From Host, the notion of the canon in Czech literary studies is being challenged by a relativist, postmodern approach to history. Its proponents claim this constitutes a revolution, though literary critic Pavel Janousek is sceptical. Established schemas are predominantly an illusion. From TLS, a review of The Same Solitude: Boris Pasternak and Marina Tsvetaeva by Catherine Ciepiela. Authors in couples make for unhappy endings: Writers are often drawn to each other romantically, but very often a sorry tale ensues. A review of Mrs Woolf and the Servants: the Hidden Heart of Domestic Service by Alison Light.
From Harper's, European conservatism is an important, even compelling, intellectual tradition. But also a problematic one. And a poem by German Romanticist Clemens Brentano demonstrates its promise and its problems in an unusual way. The land that gave the world Robert Burns also has the dubious honor of producing the "world's worst poet". Now fans of the hapless William McGonagall are campaigning to put him in the pantheon of Scottish literary greats.
A review of The Medieval World of Isidore de Seville: Truth from Words by John Henderson and The Etymologies of Isidore de Seville by Stephen A. Barney et al. A review of Nature, Culture, and the Origins of Greek Comedy: A Study of Animal Choruses by Kenneth S. Rothwell, Jr. A review of Vase Painting, Gender, and Social Identity in Archaic Athens by Mark D. Stansbury-O'Donnell.
Jerome Weeks on a book all critics should own, Gail Pool's Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America. Books should not be marketing tools: When books rather than press releases start issuing from multinational firms, it's time to put on the brakes. The vanished age of editorial indulgence: Publishers used to stand by their authors. These days authors need to stand by each other. The Indie Files: How Chicago Underground Library catalogues a cultural moment. The university town of literary lives: North America has many attractions for the visiting bibliophile, but none so densely packed as in OxfordCharles Simic is the new Poet Laureate of the United States. But what kind of Poet Laureate will Simic be? (and more)
From PINR, an article on how India's interests are at stake in its relationship with China. A review of The Elephant and the Dragon The Rise of India and China, and What It Means for All of Us by Robyn Meredith. A review of The Dragon and the Elephant: China, India and the World Order by David Smith. Possessing two of the fastest growing economies in the world, India and China have long cast wary eyes at one another, especially over disputed border territories. The recent upsurge in military exchanges and cooperation between China and India has focused on two contentious issues: counter-terrorism and joint military exercises. From Asia Times, an article on India's quiet sea power and an interview with Andrew Field on China's primal scream.
From FrontPage, an interview with Ami Gluska, author of The Israeli Military and the Origins of the 1967 War: Government, Armed Forces and Defence Policy 1963-67; and an interview with Mitchell Bard, author of Will Israel Survive? A review of Lawrence and Aaronsohn: T.E. Lawrence, Aaron Aaronsohn, and the Seeds of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Ronald Florence. A review of The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In by Hugh Kennedy.
From Cafe Babel, Switzerland: Very rich, yes, very neutral, but... too isolated? On 1 August Switzerland celebrated its national holiday, but still isn't any closer to joining the EU, whose policy it is often subject to but cannot influence. Of finance and philosophy: France's finance minister has asked her countrymen to stop philosophising and start working. But she doesn't realise how lucrative thinking can be. A look at how rightwing Nicolas Sarzoky is pursuing a political strategy learned from Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. Squaring the circle is a proverbial way of describing something impossible. Jacques-Guillaume Thouret set himself an even more daunting task: squaring the hexagône.
From The Nation, we need a law to define and limit the President's claim of executive privilege, and should set a process for Congress to overcome it. Challenging the GOP's Filibluster: The Senate Democrats' strategy in dealing with Republican obstruction hasn't worked so far. Here's what they should do instead. Russ Feingold is not from the real world: The maverick senator, subject of a new biography, is the latest embodiment of a long and unique Wisconsin tradition. From Brainwash, an interview with Mike Gravel, Liberaltarian? That Old-Time Religion: John Derbyshire on the Ron Paul temptation. A review of No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner by Robert Shrum.
From Catalyst, a review of Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben and Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons by Peter Barnes. More on Alan Weisman's book The World Without Us. Nuke Power is Earth's Friend: It’s time to replace coal power with wind and, yes, nuclear. A Cure for Oil Addicts: Amory Lovins tells how we can leave the age of gas pumps profitably and painlessly. A public university sociology department has recently announced the discovery of the most toxic element yet known to social science: Capitalisium.
From Writ, when Vermont's, San Francisco's, and other cities' and towns' constituents call for impeachment of the president and vice-president, must their federal representatives listen? An essay on the ethics of Representative-Constituent relations. Power to the People: A look at the Democracy Foundation's plan to create a fourth branch of government. Originalist Sins: The faux originalism of Justice Clarence Thomas.
From The New Yorker, an unsolved killing: Jeffrey Toobin on the murder of Tom Wales, Assistant US Attorney. A study finds blacks who kill whites are most likely to be executed. A review of The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in Small Town by John Grisham. The Drug War’s Collateral Damage: Those victimized by a crackdown on marijuana since the early ’90s can be denied everything from food stamps to voting rights to the right to adopt a child.
From Bitch, a review of Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block. Premature Education? Why Barack Obama’s sex ed policy makes sense. An article on contraception as The Unspoken Campaign Issue. Barbara Ehrenreich on Opportunities in Abstinence Training: Chastity advocates, lay off the adolescents and concentrate on the vast numbers of middle-aged and elderly who aren't getting any. Make them feel good about their lifestyle choice! An interview with Jacqueline Taylor, author of Waiting for the Call: From Preacher's Daughter to Lesbian Mom. Straights go gay: Legalisation of gay sex has changed what it means to be straight. My trans mission: Sex-change surgery is the modern equivalent of aversion therapy for homosexuals. Dirty politics: Has the Right Wing hijacked raunch?
Joseph Raz (Oxford): Reasons: Explanatory and Normative. Daniel Kahneman (Princeton) and and Cass Sunstein (Chicago): Indignation: Psychology, Politics, Law. From PS: Political Science and Politics, Hugh McIntosh, Daniel Hart (Rutgers), and James Youniss (CUA): The Influence of Family Political Discussion on Youth Civic Development: Which Parent Qualities Matter?
Joseph A. Pull (Yale): Questioning the Fundamental Right to Marry; Andrew Blair-Stanek (Yale); Defaults and Choices in the Marriage Contract; Goutam U. Jois (Harvard): Marital Status as Property: Toward a New Jurisprudence for Gay Rights; Gary J. Simson (Cornell): Beyond Interstate Recognition in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate; Sanford N Katz (BC): New Directions for Family Law in the United States.
A review of The Legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman Coins by Karsten Dahmen. An excerpt from Death in Ancient Rome by Catharine Edwards. A review of The Freedman in Roman Art and Art History by Lauren Hackworth Petersen. A review of Hadrian's Wall and its People by Geraint Osborn. A review of City Government in Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor by Sviatoslav Dmitriev. A review of Economy and Society in the Age of Justinian by Peter Sarris.
From The New York Observer, can’t we all just get along? Judith Rodin transformed the relationship between the University of Pennsylvania and its Philadelphia neighborhood. What can she teach Lee Bollinger about Columbia and Harlem? Ward of the State: Why the state of Colorado was right to sack Ward Churchill. Testing Tenure: Is tenure justified? Michael Shermer investigates. Who’s a nerd, anyway? Someone very, very white, for one thing. From PopMatters, The Campus Beat: The tug of war continues over students’ free speech and press rights. A review of April 16th: Virginia Tech Remembers and Sugarcane Academy: How A New Orleans Teacher And His Storm-Struck Students Created A School To Remember by Michael Tisserand. A review of Parts per Million: The Poisoning of Beverly Hills High School by Joy Horowitz.