever since. It sums up what philosophy means to many of us who take it … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Nietzsche in Turin, Philosophy and Philosophers, The Secret Artist A Close Reading of Sigmund Freud | Tagged , , , ,

Getting away to Europe to write: an English confession

I had to get away from my desk. From the train window, on this nearly last day of April, the sun shone through a basin of mist somewhere in Essex.  Between glances through the thick window, the phrase ‘the ecstases … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Art History, Cold War, Current Affairs, Europe, Philosophy and Philosophers, Who are you?, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Year to Come for a European-minded writer who lives in England

I’m a European-minded writer who lives in England and writes in English, which is my native tongue. I’m not monoglot. French, German, Russian, Italian and Spanish are all available to me, but I’ll never now make the step of trying … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Britain Today, Nietzsche in Turin, The Secret Artist A Close Reading of Sigmund Freud, Things German, Who are you?, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The German 1930s and the Future of Art: more from A Shoe Story

When Heidegger commented on van Gogh’s painting ‘The Shoes’ (aka ‘Boots with Laces’) fifty years, from 1886 to 1936, had passed, and what fifty years, in Europe! Van Gogh himself had expected the nineteenth century to go out with a … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Art History, Britain Today, Philosophy and Philosophers, Things German | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

From the Life of a van Gogh critic: the debate over Diamat and the Run-in with Heidegger

The leading mid-20th century art critic Meyer Schapiro (1904-1996) was a funnel for the European ideas that rapidly modernized the American art scene between the wars. He was a superb commentator on van Gogh and Cézanne, and it was his … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Art History, Current Affairs, New York Intellectuals, Philosophy and Philosophers, Things German | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments