John Banville, first Irish author to win Prince of Asturias award

Written on June 5, 2014 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Literature

M87BANVILLE_2 (Copiar)--644x362John Banville has become the first Irish author to receive the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Literature, announced today in Oviedo, Spain. The award, established in 1981, is conferred on those “whose literary work represents an outstanding contribution to universal literature” and includes a Joan Miró sculpture and a cash prize of €50,000. The award will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a ceremony presided over by the prince of Asturias.

Unusually, the judges’ citation confers the award not just “on the Irish novelist John Banville for his intelligent, insightful and original work as a novelist” but also “on his alter ego, Benjamin Black, author of disturbing, critical crime novels”.

Previous winners include Philip Roth, Arthur Miller and Gunter Grass.

The judges added: “John Banville’s prose opens up dazzling lyrical landscapes through cultural references in which he breathes new life into classical myths and beauty goes hand in hand with irony. At the same time, he displays an intense analysis of complex human beings that ensnare us in their descent into the darkness of baseness or in their existential fellowship. Each of his works attracts and delights for his skill in developing the plot and his mastery of registers and expressive nuances, as well as for his reflections on the secrets of the human heart.”

Banville, who was born in Wexford in 1945, and is a former literary editor of The Irish Times, has received numerous accolades throughout his career. In 2005, The Sea earned Banville his highest award, the Man Booker Prize, which he had been shortlisted for with The Book of Evidence in 1989. Doctor Copernicus (1976), a fictionalised biography of the Polish astronomer, earned him the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. Kepler (1981), on the German astronomer, won him the Guardian Fiction Prize. The Book of Evidence (1989) won the Guinness Peat Aviation Book Award.

Continue reading in The Irish Times


PhotoEspanaFor this 17th edition, the Festival will be focussing on Spanish photography, highlighting its richness, energy and sheer variety through a survey of figures and approaches ranging over several generations, from the earliest days of photography right up to today.

The 440 visual artists taking part in PHE14—70% of whom are Spanish—include leading figures such as Josep Renau, Joan Vilatobà, Ortiz Echagüe, Eugeni Forcano, Alberto Schommer, Ramón Masats, Cristina García Rodero, Cristóbal Hara, Alberto García-Alix, Pablo Genovés, Jordi Socías, Pilar Pequeño, Cristina de Middel, Ricky Dávila, Rosell Meseguer, Linarejos Moreno, Miguel Ángel Tornero and Óscar Monzón.
The Festival includes 108 exhibitions curated by experts like Joan Fontcuberta, José María Parreño, Josep Vicent Monzó, Oliva María Rubio, Rafael Levenfeld, Valentín Vallhonrat, Cristina Zelich, Luis Díaz Díaz, Iñaki Domingo, Charlotte Cotton, Iñaki Bergera, Horacio Fernández, María Millán and Julio César Abad.
The venues for PHE14 will be Madrid, Alcalá de Henares, Alcobendas, Cuenca, Getafe and Zaragoza; although this year, as an exception, 8 exhibitions will be held in six other cities.
Other events on the programme include photography workshops, portfolio viewings, guided tours, family workshops, screenings, a photobook fair and two competitions: A Day in the Life of Madrid and Photographic Memories.
The 17th edition of PHotoEspaña, a festival that was recently awarded the Gold Medal for the Fine Arts, will run from 4 June to 27 July, although many of the exhibitions will stay open throughout August and September.
For further information click here

africaLa conferencia “Mis viajes por África” tendrá lugar el lunes 23 de junio a las 19.00h

Javier Reverte nos hablará en la conferencia sobre muchas experiencias de sus recorridos por África, continente que conoce muy bien, tanto de su naturaleza, como de su historia, y todo ello trufado con un rico anecdotario. Se detendrá, en particular, a hablarnos del país que considera más singular en toda el África subsahariana, Etiopía, y de aquel que, desde su punto de vista, atesora una riqueza natural más deslumbrante y variada, Tanzania. Son dos países a los que, junto con Nuba, ha organizado sendos viajes para este verano

Javier Reverte ha pisado los cinco continentes, ha navegado el Índico, el Pacífico y cruzado el Atlántico entre Europa y América en dos ocasiones; ha navegado el Ártico de Este a Oeste por el mítico Paso del Noroeste, atravesado el canal de Panamá en barco y puesto el pie en la isla del Cabo de Hornos. Ha descendido el Amazonas desde su nacimiento hasta su desembocadura, recorrido el curso del Alto Nilo, y se ha embarcado en el rio Congo en la misma ruta que realizó Joseph Conrad a finales del siglo XIX. Ha seguido los caminos literarios de escritores como Homero –en la Grecia clásica- o de Jack London –remando 750 kilómetros en el río Yukón- o de Mark Twain -en el Mississippi- y se ha internado en las inmensas llanuras africanas en busca de sus sueños infantiles. Ha surcado las aguas de los lagos Victoria, Tanganyka y Tana, y se ha acercado en una larga marcha de varios días, a pie, desde Mararal hasta las orillas del Turkana. Ha vivido en Londres, en París, en Lisboa, en Nueva York, en Roma y en Westport (Irlanda). Y todo eso y muchas más cosas las ha contado en sus libros de viajes.

Para registrase en este evento haga click aquí


If You Want to Be a Good Leader, You Better Understand Philosophy

Written on June 2, 2014 by Santiago Iñiguez in Philosophy

naplesBy Santiago Iñiguez, Dean of IE Business School

I believe that management is philosophy in action and that every management theory has a philosophical background. I do also believe that every manager has a view of the world, consciously or inadvertently, explicit or emergent, that conforms to a certain sort of philosophy. Interestingly, even affirming the contrary is in itself a philosophical proposition.

The same is applicable to theories on leadership: they can be ascribed to some philosophical movement or trend. In this regard, modern theories of leadership owe a lot to Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher of the 19century, famous for his affirmation that “God is dead”, whose contributions have been both influential and controversial. Nietzsche distinguishes between two types of morality: the “master morality” and the “slave morality”. The first is applicable to the leaders of society, who create their own values for themselves. The “slave morality” is applicable to the herd and according to its standards the behaviour of masters is accounted as evil. But masters, sustains Nietzsche, stand “beyond good and evil“: they are subject to their own principles, different to the norms enacted for the herd that favour mediocrity and prevent the development of higher-level persons: the true leaders.

Curiously, a passage from one of Nietzsche’s books could have been extracted from the management literature on modern leadership of the 1980’s:

“To give style to one’s character- a great and rare art! He practises it who surveys all that his nature presents in strength and weakness and then moulds it to an artistic plan until everything appears as art and reason, and even the weakness delight the eye…It will be the strong, imperious natures which experience their subtlest joy in exercising such a control, in such a constraint and perfecting under their own law” (1)

Nietzsche’s theory reminds me of some characters of novels and movies from that same decade. The two most remembered icons are probably Gordon Gecko, the protagonist of “Wall Street”, preacher of the “greed is good” maxim –a part of theReaganite credo of the time-, and Sherman McCoy, the grieved executive of “The Bonfire of Vanities”, qualified in the novel as a “master of the universe“. Both characters feel, using the Nietzschean expression, “beyond good and evil” and not subject to the standards that affect the rest of mortals. A passage from one of Nietzsche’s works is appropriate again as a description of their attitudes in life:

“For believe me!- the secret of realising the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment of existence is to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of the Vesuvius! Send your ships out into uncharted seas! Live in conflict with your equals and with yourselves! Be robbers and ravagers as long as you cannot be rulers or owners, you men of knowledge! The time will soon be past when you could be content to live concealed in the woods like timid deer!” (2)

However, both mentioned stories end similarly. Gecko and McCoy are caught and punished and they consequently loose their “supermen” status. We witness a moralistic finale, something that does not necessarily happen in real life.

In the past two decades, business schools have witnessed the flourishing of postmodern theories of leadership that demonize Gecko and McCoy’s attitudes and propose new, renovated archetypes of business leaders. This has happened at the time of the renaissance of business ethics, concomitant with some widely publicized business scandals.

Indeed, today it is unconceivable to understand business leadership without referring to corporate responsibility, deontology or sustainability, at least conceptually. In future posts I will cover different contemporary proposals of these forms of committed leadership.


(Photo above: The Bay of Naples with the Vesuvius in the background, taken from the Island of Capri, 2014)

(1) Nietzsche, F. “Die Frohliche Wissenschaft”, quoted in Hollingdale, R.J.: “Nietzsche: The Man and His Philosophy” (Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, UK, 1999); p. 143.

(2) Ibid., p. 144.



Written on May 30, 2014 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Film

leviathan-0-230-0-341-cropAndrei Zvagintsev’s Leviathan is a sober and compelling tragic drama of corruption and intimidation in contemporary Russia, set in a desolate widescreen panorama. This is a movie which seems to be influenced by the Old Testament and Elia Kazan; it starts off looking like a reasonably scaled drama about a little guy taking on big government. Then it escalates to a new plane in which man is taking on the biggest, cruellest, and most implacable government of all, and the final sequence of devastation must surely be influenced by the final moments of Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice.

It is acted and directed with unflinching ambition, moving with deliberative slowness, periodically accelerating at moments of high drama and suspense. It isn’t afraid of massive symbolic moments and operatic gestures; I was fractionally sceptical about these at the time, but they live and throb in my head hours after the final credit-crawl. Leviathan incidentally features a horribly watchable performance from Roman Madyanov as a crooked mayor who resembles a hideous reincarnation of Broderick Crawford in the 1949 municipal graft classic All The King’s Men — with a hint of Boris Yeltsin. I hadn’t heard of this 51-year-old Russian performer before now. His excellent performance makes me think it’s a pity Cannes doesn’t have a best supporting actor prize.

The film’s hero is Kolia (Alexei Serebriakov), a car mechanic with a beautiful second wife Lilya (Elena Liadova), and a teenage son Roma (Sergei Pokhodaev) from his first marriage. It is his fortune or misfortune to have a modest family-built property on prime real estate: a beautiful spot on the waterfront in the lapland wilderness of north-western Russia. Now a crooked mayor Vadim (Madyanov) wants this land to build his own gruesome luxury dacha, and slaps the Russian equivalent of a Compulsory Purchase Order on Kolia: he gets this precious land for a derisory sum. But Kolia calls on the help of his old army buddy Dimitri (Vladimir Vdovichenkov) who is now a slick lawyer in Moscow and he has arrived in this remote region with a file full of incriminating evidence on Vadim which he promises his old comrade will induce Vadim to back off. But it soon becomes clear that getting the old homestead back isn’t precisely what Dimitri has in mind. And his motives for helping aren’t what they first appear.

Continue reading in The Guardian


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