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Re-inhabiting culture, transforming the self: R.K. Narayan’s The Guide

In R. K. Narayan’s novel The Guide (1958) a common con-man, “Railway” Raju, asks for a few choice morsels under the guise of a religious requirement. He’s begging from the…

Vision as palimpsest: on Johannes G?ransson’s translations of Ann J?derlund

Translations emit. They pull us in and push at us at once. Emit, that curious word: it’s time spelt backward. Translation makes time go backward. Translation’s process … helps me…

Despotism is all around us: the warnings of Montesquieu

It is commonplace for citizens of liberal, democratic nations to believe that despotism is foreign to their own experiences. Their political constitutions display in some form or other a separation…

Noli me tangere

In 1939, as London braced itself for the bombs, the National Gallery’s paintings were moved to the dining room of Penrhyn Castle, North Wales. It wasn’t necessarily safer. Martin Davies,…

The radical re-visioning of Anna Kavan

I first read Helen Ferguson/Anna Kavan in 1997 or 1998 when I was living in Ansan, an industrial city an hour subway ride from Seoul. Every few months I’d receive…