Paul Martin: Street 'urchins,' London, UK, 1893 (Courtesy: www.phaidon.com)

Charles Dickens on Homelessness

In essay XIII of The Uncommercial Traveller, Charles Dickens writes of the prevalence of homelessness, as it was found in the London of 1860. The essays that formed the book were drawn from essays written for his weekly periodical All the Year Round, which had a circulation as high as 300,000. London at the time…

Oil, Gas, and the Relentless Decline of Community – andrea bennett – Mahler and Freud Meet in Leiden I:I:4

andrea bennett’s poem You can put your fingers on the feelings appeared in the same Canadian Literature 216 issue as my poem Chrysoglott. I am reminded of this coincidence after reading her article Boom, in the March 2015 issue of The Walrus, on oil and gas in Fort Nelson in northern British Columbia. In the…

Beethoven for a Later Age

The string quartet, with its four individual participants, represents one of the most demanding configurations of human cooperation needed to achieve a result that cannot be achieved by one individual alone. The object of the string quartet is, of course, to re-create, perform, and communicate music in the service of art in the service of…

Patti Smith – M Train (2015)

Patti Smith’s 2015 M Train is a book that is more than close to the heart. The structure of the book first appears superficially episodic, but it soon becomes clear that its organization is carefully controlled, with the text moving easily between the present and the past, and what is meaningful and what seems not…

John Ibbitson – Stephen Harper (2015)

A well-written biography of the former prime minister, with identification of the effect of beneficial policies, but without sufficient assessment of the impact of detrimental policies, which far outnumber those that are beneficial. Ibbitson is almost universally and unconvincingly dismissive of Harper’s political opponents, which mars much of the book’s argument of the success of…

Baruch Spinoza, Vancouver, British Columbia

Saturday, July 27, 2002, 12:16 pm, Vancouver, BC Read a little further on Spinoza in Durant’s 1953 The Story of Philosophy. There is some very interesting material: Because we act for conscious ends, we suppose that all processes have such ends in view; and because we are human we suppose that all events lead up to man…