Starlight Pavilion

Journal

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Watched Scarface (1983). How different Al Pacino is here, young and gaunt and Cuban, compared to his presence in Heat.

A few books came recently: Nancy Steinhardt, Chinese Architecture (2019) and Liao Architecture (1997); Ronald G. Knapp, Chinese Houses: The Architectural History of a Nation (2006); and the first volume of Minford and Lau, editors, An Anthology of Translations: Classical Chinese Literature (2000). The first part of Knapp’s book is very good: providing details on construction and architecture and how houses in different regions vary based on climate and available materials. A good correction of my misconception (induced by Liang Sicheng) that Chinese architecture is mostly wooden. Reminded of OnEarth, the Chinese firm.

When the literature anthology came, I was struck by how little it holds my attention now; how overwhelmed I am by literature; how little it matters to me. Steinhardt’s books are similar: they engage me but more for the illustrations than anything else. I’m glad I didn’t pursue the academy. I am realizing, even if I already knew, that what allures me most about study is not study itself but of making it new.

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