Jacques Ranciere

Bright arrogance #7

Death Metal Dante

“Hell is other people,” and that’s perhaps why Dante chose to write in the vernacular.  Mary Jo Bang posits Dante’s choice of demotic Italian over more academic Latin as crucial to her more “pop” approach to the Inferno, as if Dante, in descending the circles of Hell, were literally playing out a necessary descent from the purities of high-culture into the noisy substrata of the low.[1] But for a misreading of Benjamin, in which Bang posits his translational ethics as invested in “sharing what is common to all,” her approach partakes in Benjamin’s notion that, in the zombie “afterlife” of a text, one can only reanimate it through translation in ways that are impermanent and historical.

The 19th Century in the 21st: Rosalía de Castro in English

cover of Rosalía de Castro's Galician Songs
to appear in February 2013 from Small Stations Press and the Xunta de Galicia

Rosalía de Castro (1837-1885) attends her ear to the smallest of musics: rhythms of words and how they operate in transporting song and conversation into the page. How line-breaks work. Rhyme. How a copla or popular ditty might function as a break or cut, a secession, as Chus Pato might say.

Dennis Brutus's creative activism

Dennis Brutus testifying before the United Nations in 1967 on behalf of the South African Nonracial Olympic Committee as well as South African political prisoners. [African Activist Archive]

Kaia Sand

Jules most recently wrote about poetry, dissent, and the Olympics, and in this capacity, the late South African poet Dennis Brutus was legendary. African Activist ArchiveDespite the fact Brutus said he was “never a good athlete,” he turned to sports as a focus for his activism (“I was reasonably good at organizing,” he explained), and began organizing sports competitions in the 1940s at the high school where he taught (Brutus 38). Through his affiliation with a number of anti-apartheid activists, he homed in on the Olympics with his sports-organizing talents, finding a contradiction between the Olympic charter (which forbade racial discrimination by participating countries) and the apartheid government of South Africa.

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