From LRB, Terry Eagleton reviews Mikhail Bakhtin: The Word in the World by Graham Pechey. A review of Words and Thoughts: Subsentences, Ellipsis, and the Philosophy of Language by Robert J. Stainton. An interview with American writer Douglas Kennedy on the "Kennedy Theory of Human Behaviour".

From Slate, how one family became a dynasty in the world of British letters: Geoffrey Wheatcroft reviews Autobiography of a Family: Fathers and Sons by Alexander Waugh. I dream of Darcy: A new wave of Austen-mania revolves around ballgowns, romance and Colin Firth's sexy breeches. But what would Jane Austen say about this fantasy of the perfect man? By the time it appeared in Paris bookstores in 2004, Suite Française, an unfinished novel by unknown author Irene Nemirovsky, who had been dead for 62 years, announced a publishing phenomenon. More on Gunter Grass’s Peeling the Onion, a verbally dazzling but often infuriating piece of work.

Welcome to the bizarre, baroque world of Luis de Góngora (1561–1627), greatest of Spanish poets, and his unfinished masterpiece, The Solitudes. No weirder poem has ever been written. QuickMuse.com, the modern descendant of ancient Greek poetry jousts, has been asking pairs of well-known writers to create poems on a shared topic and posting the results online. Ann Patchett, Terry McMillan, Nathan Englander, Rick Moody and Nicholas Montemarano, five authors who have made their names writing fiction try their pens at a new genre for The Washington Post Magazine's Summer Reading Issue. Each of their nonfiction memoirs of summer is a tale of personal transformation.

From Salon, an interview with Meryle Secrest, author of Shoot the Widow: Adventures of a Biographer in Search of Her Subject (and a review). A review of Strange Piece of Paradise: A Return to the American West to Investigate My Attempted Murder - and Solve the Riddle of It by Terri Jentz. A review of My Name is Anne, She Said, Anne Frank: The Memoirs of Anne Frank’s Best Friend by Jacqueline van Maarsen. Wake up, wake up, you sleepyhead: The return to life of a Polish worker after 19 years in a coma leads Robert Wiersema to examine literary equivalents.

From The Village Voice, how the Gotham Book Mart came tumbling down—and its hopes to live again. Would you like that book in paper or plastic? No-paper volumes' ruggedness, recyclability touted, but problems suggest themselves. First person singular: It's good for children to face fear through books.


From Foreign Policy, William Easterly on how the failed ideologies of the last century have come to an end. But a new one has risen to take their place. It is the ideology of Development—and it promises a solution to all the world’s ills. But like Communism, Fascism, and the others before it, Developmentalism is a dangerous and deadly failure. Its Own Worst Enemy: Is colonialism to blame for the woes of former colonies? Not in Ghana. Niall Ferguson explains. Robert Zoellick could use the bank’s influence to help revive dead capital in developing countries. To that end, he could do no better than to follow the advice of Mark Davis and appoint Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto as chief economist for the World Bank. 

From Foreign Affairs, Azar Gat (Tel Aviv): The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers. Where does the global human rights movement stand in the seventh year of the 21st century? Jackson Diehl investigates. The Hidden Pandemic: Moises Naim on how crime is quietly becoming a global killer. A tale of two towns: Two controlled, imagined communities symbolise the global disorder and social polarisation that marks the era of war on terror. American goodwill, in shackles: How Bush hardliners and even mainstream pundits have hogtied one of our greatest potential strengths in the war on terrorism. Robert Baer on why the CIA is airing its dirty laundry

From TNR, Dick Cheney v. Aaron Burr. Who is the most dangerous vice president ever? Eric Rauchway investigates (and more). President Dick Cheney? He would probably think of the Oval Office as a demotion; and the big question right now among Republicans is how to remove Vice President Cheney from office. 

Richard Cohen on how the GOP could win in 2008. No Wafer for Rudy: Giuliani campaigns as a Catholic, but he's on the outs with God. Presidential hopeful Fred Thompson is labelled by former flames as a charmer who could bring home the female vote. Larry Sabato on The Hillary Dilemma. Gatekeepers of Hillaryland: The candidate's coterie from her White House days is back together, all for one and one for all. There's never been less need for a third-party candidate for the US presidency. And Mike Bloomberg is a Democrat anyway. 

From Mother Jones, a special section on Politics 2.0: Are we entering a new era of digital democracy—or just being conned by a bunch of smooth-talking geeks? Phil Donahue Strikes Back: Relegated to the outskirts of mainstream media, the talk-show veteran and former MSNBC anchor works the indie film circuit. Michael Savage vs. Brian Lamb. Sounds like the unlikeliest of media showdowns, right?


From Hoover Digest, Gary Becker on The Case Against the Draft; a study of two great generals who knew how to keep civilian and military leaders working together: An excerpt from Securing the State: Reforming the National Security Decision-Making Process at the Civil-Military Nexus; Peter Berkowitz on how hybrid conservatives are becoming the dominant species; in much of the world, conservatives clamor for subsidies while liberals fight big government. In the United States, it’s the other way around. Here’s why.

From TNR, Johann Hari on reshuffling the deck chairs on the National Review cruise. What would the world be like if there had been no William F. Buckley? Ben Stein investigates. Michael Harrington's pamphlet Why We Need Socialism in America has been posted to the website of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America. More on Robert Service's Comrades!

From PopMatters, a review of Getting Loose: Lifestyle Consumption in the 1970s by Sam Binkley. The Thirty-Year Itch: By stabilizing health costs and sharing the risks, and by building a series of other supports to help workers navigate confidently through a dynamic economy, we can imagine a new social contract in which government’s role in providing security is yoked to, and not considered a drag on, economic growth. Why Michael Moore Is Good for Your Health: The provocateur's new movie, Sicko, takes aim at our broken health care system — and argues, in true patriotic fashion, that it represents a failing of America's own best principles and promise. First things first: Housing first, a radical new approach to ending chronic homelessness, is gaining ground. 

From 3 Quarks Daily, hipsters, prepare to die: Why is hipster ridicule directed at the cultural output of a generation ago? Why do power couples migrate to metropolitan areas? Actually, they don't. The Baby-Name Business: Parents are feeling intense pressure to pick names that set their kids apart. Some are even hiring consultants. Alexandra Alter on the art of branding your newborn. 

A review of The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up too Much? by Leslie Bennetts. A review of Girls Gone Mild by Wendy Shalit. Ayo, shorty!' Brooklyn girls are fighting back against the boys who harass them. Roger Kimball reviews The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden. From American Sexuality, are Navy rituals, like Kissing the Royal Belly, homophobic or homoerotic? What fuels the hatred of homosexuality? Jonathan Haidt wants to help liberal types understand why some people condemn homosexual relationships as immoral. From Nerve, the story of a night of bad sex with a Log Cabin Republican. From online personals for friends with benefits to illicit blogs and even an electronic poke ... the digital age has created a technosexual generation hooked on no-strings casual sex. Hephzibah Anderson meets the people who aren't looking for love. 


There are growing calls among some evolutionary biologists for an upgrade to Darwin, although they differ about what form this might take. Evo-devo researchers are finding that development appears to have been one of the major forces shaping the history of life on earth. Evolutionary experiments on microbes are under way in many laboratories and scientists can observe bacteria adapt over 40,000 generations of living in a beaker. A new exhaustive fossil analysis says mammals originated after the demise of dinosaurs, but the debate continues. When small is best: When habitats contract, the creatures they contain get smaller. Pick your evil: An article on how HIV passed to humans.

After the sequencing of the human genome, scientists are planning to reconstruct the entire genome of the Neanderthal. The work will help answer questions about whether humans and Neanderthals are related, and if they interbred. An article on human DNA, the ultimate spot for secret messages (and more). Modern humans appeared 50,000 years ago, but genetic drift and natural selection have recently remolded the human clay. "I Think, Therefore I Am" is losing force: Biologists are turning up evidence that humans are not, physically or even mentally, in a class by themselves. From Technology Review, artificial intelligence is lost in the woods: David Gelernter argues a conscious mind will never be built out of software; and artificial societies and virtual violence: How modeling societies in silico can help us understand human inequality, revolution, and genocide

Research suggests children with autism, who are unable to grasp the mental states of others, can nonetheless identify with conventional stereotypes based on a person's race and sex. Bowling With Our Own: Robert Putnam’s sobering new diversity research scares its author (and more). 

Casaubon on Viagra: The cliché of the absent-minded, asexual professor is dead. Scott McLemee looks at "the new academic stereotype". Does the tenure case of Norman Finkelstein bode ill for academic freedom? Cathy Young investigates. Antioch College taught how to get fired repeatedly from internships while following your activist conscience. Who's going to offer such lessons now? 

Among the hot topics at the annual meeting of the Association of American University Presses were a surprise request for proposals from a big foundation and a forthcoming report on publishing in the digital age. Next year in Jerusalem? The Academic Ethicist offers advice on scholarly boycotts. Follow the money: Colleges wondering what to expect during student-loan investigations can find clues in previous stock and mutual-fund scandals. The founders of a Harvard student group that promotes the practical benefits of avoiding sex until marriage look forward to living the message after graduation.

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