From Harvard Magazine, Stephen Greenblatt on Writing as Performance: Revealing "the calculation that underlies the appearance of effortlessness". A review of This Wide and Universal Theater: Shakespeare and Performance Then and Now by David Bevington. A review of Becoming Shakespeare: The Unlikely Afterlife That Turned a Provincial Playwright Into the Bard by Jack Lynch (and more). Fun with the posthumous reputation of Ann Hathaway: A review of Shakespeare's Wife by Germaine Greer (and more and more and more and more and more and more). This mire of maybes tells us nothing about Shakespeare's true love: Try to prove an unprovable biographical theory and you end up spouting nonsense. A Space for Us: In literary MySpace, Shakespeare and Ovid mingle with authors masquerading as their characters.
From Columbia Journalism Review, Goodbye to All That: The decline of the coverage of books isn’t new, benign, or necessary. How did we miss these? Far from the fame and glamour of the Booker and bestsellers is a forgotten world of literary treasures - brilliant but underrated novels that deserve a second chance to shine. 50 celebrated writers nominate their favourites (and part 2). Live first, write later: Bookshops are littered with underdeveloped work by young authors. It takes a mature novelist to write a masterpiece. Reclusive writers, a small but mythically resonant category made up mostly of successful, staggeringly prestigious figures whose refusal to play the publicity game, or to appear to swim in the same water as their readers, can signify everything — or nothing at all. Authors should be seen and not heard: Book readings are all part of a writer's promotional duties - so why are the majority so bad at it?
Would Orwell have been a blogger? The great essayist would be appalled by the writing, but applaud the democracy of the web. Can Wikipedia handle politics? A close reading of how it plays the Plame Game. From Literary Review of Canada, The Rise of the Pyjamahadeen: A review of Blogosphere: The New Political Arena by Michael Keren; and The Trial Coverage on Trial: Between the fawners and the tricoteuses, journalism is found guilty. Bat Boy Collapses in Checkout Lane! It’s probably safe to say that no other newspaper in the annals of journalism scored as many shocking scoops as The Weekly World News.
Why the enigmatic Japanese do what they do: A review of Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose by Kenneth B. Pyle. The Rogue That Plays by the Rules: The question is not what's wrong with the Chinese system, but how does it keeps it making progress? China's threat to Russia: Vladimir Putin is worrying too much about relations with the west; he should watch his back in the east. Joschka Fischer on Confronting Russia: Russia is reasserting itself and Europe must remain focused in order to prevent it from pursuing dangerous options. Vladimir the Great? Putin's inspiration is much older than the Cold War. Britain's role in the new cold war: For years the Soviet Union and the US managed an uneasy balance of power. Now Russia is challenging Bush's dreams of full spectrum dominance. And, as the rhetoric heats up, a corner of Yorkshire finds itself on the front line.
Up close and personal: Does our insatiable appetite for books on politicians’ private lives help us understand politics? A review of The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell Diaries by Alastair Campbell and The Darlings of Downing Street: The Psychosexual Drama of Power by Garry O’Connor. A review of Them and Us: The American Invasion of British High Society by Charles Jennings and Americans and Europeans: Dancing in the Dark: On Our Differences and Affinities, Our Interests, and Our Habits of Life by Dennis L. Bark. A review of The Hubris Syndrome: Bush, Blair and the Intoxication of Power by David Owen. The Madness of "King" George: If the President is allowed to invoke the divine right of kings, the American Revolution will have come full circle.
Robert Draper's Dead Certain: The Presidency of George Bush tells of dissent in Bush's inner circle and on Bush peeking ahead to his legacy. Does psychology explain why some voters continue to back Bush? Robert Brent Toplin investigates. A review of Cheney: The Untold Story of America’s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President by Stephen F. Hayes. The elephant in the room: One day, he speaks out against gay issues. The next, he's caught asking for sex in a public men's washroom. He's one of several Republicans whose dubious thought processes lead to an obvious question: Hypocrisy, anyone? (and more) Oh, Everyone Knows That (Except You): The “open secret” lives in a netherworld, until one day it doesn’t. What road does it travel into daylight? The real hypocrisy of Idaho's conservatives: It's on display not in Larry Craig's complicated sexuality, but in some appalling comments made by the man who may succeed him.
From Anarchy, an article on Proudhon's Ghost: Petit-bourgeois anarchism, anarchist businesses, and the politics of effectiveness. From Workers' Liberty, 1917 + 90: Leon Trotsky — Stalinism and Bolshevism. An excerpt from Marxism, History & Socialist Consciousness by David North. A review of Comrades! A World History of Communism, by Robert Service. From The Weekly Standard, The Horror! The Horror! The paranoid style of the American left. When the left wasn't right: A review of The Fall-Out: How a Guilty Liberal Lost His Innocence by Andrew Anthony. A review of Camelot and the Cultural Revolution by James Piereson.
Is neoconservatism dead? The Bush administration may be in a tail-spin but neo-conservatism will survive because it feeds on deeply-rooted fears. The Paul Wolfowitz of the '60s: Today's neocons echo Walt Rostow, the ideologue who helped push the U.S. into an ill-fated war. A review of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy by John J Mearsheimer and Stephen M Walt. A review of Jews and Power by Ruth R. Wisse (and more from Commentary). The objective anti-Semites: Robin Shepherd is not the first person to try and define the world's oldest hatred, but he is perhaps one of the most unlikely. From Zeek, We Ourselves are to Blame: An article on Hannah Arendt’s Jewish writings. From Forward, the genocide collisions of August should make us re-examine the moral principles we have created for ourselves in the wake of the Holocaust, and consider whether they reflect the realities of today’s cold, hard world.
From Time, Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith: Her secret letters show that she spent almost 50 years without sensing the presence of God in her life. What does her experience teach us about the value of doubt? Did Mother Teresa believe in God? Christopher Hitchens, the nun's leading critic, argues that her crisis of faith—revealed in newly published letters—was brought on by the crushing unreasonableness of the Roman Catholic Church. The introduction to Vatican II: A Sociological Analysis of Religious Change by Melissa J. Wilde. Christ comes back to the market: A new mall-based house of worship suggests a church moving with the times. A review of Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading and The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way by Eugene Peterson.
A review of Towards the Light: The Story of the Struggles for Liberty and Rights That Made the Modern West by AC Grayling. The glory of the West is that life is an open book: One of the strangest of recent movements in the world of education has been that promoting "multiculturalism" and attacking the traditional humanities for their "ethnocentricity". The great persuader: Eric Hobsbawm's essays on today's politics are unconventional and astringent. Hardly surprising for a world-famous historian whose communism provoked decades of controversy. A review of Sacred Causes: The Clash of Religion and Politics, From the Great War to the War on Terror By Michael Burleigh. From Telos, notes on an international conference on the nature and evolution of "European political thought after 1989 between globalization and new humanism".
An excerpt from Making Harvard Modern: The Rise of America's University by Morton Keller and Phyllis Keller. A review of Education's End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life by Anthony T. Kronman. A review of God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America by Hanna Rosin. An interview with David Dockery, author of Renewing Minds: Serving Church and Society through Christian Higher Education. Inspired by Aquinas: Like many academics, Christopher Wolfe has lots of ideas about what the ideal university should be. Unlike all but a handful, though, he’s decided to take action in a big way, by creating a new institution. Dinesh D’Souza says Boston College is withholding videotape of a debate on the book he conducted there with the scholar Alan Wolfe — because it shows that the college’s "intellectual emperor has no clothes". The ugly side of student politics: How one university's council collapsed into chaos, corruption and threatened lawsuits.
Edward J. Eberle (RWU): Religion and State in the Classroom: Germany and the United States. A review of Tested: One American School Struggles to Make the Grade by Linda Perlstein; Letters to a Young Teacher by Jonathan Kozol; The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle by Dan Brown; and A Class Apart by Alec Klein. From Mclean's, fact check: Do boys really learn better from female teachers?; and a growing body of evidence suggests grades don't predict success — C+ students are the ones who end up running the world. The Numbers Guy takes a closer look at SAT score declines. Art for our sake: School arts classes matter more than ever, but not for the reasons you think.