Skip to content

Cluster index: Nigel Wheale

Quixote on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Nigel Wheale: ‘”10:04″ is an advance on “Leaving the Atocha Station”, you might say, even though the first novel was already brilliantly original, smart in the same vein as its successor; the interposed graphic moments seem more nuanced, less blatant kinds of intervention, in the second book. I admire these novels so much because they seem to be making a new kind of factual fiction, poetic narrative, but as always, they are a part of some larger wave.’

Google BookmarksGoogle GmailPrintPrintFriendlyYahoo MailTwitterKindle ItReddit

The Omega Point.

Nigel Wheale: ‘Does an appetite for what’s ‘real’ ‘confirm the death of postmodernist irony, the infinite play of all that knowingly evasive reference? As in Douglas Coupland’s Girlfriend in a Coma (1998), Adam Gordon ultimately chooses to renounce the conventions by which he was created. Can we read Lerner and Coupland (DeLillo got there first) as voices for the new New movement, the post-ironic, a decisive move beyond the crumbling stockade of the post-, but toward what? Resurgence of a new Naturalism, the return of Realism, even? There is, after all, plenty enough these days to be getting real about.’

Google BookmarksGoogle GmailPrintPrintFriendlyYahoo MailTwitterKindle ItReddit

How’s the Mood-Board?

Nigel Wheale: ‘Is it best understood as labouring to give birth to the current stage, of global cultural exchange courtesy of the internet, which accelerates and intensifies so much of what was being described as ‘postmodern’, but to the point where there is no point in trying to categorize the infinity of data and the potential that it offers? This will be the mode for the foreseeable future, with ever more integrated transactions between technology and flesh, babes wi-fi-readied, USB implants tucked discretely behind each ear.’

Google BookmarksGoogle GmailPrintPrintFriendlyYahoo MailTwitterKindle ItReddit

‘Tallys’ and the postmodern sublime.

Nigel Wheale: ‘How much did any of the rapt audience [at the Cloisters] know of the debates over the origin of ‘Spem in alium’, or its place in the development of European polyphony, of the vexed complexities of liturgical revision, or the turbulent politics of the royal court? Some of the audience were certainly choristers themselves, may even have performed the motet, in which case they would be well versed in its structure, perhaps also some of the history. I knew very little indeed, even though I have loved and taught the literary renaissance for decades, have heard Tallis’s motet many times, in live and, more often, recorded performances, generally appreciating the music as a sustaining forest of song, sometimes transfixing, sometimes no more than a matte of voices that pleasingly resolves. And I’m no wiser now as to the precise date, circumstances and allegiance of ‘Spem in alium’, and its enigmatic origins.

Google BookmarksGoogle GmailPrintPrintFriendlyYahoo MailTwitterKindle ItReddit

Reframing ‘Guernica’.

Nigel Wheale: ‘Almost everyone involved in organising the five exhibitions of Guernica during these critical months, and many of those who visited them, must have been aware that Franco’s Nationalists were at that moment remorselessly destroying all hope of a Republican victory; on 2 November an armed Nationalist merchantman had even sunk a Republican steamer carrying food seven miles off the Norfolk coast near Cromer. While Guernica was on its progress through England, Republican lines were collapsing, the front destroyed; Catalonia was overrun during January, half a million fleeing north from Barcelona in the last days of the month.’

Google BookmarksGoogle GmailPrintPrintFriendlyYahoo MailTwitterKindle ItReddit