Another essay for the Literary Hub, this time asking “Why should you read?”
In Praise of Literary Promiscuity in the Digital Age
The first in a series for the Literary Hub by Will on how – and why – we read.
The Phone and Phone Booth Assemblage Considered as Mise en Abyme
Will has written an original essay for ‘The Exchange’ – a collaboration between Crossed Lines and the Science Museum – exploring the impact of the iconic K6 telephone box and the 706L Modern Phone on both public and private communication and examines how these technologies continue to shape our understanding of the world.
You can read or listen to it at the Science Museum or Crossed Lines.
The Future of the Skyscraper
Will Self has contributed an essay to The Future of the Skyscraper, the first volume in the new SOM Thinkers series, conceived by the architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and published by Metropolis books.
On Patrick Keiller
There’s a 4,000 word essay that Will Self has written about Patrick Keiller and his new book, The View from the Train: Cities and Other Landscapes, at the London Review of Books website here. Will is going to be talking about Guy Debord with Patrick at the LRB bookshop in London tomorrow and there should be a podcast available soon after to listen to.
The Society of the Spectacle – introduction
Will Self has written a long introduction to Notting Hill Editions’ small and beautifully formed new hardback publication of Guy Debord’s Situationist masterpiece The Society of the Spectacle, originally published in 1967.
“Never before has Debord’s work seemed quite as relevant as it does now, in the permanent present that he so accurately foretold. Open it, read it, be amazed, pour yourself a glass of supermarket wine – as he would wish – and then forget all about it, which is what the Spectacle wants.”
You can buy a copy for £10 from the Notting Hill Edition website here.
A shorter, edited version of Will’s introduction can be read here at the Guardian Review.
You can also watch The Society of the Spectacle film from 1973 here:
The Drowned World introduction
“London has been flooded many times. Until the late 19th century, and the construction of the Thames embankments as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s grand sewerage works, the high-water mark of the tidal river was an arbitrary dividing line between liquid and solid. All along the river’s banks there was a fretwork of jetties and inlets, and when the waters rose too high they would inundate the streets.
“Even after the embanking, in 1928, a flood breached the parapets in Westminster and surged into the impoverished streets around Millbank, drowning 14 people. During the great North Sea floods of 1953, London was relatively unscathed – although in the East End, Canning Town went under the waters, while still further downriver Canvey Island was entirely inundated, with the loss of 58 lives. This event led directly to the construction of the present Thames Barrier, the centrepiece of which is a series of silver-cowled sluice gates ranging across the river between Silvertown and Charlton; structures that resemble – for all their obvious utility – sections of the Sydney Opera House, disarticulated and marooned on the riverbed.
“The barrier was completed in the early Eighties, and since then has been employed with greater and greater frequency as combinations of storm surges and high equinoctial tides have threatened the city. Many believe these historically high water levels are a result of global warming, a climatologic phenomenon widely thought to be caused by human activity, specifically the release of so-called greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. But whatever the new, physical threat to London, the city has felt itself to be psychically vulnerable for centuries.”
Read the rest of Will Self’s new introduction to the Folio Society’s new edition of JG Ballard’s The Drowned World at the Telegraph here.
Kafka’s Wound Up For A Gong
Will Self’s innovative ‘Kafka’s Wound’ digital essay for The Space has been selected as a contender for the “Best Digital Humanities blog, article, or short publication” award. Please vote at DHAwards.org before midnight on Sunday 17 February 2013. Will Self’s project entry is the last one on the list for that award.
About the awards: “Digital Humanities Awards are a new set of annual awards given in recognition of talent and expertise in the digital humanities community and are nominated and voted for entirely by the public. These awards are intended to help put interesting DH resources in the spotlight and engage DH users (and general public) in the work of the community. Awards are not specific to geography, language, conference, organization or field of humanities that they benefit. There is no financial prize associated with these community awards. There were many nominations and the international nominations committee took quite awhile to review and debate each nomination. Please see http://dhawards.org/faqs/ for this and other frequently asked questions.”
Beyond Kafka’s Wound
Will Self discusses a range of issues provoked by his digital essay Kafka’s Wound at thespace.lrb.co.uk with Nicholas Spice and Helen Jeffrey from the London Review of Books, and Dan Franklin, Digital Publisher at Random House.
Is this unique digital essay a proto-form for a new type of deeper engagement with long form content on the web? What can modernism tell us about the digital storm sweeping through our world? How might collaborative digital authorship move forward? What next?
Digital essay on Kafka
Will Self’s “digital essay” on Kafka has been published in its entirety at the Space website, and includes an hour-long video of his trip to Prague and readings of Kafka’s “A Country Doctor”. For a short explanation of this unique London Review of Books commission, go here or visit thespace.org or @thespacearts for more details.