Category Archives: literature
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Czech center builds giant ‘airship’ for literature
By Karel Janicek, The Associated Press
PRAGUE (AP) – Is that a zeppelin on the roof?
The huge object appears to have landed on the roof of the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in the Czech capital.
The wooden and metal structure, envisioned as a home for literature, is another project of the center known for its challenging exhibitions and installations.
The center’s founder and director, Leos Valka, joined forces with architect Martin Rajnis, who won the 2014 Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, to give the gallery another dimension.
“Our aim for the world of contemporary art is to spread and get partially interconnected with the world of literature,” Valka said at a preview this week.
The 42-meter (138-feet) long and 10-meter (33-feet) wide ship is planned to seat 120 people on its cascade steps inside for authors’ readings, performances, workshops and public debates to complement the exhibitions.
That’s all to be in line with the gallery’s mission “to create a space for research, presentation, and debate on important social issues, where visual arts, literature, performing arts, and other disciplines encourage a critical view of the so-called reality of today’s world.”
Numerous obstacles had to be overcome to get approval from authorities for the 55-metric-ton (60-ton) project.
The ship was finally qualified as a “watchtower” – a bit of absurdity which Prague native Franz Kafka might have appreciated.
The airship is named Gulliver, the hero of Jonathan Swift’s classic, who visited a flying island of Laputa during his adventurous travels.
“It’s a world of pure imagination,” Valka said about the project. “A children’s world.”
“You should get an impression that some 10-12-years-old boys escaped from the houses of parents to board their makeshift aircraft and by accident crash-landed in Holesovice,” the Prague district where the center is located.
“It’s an elegant intruder,” Valka said. “It’s a concrete, fully authentic, giant object whose message is that things can be done differently.”
The literature space is scheduled to open in late November or early December.
How Genre Fiction Became More Important Than Literary Fiction
The book war is over. The aliens, dragons, and detectives won.
Only idiots or snobs ever really thought less of “genre books” of course. There are stupid books and there are smart books. There are well-written books and badly written books. There are fun books and boring books. All of these distinctions are vastly more important than the distinction between the literary and the non-literary. Time has a tendency to demolish old snobberies. Once upon a time, Conan Doyle was embarrassed by the Sherlock Holmes stories; he wanted to be remembered for his serious historical novels. Jim Thompson’s books—considered straight pulp during his lifetime—are obviously as dense and layered and confounding as great literature. Correction: They are great literature. Who really thinks, today, that Stanislaw Lem isn’t a genius, that he’s “just a science fiction writer”?
Most people lie and say they’ve read these classic books to seem smarter, according to a survey in The Guardian. Chances are, you’re one of those people too.