2013/12/9 (Mon.) – Narnia’s Lost Poet: The Secret Lives and Loves of CS Lewis (AN Wilson [dir.], 2013; BBC iPlayer). Features Sir Anthony Kenny describing how Anscombe refuted Lewis in a theological debate.
2013/12/27 (Friday) – Shunga: sex and humour in Japanese art, 1600-1900 (The British Museum, London). A comprehensive panorama, wonderfully curated. One sees how very many aspects of the contemporary Japanese manga, anime, and doujin sub-culture have been blooming for several centuries.
2013/12/27 (Friday) – Facing the Modern: The Portrait in Vienna 1900 (The National Gallery, London). This exhibition has not received raving reviews exactly, with respect to its organisation and coherence, but there are a number of great canvases. I liked all the Klimts, not just the portrait of Amalie Zuckerlandl, but also the incredible 1894 small portrait of a young girl, seated, and the breathtakingly tender drawing of his dead son, Otto Zimmermann. But most riveting were the works of Egon Schiele and Richard Gerstl, the almost brutal expressive power of the former evoking that of Pollock, and the latter’s last self-portrait inviting a comparison with one by Lucian Freud.
No concerts, despite the festive concluding month of the year. I should also note that I’ve read some short fictions by the 2013 Nobel laureate, Alice Munro, to wit: “The Moons of Jupiter,” “The Progress of Love,” “Friend of My Youth,” “Differently,” and “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” all in a volume of selected stories called Alice Munro’s Best. I indeed thought they were all rather very good, scattered with striking and subtle imagery and exploring, most centrally, the question of what it is to narrate a life story, what it is—especially for a woman (be she a daughter, a mother, a wife, etc.)—to listen to and believe such a narrative. I am frustrated by my incompetence at reading, and at putting into words what is there in a work of literature to be understand.
William Collins (2013-10-24)
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