What happened to the European mind between 1605, when an audience watching Macbeth at the Globe might believe that regicide was such an aberration of the natural order that ghosts could burst from the ground, and 1649, when a large crowd could stand and watch the execution of a king? In this turbulent period, science moved from the alchemy and astrology of John Dee to the painstaking observation and astronomy of Galileo. And if the old ways still lingered and affected the new mindset, Descartes’ dualism presented an attempt to square the new philosophy with religious belief. By the end of that tumultuous century “the greatest ever change in the mental outlook of humanity” had irrevocably taken place.
This dazzling new novel is the kaleidoscopic story of an unusual woman’s life, a metaphysical thriller and a profound meditation on mortality and survival. And it’s brilliant. Mitchell’s previous books are Ghostwritten, number9dream, Cloud Atlas, Black Swan Green and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
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Two compelling views of sex and gender in the Middle East. In Superman Is An Arab, her sequel to I Killed Sheherezade, Haddad examines the patriarchal system and machismo that continues to dominate in the Arab world. Sex is entwined in religion and tradition, politics and economics, gender and generations, so it makes the perfect lens for examining the region’s complex social landscape in El Feki’s study of Intimate Life In A Changing Arab World.
The chair of judges interviews the winner of the £60,000 2015 Prize, who was announced on 19 May in London.
Born in 1954, László Krasznahorkai gained considerable recognition in 1985 when he published Satantango, which he later adapted for the cinema in collaboration with the filmmaker Bela Tarr. In 1993, he received the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the year for The Melancholy of Resistance and has since been honoured with numerous literary prizes, amongst them the highest award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize.
Krasznahorkai and his translator George Szirtes were longlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Satantango and Krasznahorkai has won the Best Translated Book Award in the US two years in a row, in 2013 for Satantango and in 2014 for Seiobo There Below. Seiobo There Below was published in the UK on 7 May by Tuskar Rock Press.
The judging panel for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize was chaired by celebrated writer and academic Marina Warner. The panel also comprised Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London; acclaimed author Nadeem Aslam; novelist and critic Elleke Boehmer, who is currently Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University; and Edwin Frank, editorial director of the New York Review Books Classics.
The judges said of Krasznahorkai’s work: ‘In László Krasznahorkai’s The Melancholy of Resistance, a sinister circus has put a massive taxidermic specimen, a whole whale, Leviathan itself, on display in a country town. Violence soon erupts, and the book as a whole could be described as a vision, satirical and prophetic, of the dark historical province that goes by the name of Western Civilisation. Here, however, as throughout Krasznahorkai’s work, what strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary sentences, sentences of incredible length that go to incredible lengths, their tone switching from solemn to madcap to quizzical to desolate as they go their wayward way; epic sentences that, like a lint roll, pick up all sorts of odd and unexpected things as they accumulate inexorably into paragraphs that are as monumental as they are scabrous and musical.’
Announcing the winner, Marina Warner commented: ‘Laszlo Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful. The Melancholy of Resistance, Satantango and Seiobo There Below are magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence. Krasznahorkai, who writes in Hungarian, has been superbly served by his translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet.’
With an absent wife and a daughter going off the rails, wealthy art collector and philanthropist Simon Strulovitch is in need of someone to talk to. So when he meets Shylock at a cemetery in Cheshire’s Golden Triangle, he invites him back to his house. It’s the beginning of a remarkable friendship. The Man Booker winner’s version of The Merchant of Venice bends time to its own advantage as it asks what it means to be a father, a Jew and a merciful human being in the modern world.
In this first lecture honouring our late President, three legal scholars, historians and political thinkers discuss the nature of his legacy, and the writing of modern history.
The Chairman of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group from 1991 to 2001 and of Anglo American Plc from 2002 to 2009 discusses the realities, dilemmas and lessons to be learnt from the last 20 years of corporate engagement with sustainability, ethics and responsibility. He tells a tale of corruption and conflict, of extractive industries and intractable governments from Syria and Nigeria to Downing Street and Beijing. In a tough world, how can business do the right thing?