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The ethos of the essay – the five legends

Ny Tid brings here the speech given by Carnera at Gyldendal on 1 October at the launch of the last Window, with a theme about the essay.

How to write for a possible future while the world threatens to move into a new era, dominated by technological uniformity, nationalism and cynical economic nihilism? If writing culture and art are not to end in experiential economics and self-help literature – in discounting and innovation in prefabricated modules for the good life – writing must work with tradition, culture and wonder with all its sluggishness, slowness and relative conservatism.
Nietzsche once asked himself the question: What is distinguished? He replied: The quiet smile and the slow gesture! Maybe a feeling of seeing a thought is born. To see everything in a new light. Here lies the beginning of what I will refer to as the essay's ethos – the essay's writing practice as a way of life that simultaneously explores the world out there and itself as an experienced and wondering human being. "The grip of art," wrote Viktor Shklovsky, "must make things foreign." To increase the difficulty and length of the perception process to give us a sense of things that are more than just a recognition. Another view of the world that can bring us closer. . .

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Alexander Carnera
Carnera is a freelance writer living in Copenhagen.

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