The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

In a previous post I wrote about my first two encounters with Srinivasa Ramanujan, the Indian mathematical genius who stirred up the British mathematical establishment in the early 20th century. As I mentioned there, a new movie directed by Matthew Brown was released last year with Jeremy Irons playing a very British G.H. Hardy — Ramanujan’s Cambridge mentor — and Dev Patel playing the Indian genius. Having seen the movie recently, I can talk now about this latest third encounter. Continue reading The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

A Better World

Recently I listened to an old interview of one of the last American public intellectuals, critic and Dissent‘s founder Irving Howe, by James Day as part of his TV series Day at Night (mid 1970s). Continue reading A Better World

La ubicuidad de π

Recientemente se estrenó la película The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015), inspirada en la vida del prodigio en matemáticas indio Srinivasa Aiyangar Ramanujan. El film se basa a su vez en la biografía del mismo título de Robert Kanigel y se centra más que nada en la relación de Ramanujan con el matemático inglés G. H. Hardy.1 Por cierto, existe otro libro de ficción que también se inspira en la relación de Ramanujan y Hardy, su título es The Indian Clerk, del autor estadounidense David Leavitt.2 Continue reading La ubicuidad de π

La década milagrosa de un crítico practicante

En los dos últimos capítulos de su fascinante Octavio Paz: Crítico practicante en busca de una poética, J. Agustín Pastén hace un recuento del tránsito del poeta mexicano por los sinuosos senderos de la crítica como práctica intelectual en la década que va desde mediados de los 1960s hasta mediados de los 1970s. Para Pastén, el oficio de crítico practicante hizo de Paz un mejor poeta en tanto le ayudó a entender los límites del mismísimo lenguaje de la poesía: Continue reading La década milagrosa de un crítico practicante

Mr. Turner (2014)

Joseph Mallord William Turner was a loner, a brilliant watercolorist who took this method of painting to a new high. He was also an eccentric, reclusive man. His mother, the daughter of prosperous London butchers and shopkeepers, became mentally ill when he was still a child. For that reason, he was sent away to live with relatives at age 10. Later, she ended up being institutionalized several times and eventually died insane. After early schooling, the young Turner became a draftsman and later studied painting and drawing under Thomas Malton (1726-1801). Malton was a brilliant architectural draughtsman, and Turner got from him a lifetime passion for landscape and architectural painting. Continue reading Mr. Turner (2014)