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)

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