Cha — “Writing Hong Kong” — Calling for Review Copies

As most readers of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal will know, 1 July 2017 will mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China. This year also happens to be the tenth anniversary of our publication. And so while we are immensely proud of the work from and about Asia we normally publish, we felt that to commemorate these two events it was time … Continue reading Cha — “Writing Hong Kong” — Calling for Review Copies

What is a stable thing?

In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins answers: A stable thing is a collection of atoms that is permanent enough or common enough to deserve a name. It may be a unique collection of atoms, such as the Matterhorn, that lasts long enough to be worth naming. Or it may be a class of entities, such as rain drops, that come into existence at a sufficiently … Continue reading What is a stable thing?

On black and white

In her Victorian Glassworlds: Glass Culture and The Imagination 1830-1880, Isobel Armstrong has this wonderful reflection on ‘black’ and ‘white’: White paper in full moonlight is darker than black satin in daylight, or a dark object with the sun shining on it reflects light of exactly the same colour, and perhaps the same brightness, as a white object in shadow. ‘Grey in shadow looks like … Continue reading On black and white

Bloom recalls Auden: ‘a large bottle of gin, a small one of vermouth, a plastic drinking cup, and a sheaf of poems’

In The Anatomy of Influence (2011), Harold Bloom reminisces about W.H. Auden: I treasure ruefully some memories of W.H. Auden that go back to the middle 1960s, when he arrived in New Haevn to give a reading of his poems at Ezra Stiles College. We had met several times before, in New York City and at Yale, but were only acquaintances. The earlier Auden retains my interest, … Continue reading Bloom recalls Auden: ‘a large bottle of gin, a small one of vermouth, a plastic drinking cup, and a sheaf of poems’

Bloom on Bloom

From Harold Bloom’s The Anatomy of Influence (2011), p. 249: “Naming” (as in Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin) is closer to the real concerns of literature. I am moved here by my own splendid name of “Bloom,” particularly since my personal favorite among Whitman’s poems is “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” Charmed as I also am by Stevensian derivatives (“stopped / In the door-yard … Continue reading Bloom on Bloom

"Allie sells cookies, covered in snowflakes."

Christmas decoration from Joan in 2009. What is your favourite ‘snowflakes’ moment in literature? Tell me. Mine is: London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, … Continue reading "Allie sells cookies, covered in snowflakes."

Benjamin Markovits’s Childish Loves

0 The quotes below are from Benjamin Markovits’s Childish Loves (2011). Some are from the ‘contemporary’ section and some from the 18thC and 19thC pastiche. Can you tell? (In my day maybe half the English department, and a quarter of the history department, were working on novels; I was just one of a crowd.) -p. 2 … and talked quite childishly about what is after all a … Continue reading Benjamin Markovits’s Childish Loves

"Stop, stop," she said. "No, go on; go on.["]

–W.H. Mallock’s A Human Document (1892).The quotes below are from the shorter New York version.  “how deep in the mud must a woman walk before a man considers her progress interesting?” p. iv “you excite expectations, though you have not yet satisfied them[.]” p. 9 “What is love like? I cannot even remember. You look as if you didn’t believe me; but I am not talking … Continue reading "Stop, stop," she said. "No, go on; go on.["]