Thursday, February 22, 2018

where is a city

Prologue: Without History

..But because of the shared dynamic of the history we lack, the history of existence and non-existence which affects us equally, heats us and bequeaths to us the sense of physicality that is so palpable and quick, because of these and other reasons to do with interiority and exteriority, significance and non-significance, we feel at home here. And yet we feel a sense of exile. ...

This is the next Ken Edwards book I've got round to reading, following eight + six and a book with no name .

Down With Beauty was published in 2013, in the "Narrative Series" of Reality Street's latter years, which, unless it's only my perception, has been much neglected.

To confuse matters, the 2013 publication contains not only the new text Down with Beauty but the slightly older text Nostalgia for Unknown Cities, which was originally published separately (Reality Street, 2007).

Review by Andy Brown in Stride Magazine:
Review by Richard Parker in Shearsman Magazine:

Nostalgia for Unknown Cities

This text was reviewed in various places when it first came out.  

Brother Paul / Paul A. Green's review in Culture Court is outstanding:


One of the fun things to do with Nostalgia for Unknown Cities, though in a way it feels really wrong, is to try and identify the six unnamed cities that its six sections are about.  Five of them are reasonably straightforward (though I was pleased when I found the grain elevators) but the unpunctuated "City Break" has defeated me, and may be a sort of melange of cities rather than one city in particular.

The text mentions "a fountain again a statue of a lady being pulled along by lions".

That sounds like the very impressive Cybele fountain in Madrid. 

But my general feeling while I was reading "City Break" was more central-European.

nobody showed up so you had to get out of here there's nowhere to go you consulted the map so conveniently provided by the tourist board in association with the chamber of commerce here's Konrad Adenauer street there's Winston Churchill boulevard and General Charles de Gaulle place which is not called that any more but in any case none of this was marked on the map...

According to Google Maps there's no Calle Konrad Adenauer in  Madrid, though there is a Plazuela Konrad Adenauer in Salamanca.  What about Tübingen? It has a Konrad Adenauer Straße. So do Frankfurt and Köln. But Winston Churchill studied for three years at Tübingen, so maybe...?. However Gibraltar's main arterial route is called Winston Churchill Avenue. Oh dear, are we picking up cross-chapter interference now?

Cybele fountain, Madrid



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