There Is Only One Creativity

600full-julio-cortazarI called this blog “between the lines” in order to evoke an intersection of two domains that have been dear to me  for most of my life: reading and basketball, though for most of my life they’ve been kept — at least consciously — separate from one another.  In the past couple of years, I’ve undertaken a conscious effort to integrate them and so, to integrate those dimensions of my nature and my desire.

So “Between the Lines’ is meant in part to suggest the lines of a basketball court and so to point to my efforts to deepen my understanding of what goes on between those lines.  But also, “Between the Lines” is also meant — as part of the phrase “Reading between the lines” — to suggest reading in general, and a way of reading deeply and practically that seeks to establish a relationship with writers and their writing as equipment for living.

“Between the Lines” means approaching both basketball and the written word with a close, critical attention to the concrete, formal details that comprise those things so as to open up pathways connecting each of those domains to the worlds beyond them (including the worlds within myself) and, from there, to practical insights that help me (and my students or those who read me) get along a little better in life. Read more

The Birth of the 20th Century: On Stephen Kern’s The Culture of Time and Space: 1880-1914 (Harvard, 2003)

When I was in graduate school in Duke University’s Literature Program from 1987-1991, discussion and study of postmodernism was all the rage. It helped that the Program’s director, Fredric Jameson, was then in the process of composing his own magnum opus on the topic, Postmodernity, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. This focus on postmodernism necessarily entailed study and discussion of modernism, modernization, and modernity as well. One of the books, actually originally published in 1983, that I remember a number of grabbing up and reading at the time was Stephen Kern’s, The Culture of Time and Space, essentially a study of the transformation of the experiences of time and space among Europeans and Americans (from the US) in the period from 1880 to 1918, traced through developments in science, technology, philosophy, the social sciences, and the arts.  Unlike many works that circulated in the heyday of the postmodernism debate of the late 80s, I suspect, Kern’s book has aged well. Kern, a historian now at Ohio State University, tells a compelling, readable, and originally and lucidly organized history of a sea change in conceptions of time and space that affected the material and cultural environment as well as everyday consciousness. Read more