From CRB, a review of The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature by Elizabeth Kantor; a review of American Speeches: Political Oratory from the Revolution to the Civil War and American Speeches: Political Oratory from Abraham Lincoln to Bill Clinton; and a review of Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words by Douglas L. Wilson and The Gettysburg Gospel: The Speech that Nobody Knows by Gabor Boritt. The Bible's literary sins: Whether its central character exists or not is beside the point - the Christian scriptures are a barely readable mess. My Yiddishe Bookshelf: A secular revival of Yiddish allows non-Orthodox Jews to express their identity without becoming entangled in the politics of the Middle East.
Hamlet.doc? Shakespeare didn't have a word processor, but almost all writers today do. Scholars must play a major role in deciding how to preserve and study the various electronic versions of literary works. Haven't you ever wondered how someone like Joyce Carol Oates churned out all those novels, stories, poems, plays—even boxing essays? It's unnatural. "Writer's little helpers" transformed a modestly productive academic into a terrifyingly prolific human writing machine. What do reviewers mean when they talk about a “good” or “bad” translation? English still rules Indian literature: The language of the former colonial masters continues to dominate India's written culture - but Nehru's dream of an independent literature remains alive. Frida Kahlo's last secret finally revealed: The artist's confessions to her doctor were locked up for 50 years. Now the details of her misery at not being able to bear children have been exposed.
A new direction: Do the recent deaths of four icons of 20th-century art-house cinema spell the end of the auteur? Of course not. Control freak: A review of Not Remotely Controlled: Notes on Television by Lee Siegel (and more). Brain that Tune: A review of This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel Levitin and The Pleasure of the Text by Roland Barthes. Scaling the heights: Venezuela's pioneering classical music programme for children has produced world-class artists such as the young conductor Gustavo Dudamel. It has also quietly transformed the social fabric of the country. Elvis Presley’s music had stood for the breakdown of barriers, both musical and racial. This is not how it is always perceived 30 years after his death.
From Japan Focus, an article on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Toward a regional and global realignment? China's communism, which features a competitive exchange rate to create jobs for the masses, and its capitalism, which is aimed at getting a better return on state money, are fusing into one. The Forbidden City of Terry Gou: His complex in China turns out iPhones and PCs, powering the biggest exporter you've never heard of. A review of Vishnu's Crowded Temple by Maria Misra. Two books on the history of Russian philosophy and the treatment of its intellectuals provide chilling context for developments in the Vladimir Putin era, writes Carlin Romano.
Liberalism, Democracy, and the Jewish State: A review of Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine by Joel Kovel; A Stranger in the Land: Jewish Identity Beyond Nationalism by Daniel Cil Brecher; Walled: Israeli Society at an Impasse by Sylvain Cypel; and Will Israel Survive? by Mitchell G. Bard. The Hamas Dilemma: With all eyes focused on Palestine, will the Islamic Resistance Movement choose violence and ideology or pragmatic rule? An article on how a "Good War" in Afghanistan went bad. Universities flourish in Kurdistan Campuses are packed with students in a region largely untouched by war. David Gardner on America’s illusory strategy in Iraq.
From City Journal, a review of The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics by Matt Bai (and more). What do the Democratic presidential candidates talk about when they talk about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues? Partners and power: How far can a “two-for-one” candidacy go? Hillary as right's choice? Clinton's free-trade economics and posturing on security could endear her to conservatives unimpressed by the GOP field. From The New Yorker, sparring partners: Hendrik Hertzberg on Obama vs. Clinton; Jeffrey Toobin on The Shrum Curse; and Mayberry Man: Is what New York never liked about Rudy Giuliani exactly what the heartland loves? From Portfolio, Please, Not Another M.B.A. President: Mitt Romney has private equity cred, but that might not be so useful in the White House.
From The American Interest, Walter Russell Mead on Faith and Progress: The history of the world has been shaped decisively by the exploits of English-speaking people. Anglo-American freedoms, which are the very sources of worldly success, are rooted in religious faith. The Word according to Dubya: George W. Bush talks to God but he also talks about God. Here are his top 50 quotes about religion, the Almighty, and putting words into God's mouth. The concept of treason, which only a few years ago might have seemed archaic and even ridiculous, is back with us. From SleptOn, an article on the threat of U.S. fascism: A historical precedent. A video surfaces of Dick Cheney, in 1994, warning that an invasion of Iraq would lead to a "quagmire". Henry Farrell on conservative debates over the Iraq war and before.
From Financial Times, a review of The End of Government ... As We Know It: Making Public Policy Work by Elaine C. Kamarck and Instruction to Deliver: Tony Blair, Public Services and the Challenge of Achieving Targets by Michael Barber; and improving infrastructure is hard without raising taxes. But how does one rebuild America’s public spaces without violating people’s reluctance to spend money? The first chapter from Digital Government: Technology and Public Sector Performance by Darrell M. West. Cog or Co-worker? The organization man isn't extinct or even endangered—but the role has been refined over the past 100 years. From Time, a look at the Worst Jobs in America.
From American Scientist, a review of Aldo Leopold's Odyssey: Rediscovering the Author of A Sand County Almanac by Julianne Lutz Newton; and a review of The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and the Rise of the Environmental Movement by Mark Hamilton Lytle, and Courage for the Earth: Writers, Scientists, and Activists Celebrate the Life and Writing of Rachel Carson. From the Indian Journal of Political Science, an essay on Ecopolitics and Ideology: Relocating Green Themes in Modern Ideological Thinking. Plastic bags are killing us: The most ubiquitous consumer item on Earth, the lowly plastic bag is an environmental scourge like none other, sapping the life out of our oceans and thwarting our attempts to recycle it.
T.J. Donahue (Johns Hopkins): Political Principles: Why Normative Political Theories Depend on Ethics (the introduction to a dissertation, and more). William A. Edmundson (Georgia State): Morality Without Responsibility. Thom Brooks (Newcastle): Hegel's Critique of Kantian Morality. From PhaenEx, Bela Egyed (Concordia): Spinoza, Schopenhauer and the Standpoint of Affirmation; David A. Duquette (St. Norbert): The Unity and Difference of the Speculative and the Historical in Hegel's Concept of Geist; Richard Matthews (Mount Allison): The Limits of Transcendence; Farhang Erfani (American): Something New Under the Sun: Levinas and the Ethics of Political Imagination; and Benedict O'Donohoe (Sussex): L'Étranger and the Messianic Myth, or Meursault Unmasked.
From American Scientist, a review of From Clockwork to Crapshoot: A History of Physics by Roger G. Newton; a review of Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, and the Struggle for the Soul of Science by David Lindley and Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics by Gino Segre (and more); and a review of Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. Science or Folktale? Current cosmological theory rests on a disturbingly small number of independent observations. Are planetary systems filled to capacity? Computer simulations suggest that the answer may be yes. But observations of extrasolar systems will provide the ultimate test.
From Inside Higher Ed, 4 months of holidays? Not quite! Celeste Brotheridge and Raymond Lee are tired of non-academics who think professors live a life of leisure in the summer. The Numbers Guy on the science of the sophomore: Too many studies use college students as their guinea pigs. Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics, has reached a settlement with the economist John Lott, who had brought a defamation lawsuit against him. From The Chronicle, Walden on the Blue Ridge: An English professor and his students seek their inner Thoreau; and in Romance in the Ivory Tower: The Rights and Liberty of Conscience, Paul Abramson argues that the Constitution protects professor-student love.