Proxies by Brian Blanchfield reviewed in Times Literary Supplement

Proxies by Brian Blanchfield reviewed in Times Literary Supplement

In August 2017, Picador Press reprinted Proxies: A Memoir in Twenty-Four Attempts by Brian Blanchfield! The Times Literary Supplement just reviewed the reprinted version:

Of flaps and patches


It is idle and superficial, argued Montaigne in his essay “Of Pedantry”, to take the knowledge of others on trust. “We must make it our own.” Inspired by the sixteenth-century French philosopher, Brian Blanchfield switched off the internet and swivelled away from his books to confront the question, What do I know? It is tempting to state, from the start, that he knows quite a lot. In a four-page essay about language acquisition, “On Propositionizing”, he swings comfortably between Helen Keller and Heidegger, Walker Percy, Noam Chomsky, Donald Winnicott, Aristotle, Roland Barthes, Muriel Rukeyser, Thomas Traherne and Albrecht Dürer. His fondness for arcane vocabulary – words like narreme, geophagy, sempiternal, scopophilic and detumescence – is impressive, but also irritating. If you can forgive that, along with a tendency to name-drop and construct some sentences so awkwardly that they require repeated re-reading, Proxies rewards perseverance. For at the heart of…

View the original review here: