The Lower Gladstone Link in the Bodleian Library

Many who enter the hallowed halls of libraries, universities, and colleges will find that rooms, parts of and entire buildings are named after people, very usually men. These people and their families have bequeathed large sums to make such an infrastructure possible for the benefit of knowledge. And for that, we all are very grateful.… Continue reading The Lower Gladstone Link in the Bodleian Library

Sound, fury and écriture féminine in Violette (2013): a review

When I first heard about the film Violette (2013, dir. Martin Provost), I had little knowledge about the life and work of the French writer, Violette Leduc (1907-1972), on which the film was based. What drew me to the film was the fact that she was one time a protégé of Simone de Beauvoir. Imagine… Continue reading Sound, fury and écriture féminine in Violette (2013): a review

Book review: Eleanor Marx by Rachel Holmes

It is a curious thing when an illustrious offspring of someone so famous would remain eclipsed in the shadows of their parents. Perhaps this is warranted and justified in a meritocratic society we all aspire to where, with the exception of political dynasties and monarchies, famous parents do not always produce equally famous children. Begotten… Continue reading Book review: Eleanor Marx by Rachel Holmes

On Anis Sabirin the Malay feminist writer (and translation of my new column)

I cannot remember what I was doing in the British Library one fine afternoon in 2014, but I had found a who’s who of Malay literature published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. In it was a short biography of Anis Sabirin, a name I was faintly familiar with for being the singular critical voice against… Continue reading On Anis Sabirin the Malay feminist writer (and translation of my new column)

The geography of urban intellectual culture in the Malay archipelago

First published on THE STATE magazine, 10th October 2013 Everyday for six months last year, I took the mikrolet from a major bus stop in South Jakarta to my home. A kind of share taxi, the blue mikrolet—number 36—would take around fifteen passengers at a time, following a looping route that covered one small area… Continue reading The geography of urban intellectual culture in the Malay archipelago

Reader response criticism and sacred texts

Question: how useful is reader response criticism in understanding a community’s relationship with its ‘sacred texts’? In what ways does reader response criticism challenge the meaningfulness of the term ‘sacred’? A book does not read itself. Meaning does not happen when there is no one there to make it. Reader response (RR) criticism or theories… Continue reading Reader response criticism and sacred texts

Derrida, the life of the philosopher, and the ‘biopic’

‘He was born. He thought. He died’                                                                                         Heidegger on the ‘life’ of Aristotle A review of Derrida’s biography by Benoît Peeters in The Guardian today made me think about whether or not the biography is crucial or incidental to understanding a philosopher’s thought. Does knowing (or not knowing) about Derrida’s life enable us to… Continue reading Derrida, the life of the philosopher, and the ‘biopic’

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf – a review

There is something quite redemptive about the 2010 edition of Ntozake Shange’s experimental “choreo-poem,” For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf, which is published as a tie-in to Tyler Perry’s underwhelming film adaptation, For Colored Girls. Shange’s words restore the choreopoem’s original libratory message without the gloss and A-list names in… Continue reading for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf – a review