From the Asia-Pacific Journal, Tawada Yoko on The Letter as Literature's Political and Poetic Body. From n+1, perhaps Hamsun's Street in Norway should include a sign that says, "Knut Hamsun: Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1920. Traitor to his Nation, 1940-1945". From TLS, a review of The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction by John Sutherland; and was Arnold Bennett a modernist? The novelist is out of fashion — yet his interests and his late experiments belie his reputation. From The Nation, a review of Between Fire and Sleep: Essays on Modern Polish Poetry and Prose by Jaroslaw Anders. Tractatus Franco-Arabicus: Reading Sonallah Ibrahim's last two books, Youssef Rakha suggests an early Wittgenstein-style formulation of the kind of literary problem Bonaparte's Campaign to Egypt might present. A series of fables about Anastasia, a young beauty who dwells in the forest, has sold 11 million copies in Russia and has inspired thousands to live an eco-friendly life. From The Walrus, Jack Kerouac, Quebecois: The Americas Society divvies up a literary icon (and more on Kerouac by David Ulin at Bookforum). Germany's current bestseller list is dominated by international crime fiction, from Simon Beckett to Stieg Larsson; why do German readers love their thrillers so much?
An excerpt from Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes by Tamim Ansary. Tales of Persia’s Wondrous Past: The Shahnameh mourns the loss of Iran’s pre-Islamic civilization and all that falls prey to time. Francis Fukuyama on Iran, Islam and the rule of law: Islamic political movements have been one form of revolt against arbitrary government. All (Muslim) politics is local: A review of Beyond Terror and Martyrdom: The Future of the Middle East by Gilles Kepel and The Crisis of Islamic Civilization by Ali Allawi. A review of The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: Militant Islam and Global Politics by Faisal Devji (and more at Bookforum). Mute Muslims: Why doesn't the Islamic world speak up about the Uighurs? A review of Islam and Violent Separatism. From WPR, is the long-predicted decline of political Islam about to occur? From The Economist, in an ideological contest between radicals, populists and moderates, speaking out can still carry a heavy personal cost; we should love heretics, not kill them, says unconventional scholar Abdullahi an-Na’im; and wanted: Islam’s Voltaire, where freedom is still at stake. The erasure of Islam: Ziauddin Sardar on the shadow cast over Islamic culture by the Enlightenment. A review of From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and Its Legacy by Kenan Malik.
Hsuan Hsu (UC-Davis) and Martha Lincoln (CUNY): Health Media and Global Inequalities. Der Spiegel goes inside a creepy global body parts business. From Harvard Magazine, a cover story on Atul Gawande, “slightly bewildered” surgeon and health-policy scholar — and a literary voice of medicine. No waiting: Here's a simple prescription that could dramatically improve hospitals — and American health care. From Slate, an article on the GOP's health care solution: It's Republicans, not Democrats, who are trying to kill the elderly; you thought the health care battle was ugly — just wait for the climate fight; and is TARP profitable? The filibuster begins: Gregory Koger on the fundamentals of filibustering — but is it constitutional, and well, how did we get here? A look at the rise of the 60-vote Senate. The case for busting the filibuster: It's time to abolish this undemocratic holdover from the days of slavery and segregation. A Clash of Camelots: Within months of J.F.K.’s death, the president’s widow asked William Manchester to write the authorized account of the assassination; Sam Kashner chronicles the toll the 1967 best-seller, The Death of a President, exacted before it all but disappeared. Torchlight Parades for the Television Age: David Greenberg on the presidential debates as political ritual.
Was Robert Capa's famous Civil War photo a fake? Even if he acted from the best of motives, what Capa did now seems indefensible (and more, and here's a history of photo fakery). William T. Vollmann on the ethics of photography. An article on Helen Levitt's idiosyncratic photographs. An article on Phil Stern, chronicler of cool. An interview with Howard Bingham on Black Panthers 1968. On a whim, a young couple went to the legendary rock festival Woodstock, only to be captured in a memorable image by Burk Uzzle (and more). A look at the spectacular financial collapse of Annie Leibovitz, one of the world’s most spectacular photographers. Photoshop is praised for making people look their best and dissed for setting the bar too high. Eirik Johnson's theatrical photographs of former boomtowns built on salmon and timber carry the sense of a way of life and work that is on the cusp of slipping away. Lazy journalists love pictures of abandoned stuff. The Impossible Project is trying to reinvent analogue instant film made so popular by Polaroid in the 1960s and 70s (and more). Just as vinyl records are making a comeback with hipsters everywhere, so too is analog photography. Here are 10 photography pet peeves to throw down a black hole.
Mikhail Valdman (VCU): A Theory of Wrongful Exploitation. From the Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy, Matthew Talbert (WVU): Implanted Desires, Self-Formation, and Blame. Jason Kawall (Colgate): In Defense of the Primacy of Virtues. Just desserts: Brad Hooker asks if the idea of desert belongs at the foundation of ethics. A review of What Is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being by Richard Kraut. A review of Freedom and Value: Freedom's Influence on Welfare and Worldly Value by Ishtiyaque Haji. A review of The Autonomy of Morality by Charles Larmore. A review of The Moral Skeptic by Anita M. Superson. Research suggests power tends to bend a person’s moral outlook, making one less likely to believe bending the rules is acceptable behavior. A review of The Undiscovered Dewey: Religion, Morality, and the Ethos of Democracy by Melvin Rogers. The study "There Must Be a Reason: Osama, Saddam and Inferred Justification" calls unsubstantiated beliefs "a serious challenge to democratic theory and practice". Is a smarter world a better world?: John Gray reviews The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen (and more and more). With a billion people living on less than $1 a day, is buying luxury shoes ethical? Eating meat isn't bad for the planet — it's our system of raising the animals that's wrong.
From THES, Matthew Reisz interviews George Scialabba, the Harvard provocateur with independent views who fears the death of the public intellectual. An age of illiteracy is at hand, right? Andrea Lunsford isn't so sure. A review of The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War by Alexander Waugh. Would liberals really be happier if Obama were more like LBJ? For Jacques Verges, no client is indefensible — but does his defence of a top Khmer Rouge leader undermine the principles he has spent his career proclaiming? More and more and more on Spent: Sex, Evolution and the Secrets of Consumerism by Geoffrey Miller. A review of Hunting Evil: the Nazi War Criminals Who Escaped and the Hunt to Bring Them to Justice by Guy Walters. A review of New Studies of Old Villains: A Radical Reconsideration of the Oedipus Complex by Paul Verhaeghe. A review of In Search of Civilization: Remaking a Tarnished Idea by John Armstrong (and more and more and more). A buyer’s guide to happiness: Money can improve your life, but not in the ways you think. Lies of Mass Destruction: The same skewed thinking that supports a Saddam-9/11 link explains the power of health-care myths (and more and more). Down with tHE CAPS LOCK KEy and other less-than-useless things.
Taking Liberties: Alex Ross on reviving the art of classical improvisation. Will improvisation trivialize classical music — or save it? A review of Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music by Amiri Baraka. A review of The Blue Moment: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue and the Remaking of Modern Music by Richard Williams (and more and more). Kind of Blue: Why the best-selling jazz album of all time is so great. Can jazz be saved? The audience for America’s great art form is withering away. A review of Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us About Suffering and Salvation by Stephen Nichols. Christine King, a lifelong Elvis devotee, takes us on an autobiographical journey signposted by the songs and life story of the rock'n'roll icon. Did Woodstock kill rock 'n' roll? Andy Battaglia on essential reading from future-shock music literature. A review of Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music by David Suisman. From PopMatters, a series on Casablanca Records. Sex in the USA: An article on male sexuality in Springsteen’s American Dream. Oliver Miller offers up a philosophical exploration of one-hit wonders. From Cracked, here's a history of rap music; and here are 7 songs from your grandpa's day that would make Eminem blush.
Europe’s rise owed much to exceptionally bellicose international politics, urban overcrowding, and frequent epidemics. In the vast graveyard that is Europe, there lies a sacred plot reserved for the Weimar Republic. The EU must not give succour to self-interested revisionists who equate Stalinism and Nazism to smear the left. A review of Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West by Christopher Caldwell (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more; and more at Bookforum). How has Muslim hysteria gone unchallenged? Pankaj Mishra on the "Eurabia-mongers". Parag Khanna has a vision of Europe in 2030: A Postmodern Middle Ages. A look at how EU member-states are rejecting integration just when sovereignty worldwide is entering a new period of relativity. From FT, how to make Europe’s military work — but a lack of ambition leaves Europe in the slow lane. Europe is tilting right as America goes left: An interview with political scientist David Cameron. For all their extra vacation days as compared with the US, workers in the EU are keeping pace — or better — in terms of productivity. Thomas Darnstadt on the future of European democracy.
From Vanity Fair, pioneering animal prints on everything from leather to lamé, then putting Lycra in jeans, Roberto Cavalli made fashion ferociously sexy and fun, both for his celebrity clients (Beyonce, Bono, the Beckhams, et al.) and for himself; and with the house of Lacroix filing for bankruptcy, and Yves Saint Laurent gone, some fear that haute couture is finished — but Paris’s fashion phoenix has survived world war, cultural revolution, and economic meltdown, reshaped to fit the times. Valerie Steiker reviews Shocking Life: The Autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli. A review of Glamour: A History by Stephen Gundle. Behind the gloss of Vogue: "The September Issue" is a revealing look at work, creativity and two strong women (and more and more). Lacoste of Living: After three-quarters of a century, a quintessential shirt picks up a lot of baggage — some good, some ironically so, all obsession-worthy. 50 years of pantyhose: Love them or hate them, the once-ubiquitous women’s accessory was a revolutionary invention that helped transform women’s fashion. The way world leaders dress — even when they are on vacation — does matter, and a politician's greatest holiday sartorial challenge is swimwear. Men’s trainers can be good, bad or decidedly ugly — sidestep the silly ones and hunt down some modern classics.
Philip Tetlock reviews The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing by Ian Bremmer and Preston Keat; The Predictioneer’s Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita; and The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman. An interview with John Riordan and Kristen Becker, authors of The Good Office: Green Design on the Cutting Edge. Triumph and tragedy: Sean Wilentz on the seesaw life of Edward M. Kennedy; and Harold Meyerson on the keeper of the liberal flame (and more and more and more; and more from The Daily Beast). The punch that took two lives: Nearly 17 years ago, Joe Donovan initiated a tragic chain of events with a brutish act of machismo — but should he be in jail for life? Micronations of the World: Explore these mock sovereign states fueled by local disputes, utopian idealism and the imaginations of a few eccentric individuals. High-tech, hard times fuel latest comeback: The yo-yo has had ups and downs, but it's far from end of its string. Is half a torture investigation better than none at all? Why economists love Meryl Streep: Her new film is sending cookware sales soaring, just as Mamma Mia! boosted Greece.