Category Archives: Literature

Notes on Nexus, Part 3: Finding Love

Chapter Three of Henry Miller’s Nexus is about despair. Miller describes his desperate state, trapped in a harmful relationship with Mona. He spends his days doing nothing, letting “events pile up of their own accord.” He knows he needs a … Continue reading

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Notes on The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

Thesis: “As soon as you stop wanting something you get it.” Andy Warhol says that he has found this rule to be “absolutely axiomatic.” He was always lonely and desperately wanted a friend, until one day he decided he was … Continue reading

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Henry Miller: Soul and Mind

In Chapter Two of Nexus we see the limits of Henry Miller’s patience with abstract arguments. His friend, a lawyer called John Stymer, is, like Miller, fascinated by Dostoevsky, and thinks that a “new phase of existence” arrived for humanity … Continue reading

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Notes on Gogol’s Old-Fashioned Farmers

The world is all “in an uproar,” says Gogol. And yet here is peace and quiet: the house of the owners of a small village in the Ukraine, with its bright garden full of trees and hanging fruits, and the … Continue reading

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Notes on Gogol’s The Overcoat

Gogol’s The Overcoat is a story of a lowly government official in Tsarist Russia. His job is to copy out documents. There’s a curious ambiguity in the narrator’s feelings for the official: on the one hand he is described as … Continue reading

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Creation is Grace: Notes on Daniil Kharms

I’ve been reading I Am a Phenomenon Quite Out of the Ordinary: the Notebooks, Diaries, and Letters of Daniil Kharms (published 2013) and trying to get a picture in my mind of the kind of person Kharms was. “Creation is … Continue reading

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Notes on Gogol’s “The Nose”

Nikolai Gogol’s story of “The Nose” opens with a macabre scene: a nose found in a loaf of bread. Perhaps this is going to be a murder mystery. But then the story becomes absurd: the nose found its way into … Continue reading

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