Browser Newsletter 1116

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Best of the Moment

Dancing Kafka’s Metamorphosis

Laura Marsh | New York Review Of Books | 21st September 2013

"Watson evokes the nightmarish experience Kafka describes — of a man who wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect — through the vocabulary of ballet. Here you can see his leg turned out at the hip and his foot arched. But what he is doing with his toes makes the whole posture hideous. They wriggle like a millipede’s legs, as though beyond his control, and Watson looks at them in horror"

In Proust’s Footsteps

Adam Kirsch | City Journal | 21st September 2013

"Knausgaard isn’t interested in postmodern playfulness about the boundaries between fiction and reality. He is writing a kind of confession, a spiritual accounting in the severe Protestant tradition ... One can think of My Struggle as an experiment to discover whether a bildungsroman on the scale of In Search of Lost Time remains possible in a time and place stripped of Proust’s literary advantages"


Susie Dent | Spectator | 21st September 2013

Review of What’s in a Surname? A Journey from Abercrombie to Zwicker, by David McKie. "In the 17th century, under the influence of the Puritans, the practice arose of baptising children with scriptural or pious phrases annexed to their last name. Hence there are church records of such names as Preserved Fish, Thankful Thorpe, Repentance Water, Kill-sin Pimple, and Humiliation Hinde"

Making Money Is The Easy Part

Joris Luyendijk | The Guardian | 19th September 2013

Conversation with an investment banker about banking culture. Interesting throughout. "You're one of many. I remember the first time I got into the dealing room. Between 500 and 1,000 people on one floor … I realised, this is the heart of the machine. The client-facing side of investment banks is impressive. Expensive suits, excellent catering, antiques on the walls. But the dealing rooms are factories"

How Long Can The Communist Party Survive In China?

Jamil Anderlini | Financial Times | 20th September 2013

No definitive answer here, but a a lot of interesting comment from Chinese and Western scholars about inequality and middle-class expectations. According to a professor at the Communist Party's own Central School: “We just had a seminar with a big group of very influential party members and they were asking us how long we think the party will be in charge and what we have planned for when it collapses” (Metered paywall)

Video of the day: Generating Utopia

Thought for the day:

"Apologies are always necessary and never sufficient" — Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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