Here are a few interesting articles and pieces we found around the web this week. If you come across something that other intellectual historians might enjoy, please let us know in the comments section.
Moths have been on my mind, mostly thanks to Emmett Gowin, whose survey of Central and South American moths, Mariposas Nocturnas, was just released. Gowin began photographing moths in the early 2000s, tagging along with scientists on their travels to field sites in Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and other places. At each site, Gowin would set up lamps to attract moths, and then photograph them. Gowin’s work reminds me of Gene Stratton-Porter’s Moths of the Limberlost (1912). In the early 20th century, Indiana’s Limberlost swamp was threatened, as Stratton-Porter put it, “by commerce,” and like Gowin, she hoped that her work would help cultivate a sense of wonder and appreciation for these threatened places and their beautiful creatures. Stratton-Porter describes the use of “vapour lamps” for moth collection in her novel, A Girl of the Limberlost.
When I think of moths, my mind eventually turns to Nabokov, whose interest in lepidopterology was legendary. The subject of Nabokov the lepidopterologist has generated its own body of literature. In terms of range and thoroughness, Dieter E. Zimmer’s Guide to Nabokov’s Butterflies and Moths matches its subject. Nabokov was also an accomplished illustrator of butterflies and moths — Elif Batuman discusses this facet his practice in this brief New Yorker essay.
And finally, a purely aesthetic consideration of moths: Stan Brahkage’s Mothlight (1963, but mute the sound, because the soundtrack on this version is not original). “Mothlight” was a camera-less film, made by pressing moth wings and bits of plant matter between sheets of Mylar. Brakhage describes the making of his short film (~3 min in length) in a letter to his friend Robert Kelly: “Metaphors on Vision” (Bomb Magazine)
Very briefly: María del Pilar Blanco, “This Bankrupt Island” (LRB Blog)]
Matt Bell, “My Grading Scale…Composed Entirely of Samuel Beckett Quotes” (McSweeney’s).
Dany Laferrière interviewed by Adam Leith Gollner “The Art of Fiction” (Paris Review).
Emmanuel Laurentin, “Histoire de l’Europe” four part podcast (La Fabrique de l’Histoire – France Culture).
Mark Mazower, “The rise and fall of moral globalisation” (FT).
Lu Xun, “What is Revolutionary Literature?” (LitHub).
Walter Johnson, “No Rights Which the White Man Is Bound to Respect” (The Boston Review)
Mark Mazower, “The rise and fall of moral globalisation” (The Financial Times)
Wen Stephenson, “Learning to Live in the Dark: Reading Arendt in the Time of Climate Change” (LARB)
Hayden Pelliccia, “The Art of Wrath” (NYRB)
Kevin Power, “Thomas M. Ditsch Versus the Catholic Church” (LARB)
Sam Weller and Ray Bradbury, “The Intuitive Thing” (LARB)
Laura Freeman, “How to Dress like Beckett” (TLS)
Emily Clark, “Rethinking Religion and Race in the Great Migration,” (Black Perspectives)
Jelani Cobb, “From Louis Armstrong to the N.F.L.: Ungrateful as the New Uppity,” (New Yorker)
Steve Hahn, “The Rage of White Folk,” (The Nation)
Vimal Patel, “A Revolt At the Journal Puts Peer Review Under the Microscope,” (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Wen Stephenson, “Learning to Live in the Dark: Reading Arendt in the Time of Climate Change,” (LARB)
Giles Tremlett, “Short Cuts,” (LRB)