Author Archive

Raymond Roussel (1877-1933), an Idiot Savant Without Idiocy

Written by Colin Raff on . Posted in Books, Posts

The literary oeuvre of Raymond Roussel (1877-1933) delivers artificiality in excelsis. Roussel, who derived none of his striking creations from experience, wrote unimpeded by introspection or sentiment, unhampered by moral reflection or facile realism. A systematic approach to craft aided and tempered his fecundity, but his reverent peers–the surrealist poets–never seemed to grasp this. While [&hellip
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Berlin Diary

Written by Colin Raff on . Posted in Breaking News, Posts

Avoiding the Love Parade 7/7/00: I touch down at Tegel airport with the grim knowledge, gleaned too late, that I should have postponed this sabbatical by just a few days. Only in the waiting area at Frankfurt for my Berlin connection had I noticed the clusters of suburban Yanks adopting exaggerated postures and looking very, [&hellip
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A post-mortem on Gothic: Four Hundred Years of Excess, Horror, Evil and Ruin

Written by Colin Raff on . Posted in Books, Posts

Gothic by Richard Davenport-Hines (North Point Press, 438 pages, $15) You might hope that a study of grotesque tropes and morbidity in esthetics would plot the degeneracy of these forms, from their original functions to their lazy appropriation by unlettered twits. You’d want an acute examination of craft and form instead of the easy, predictable [&hellip
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