Article of the month: High register, low register

In interview with Ieva Lesinska, Israeli writer Etgar Keret compares his role as an author of short stories and essays to that of a "court jester in the land of the convinced": a standpoint that opens up new and surprising angles on reality and, above all, generates great stories.

The register of Keret's books, which are written in Hebrew, is uniquely mixed. That this is so stems from Hebrew's linguistic history as a language not spoken for almost two millennia. Keret explains: 

"The English equivalent is that you have a sentence that is half King James Bible, half Jay-Z rap, you know? When you say a sentence, the register may go like this: biblical, biblical, Arabic, biblical, Russian, biblical... And this is something you cannot do in another language."

The rest of the interview, originally published in Latvian in Rigas laiks, is similarly varied and engaging, incorporating everything form the personal to the political, and from Keret's experience of having a house built for him in his parents' home country (Poland) to the paradoxes of living in the secure environment of a country (Israel) surrounded by violence:

"We live in a very tribal society. We have the left wing and the right wing, and they are very much like football club supporters. You know, the moment that you see somebody who doesn't support your team, you don't really listen to them. But if there's somebody who builds an argument that is not against the way that you think, but just changes the way that you perceive reality, then there may be a chance for change."

Etgar Keret, Ieva Lesinska
High register, low register

This article is available in English and Latvian

International workshop: Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize

Did Bob Dylan really do for popular music what Einstein did for physics? Should Dylan win the Nobel Prize for Literature? And what of his place in literary scholarship? The Einstein Forum, a Eurozine associate, reflects on five decades of Dylan's song writing and performing at the workshop Einstein disguised as Robin Hood: Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize, which will take place on 13 May 2013 in Potsdam and Caputh.

Einstein Forum director and Eurozine Advisory Board member Susan Neiman will introduce the event in Potsdam, which features a distinguished panel of speakers -- amongst whom there is unlikely to be consensus as to whether Bob Dylan would in fact make a fitting recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Upon transferring to Einstein's summer house in Caputh, Daniel Cohn-Bendit provides a keynote speech entitled "Bob and I: The Saga of a Generation".

Eurozine is a media partner of the event, which is open to all without registration.

More about the workshop on Bob Dylan and the Nobel prize

New Eurozine Partner: Prostory

Prostory, the Ukrainian magazine for culture and social critique, has joined the Eurozine network. Its young editorial team of independent authors, translators and artists is dedicated to "rethinking the Ukranian public sphere" by connecting local analysis of current social issues with the cultural translation of foreign narratives.

Each issue of Prostory presents a unique mixture of media, styles and genres clustered around a single theme. The incorporation of the print material into an online platform of the same name allows authors writing in Ukrainian and Russian to significantly widen their audiences and prompt new dialogue. Translations of modern and classical literature and philosophy as yet unrepresented in the Ukrainian context complement the output.

More on Prostory, including the current issue

New articles

Timothy Druckrey
Innovative equipment
On the ideology and dogmatic of the "new"
As part of a special issue of "Springerin" on anti-humanism, Tim Druckery reflects on the role of apparatus in a system that incorporates and monetizes virtually every form of transaction via omnivorous detection algorithms that mine personal data.

This article is available in English and German

Lothar Müller
A history of timeliness
The first printed newspaper appeared 150 years after Gutenberg, as the postal service replaced the messenger and news began to spread faster. Yet the format developed slowly, as Müller shows in a history of print media that concludes with the Internet age.

This article is now available in English and German

Charles S. Maier
The return of political economy
The suggestion that the division of the social product is as urgent a problem as its overall growth has led to political economy returning to both history and current politics, argues Charles S. Maier. High time, then, to analyse deprivation, wealth and inequality on a world scale.

This article is available in English and German

Patrick Iber
Empires of liberty
Historian Patrick Iber argues that, while the age of liberal imperialism seems on the wane, a liberal order remains, as do the lessons of the last two centuries: exchange and contract between free nations works best when power between them is close to equal.

This article is available in English and Spanish

Stanislav Menzelevskyi
Branding the fallout
The trauma of Chernobyl is being transformed into a commodity, or even a brand, writes Stas Menzelevskyi. This follows the release of films like "Chernobyl Diaries" and "Nuclear Waste", and, to an extent, the instrumentalization of the day of remembrance on 26 April.

This article is available in German and Russian

David Nemec
Stranger than fiction?
As part of a special issue of Czech literary magazine "Host" on attitudes to murder in real life and literature, the American writer David Nemec reveals a sub-plot to a notorious unsolved murder case in which reality remains stubbornly resistant to fiction.

This article is available in Czech and English

Michel Lussault
Urban sprawl
The origins and growth of the périurbain
More French residents can now afford to own a detached house than ever before, thanks in part to the tendency of government to favour this form of social ascendancy. As a result, urban and rural spaces are changing beyond recognition, writes geographer Michel Lussault.

This article is available in French

Jacques Rupnik
The euro crisis: Central European lessons
Differing national situations in eastern central Europe explain lack of solidarity and varying perceptions of the crisis' risks and remedies, writes Jacques Rupnik, and can be seen in terms of political lessons learned.

This article is now available in English, French and German

David Martin
Religion and violence
Critiquing the "new atheism"
Sociologist of religion David Martin calls proponents of an aggressive "new atheism" to task for collapsing arguments over the relation between religion and violence into ahistorical conjecture. This poses a threat to both scholarly standards and public debate in general.

This article is available in German

Josef Girshovich, John Lanchester
The sale of London
A conversation with author and journalist John Lanchester
John Lanchester, author of the 2012 London novel "Capital", describes how the whole of London has become a department store in which the streets are shelves and the houses goods for sale. It is here that his characters' lives play out, between the poles of homeliness and displacement.

This article is available in German

Guy Standing
Defining the precariat
A class in the making
Class has not disappeared. Instead, a more fragmented global class structure has emerged alongside a more flexible open labour market. This prompts Guy Standing to forge a new vocabulary capable of describing class relations in the global market system of the twenty-first century.

This article is available in English and Swedish

Etgar Keret, Ieva Lesinska
High register, low register
A conversation with the writer Etgar Keret
Etgar Keret compares his role as an author of short stories and essays to that of a "court jester in the land of the convinced": a standpoint that opens up new and surprising angles on reality and, above all, generates great stories -- as this interview conducted in Riga, Latvia, proves.

This article is available in English and Latvian

Nicholas Bradbury, Almantas Samalavicius
The freedom of the fox in the chicken run
A conversation with novelist Nicholas Bradbury
Nicholas Bradbury made his literary debut this year with the novel "Market Farm", a reworking of George Orwell's "Animal Farm" for the free market era. He talks here about influences for his satirical take on the current financial crisis and potential grounds for hope for the future.

This article is available in English and Lithuanian

Thomas Docherty
Research by numbers
Higher education cuts in the UK are hijacking the pursuit of knowledge. The perception has become entrenched that the role of academics is to serve business and do whatever the government decides is necessary for the economy, writes Thomas Docherty.

This article is now available in English and Lithuanian

Juan Luis Sánchez
Voices of the plazas
Social movements give validity to the rearguard, to the intellectual construction of a model that resists both attacks and criminalization, writes Juan Luis Sánchez. And as hundreds of people continue to be made homeless every day in Spain, the demonstrations can be expected to continue.

This article is available in English

Daniel Leisegang
Fatal embrace
After Amazon coming under fire for the treatment of its pickers and packers in Germany, "Blätter" editor Daniel Leisegang finds that competitors are also suffering at the hands of the world's largest online retailer, whose aggressive high-growth strategy he compares to a fatal embrace.

This article is available in German

Ewa Hess, Hennric Jokeit
The fear of depression, dementia and attention deficit disorder legitimizes the boom in neuro-psychotropic drugs. In a performance-driven society that confronts the self with its own shortcomings, neuroscience serves an expanding market.

This article is now available in German, English, Lithuanian, Slovenian and Ukranian

Kenan Malik
The facts, the myths and the framing of immigration

The case of Britain
Today, the same arguments once used against Jews, and then against South Asian and Caribbean immigrants, are now raised against Muslims and east Europeans. However, Kenan Malik finds some comfort in reviewing the facts of the matter. He then tackles the illusions.

This article is available in English

Constantine Dimoulas, Vassilis K. Fouskas
Cyprus crisis: Swan song of the Eurozone
Fouskas and Dimoulas look at the bigger picture surrounding the Greek Cypriot crisis, as economic contraction reaches levels not seen since the Turkish invasion. Meanwhile, external economic and geopolitical interests leave little prospect of European politics furthering the cause of integration.

This article is available in English

If you have questions or comments, please write to us:

To unsubscribe, follow this link.

Eurozine Imprint
Phone: +43-1-334 29 80
Fax: +43-1-334 29 80-20
Postal address: Dürergasse 14-16/8, A-1060 Vienna, Austria

Eurozine Newsletter: 05/2013