Category Archives: books

Toynbee and the Enlightenment

Arnold J Toynbee has some bad news in Volume VI of his A Study of History: Western civilisation is showing all the signs of being in its final decline. Civilisations decline when they fail to respond to challenges they face. … Continue reading

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Review: The Moon and Sixpence

I picked up The Moon and Sixpence, having heard it was “inspired by the life of Paul Gauguin,” expecting to read a novelised biography of the artist, with an appropriate level of artistic licence. What you get with this book, … Continue reading

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Reading Toynbee

Perhaps there’s nothing you have to do and nowhere you have to be. You’re on your own, so you’ve only yourself to worry about. But what is there to worry about when you’ve only yourself to worry about? A quiet … Continue reading

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Nowhere Under the Sun

“This is the sun of the high plateau that bakes the land dry and leaves one nowhere to hide.” Ma Jian’s Red Dust is a book about escape, and discovering that there is no escape. A flight from something is … Continue reading

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Burroughs and the Bad Cop

Recently I read The Manhunter by John Pascucci. I bought a copy because it’s one of the last books William Burroughs read before he died. Burroughs notes in Last Words that he liked a phrase of Pascucci’s: “the plot sickened.” … Continue reading

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Decline according to Spengler

Oswald Spengler tells us that Western civilisation is in decline. This doesn’t mean the end is nigh, this doesn’t mean the end of days. We have centuries left, and when civilisation as we (in the West) know it finally comes … Continue reading

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Some notes on Spengler as I read him

I’ve been slowly reading The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler with a couple of friends. We meet online once a week to discuss the pages we’ve read. What follows is an explanation of Spengler as I understand him … Continue reading

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