Mar 26, 2012
There was, for once, much more writing (and other stuff, including a walk along the river, as you can see above) than reading this week. Two pieces of note, however:
- The Originality of the Species (Ian McEwan at the Guardian)
In modern times, we have come to take for granted in art – literature as well as painting and cinema – the vital and enduring concept of originality. Despite all kinds of theoretical objections, it remains central to our notion of quality. It carries with it an idea of the new, of something created in a godlike fashion out of nothing. “Perfectly unborrowed”, as Coleridge said of Wordsworth’s poetry. Originality is inseparable from a powerful sense of the individual, and the boundaries of this individuality are strongly protected.
- Kenya’s Secret River (J.M. Ledgard at More Intelligent Life)
When I absently skimmed my hand on the water, a crocodile rose and snapped, the snap sounding more like a pop, and it narrowly missed. I hope the crocodile survives, I hope all of it survives; that the trees remain, the weaver birds, the swamps. But on another trip, sitting by the road watching bulldozers trundle to the edge of the Tana, overseen by Chinese foremen, I had a dark sense of inevitability; I thought, I am in a place where a calamity is about to occur.