John Berger’s Bento’s Sketchbook and Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes are the third and fourth title in a new series of publications from Garage Center for Contemporary Culture and Ad Marginem Press.
Berger offers insight into the way in which we experience art. The writer takes inspiration from the story of the 17th century philosopher Baruch Spinoza – also known by the nickname ‘Bento’ – and his legendary sketchbook, which was lost after his death. Berger fills his own sketchbook with quotations from Spinoza’s letters, manuscripts and notes, as well as his own drawings and thoughts about life, philosophy and art. The book is a fascinating tale of soul and intellect that will delight all art lovers. Throughout the text, the reader encounters some of the masterpieces of world painting, such as Venus at her Mirror by Diego Velazquez, Crucifixion by Antonello da Messina, and Insane Woman by Theodore Gericault – images that more ably and succinctly express the truth of life than words could ever achieve. The Russian reader will especially appreciate the author’s love of 19th and 20th century Russian Literature – from Fyodor Dostoyevsky to Andrei Platonov.
Roland Barthes – written by the famous French philosopher – is a fascinating intellectual autobiography of one of the most often cited thinkers of the 20th Century. In this text, Barthes attempts to provide an ‘objective’ view of his life, regarding himself from a distance, whilst presenting a genuine and highly personal diary account. Through a mosaic of memories and flashbacks, Barthes formulates his political and theoretical views, explains his main ideas and terms and discusses his understanding of friendship and love. And it is not surprising that Barthes compares intellectual life with love: the way in which the joy of cognition or an unexpected new idea provides a dose of adrenaline comparable to an encounter with a loved one. Moreover, it is also a book about freedom: freedom of thought, freedom from the myths and stereotypes imposed by society, and above all, freedom from language clichés and conventions.
The books can be bought in Garage’s Bookstore, and since the end of September in bookstores «Moskva», «Biblio-Globus», «Moskovskiy Dom Knighi», «Falanster», in stores of the chain «Noviy Knizhniy» and in the Internet-store «Ozon.ru».
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