First appeared in CNQ magazine. I don’t buy cheap shoes. I buy expensive shoes. Cheap shoes aren’t good for your feet. They screw up your posture, wear out quickly, and hurt your toes. I buy expensive shoes, not due to any kind of extravagance, but rather because, on the contrary, they’re a better deal. They [...]

 How Neglected Literature can Yield Unexpected Treasures First appeared in LOGOS. by Nigel Beale. ‘Collect what excites you’ is the best piece of wisdom anyone who loves books can ever impart.  I’ve been doling it out for decades;  extraordinary, though, how long it’s taken for me to actually heed my own advice, or more accurately, [...]

First appeared in The Guardian. Photo Source: National Portrait Gallery, London. Tom Paulin’s minute analysis of Keats’s great poem is so suffused in his own ideology that he completely misses the poem’s very obvious subject Some may contend that Tom Paulin’s recent Marxist reading of To Autumn in the Guardian helped them to a richer appreciation [...]

What the Web 2.0 revolution is really delivering is superficial observations of the world around us rather than deep analysis, shrill opinion rather than considered judgment. The information business is being transformed by the Internet into the sheer noise of a hundred million bloggers all simultaneously talking about themselves. –Andrew Keen, The Cult of the [...]

First appeared in The Guardian Photo Source: Wiki: Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve By Nigel Beale Reading biographies of writers affects the way we read their books. And, unlike Proust, I think it does so for the better During the past several months there has been an interesting conversation ping-ponging back and forth between literary blogs, on the utility [...]

Wyndham Lewis’s thorny persona means grudges are being held beyond the grave and we still don’t recognise the extent of his talent “A hundred books of fiction every month are referred to by eminent critics in language of such superlative praise that, were it the work of Dante that was in question, it would be [...]

Writers like Flaubert have been accused of over-using metaphor, but is it possible to have too much of such a good thing? An angry question hounds my appreciation of the novel, like a hungry hyena: To what degree can metaphor be used before intruding on realism’s capacity to replicate life experience? In other words, how [...]

By Nigel Beale It’s one of the most contentious debates in the literary blogosphere, but its roots stretch back more than 2,000 years. Is realism, “lifeness” or verisimilitude a necessary quality of good literature? Former Guardian books editor James Wood argues forcefully that it is, and in so doing has trampled on and trounced some [...]

The Bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship. William Blake.  My crown is in my heart, not in my head, Nor decked with diamonds and Indian stones, Nor to be seen; my crown is called contentment; A crown it is, that seldom kings enjoy William Shakespeare There is no greater folly in the [...]

by Nigel Beale In 1913 Igor Stravinsky’s composition The Rite of Spring got the same kind of reception I suspect Mats Sundin might get today at an Ottawa Senators’ weenie roast. There were riots. Science journalist Johan Lehrer blames the debacle on brain chemicals, stating in Proust Was A Neuroscientist that our brains are specifically [...]