Tag Archives: Humiliation

A brief note on ‘Humiliation’ by Wayne Koestenbaum. London: Notting Hill Press, 2011.

A very handsome book, from Notting Hill Editions, a pleasure to hold and a pleasure to read. I’m not sure I learned very much about Humiliation as a concept but Koestenbaum certainly offers a lot of different examples. The book is structured as a series of chapters broken down into a series of brief– observations, ruminations, recounting of incidents? — Koestenbaum calls them fugues so as to account for counterpoint and a certain disassociation. I’m not sure what they add up to. But I loved being in Koestenbaum’s company. I admire his courage; he’s not afraid of coming across as unlikeable or, more accurately, behaving badly (I like him). He’s also not embarrassed to recount the many ways he’s felt humiliated, and with an eye for detail that considers the social, psychological and physical. The learning on display is impressive as is the use of language and I found some sections (the ones on Shakespeare, for example) dazzling. A wonderful book to read on a train as its very structure lends itself marvellously to short bursts of reading and quick bursts of pleasure.

José Arroyo