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Cluster index: Alex Wong

A Spell to Lure Apollo.

Alex Wong: ‘The story has its setting in a small and moribund German grand-duchy, about to be absorbed into neighbouring territories, at the turn of the eighteenth century. Duke Carl is a bookish aesthete, seduced by the brighter, more humanistic culture of certain less gloomy and more cosmopolitan realms abroad.’

Two poems from ‘Poems without Irony’.

Alex Wong: ‘Like a fanfare of silver harpsichords
The moon was in full cry on the black woods
And rang metallic round our haloed pates.’

Duties of care in the study of literature.

Alex Wong: ‘To be able to enter into an emotional and ideological world not one’s own, and then to be moved by it, to come to respect it, to empathize with that mode of thought and feeling—whether aesthetic, sentimental or moral—must be, I take it, one of the most important processes involved in the study of old books. It is especially important when the book in question at first seems particularly alien. What I am talking about (knowing that I am saying nothing new) might be described as an engaged, humane, historical awareness, the goal being an expansion of sensibility in which process those foreign things (the works of art) are assimilated.’

The poet as ‘strategic’ ironist.

Alex Wong: ‘I think it is fair to say that postmodern culture has been both good and bad at irony. Some of its most interesting achievements, and some of its most boring symptoms, have been in the realm of irony. Certain ironic effects, certain elements of ironic sensibility, have flourished in genuinely vibrant ways, but the prevalence of low-level irony has reached a dismaying level, and it has offered an excuse for all sorts of dullness.’