Category Archives: Philosophy and Philosophers

Iris Murdoch on the Easter Rising 1916

The Red and the Green was Iris Murdoch’s seventh novel and stood out in her fictional career as a unique attempt to capture an historical event. The topic was The Easter Rising, Dublin 1916, in which independence fighters staged an … Continue reading

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Victor Klemperer, the German-Jewish academic who chronicled everyday life in Hitler’s Germany

Victor Klemperer was a German-Jewish academic whose survival of the Hitler years made possible his unique and irreplaceable testimony. Through 1931-1945 he kept detailed diaries of daily life in Dresden. There were sketches of a few friends who became Nazi … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Europe, German Literature, Philosophy and Philosophers, Things German, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Plato and the Christmas Carol

Plato is despised for trapping the obsolescent ‘West’ in persistent binary thinking about the rational light and the irrational dark. Such thinking apparently persuaded us that the West itself was light, compared with parts of the world mired in bigotry … Continue reading

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Thomas Mann, Freud and Music

Thomas Mann’s reputation as a writer rests on three or four great achievements. One was to have achieved the consummate novel of ideas.[1] In the quarter century after his death in 1955 this view prevailed.  The Magic Mountain  (1924) was … Continue reading

Posted in Europe, German Literature, Nietzsche in Turin, Philosophy and Philosophers, The Secret Artist A Close Reading of Sigmund Freud, Things German | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Year in Philosophy

  According to A.J. Ayer, the history of philosophy, in the hands of ‘the old men’ who ran Oxford philosophy before the war, consisted in ‘repeating what Plato had said’.The annual lecture series at London’s Royal Insitute of Philosophy, in … Continue reading

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The Natural History of Destruction

The title, and the concept, belong to W.G. (“Max”) Sebald, who died so tragically young. I suggested in my book A Shoe Story that a literal translation of Luftkrieg und Literatur [‘Airwar and Literature’] would have been more helpful and drawn more … Continue reading

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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