This week is Fall Fiction Week at Slate, which includes Paradise Lost: Cees Nooteboom takes on our jet-fueled millennium; Is It a Chamber Pot? Nope! Joshua Green on a century-old literary mystery, solved; The Invisible Lesbian: Sarah Schulman on challenging the myth of merit-based publishing; "I was Gordon Lish's Editor: Not that he let me do any editing"; When Poetry Meets Politics: Nathan Heller on Robert Hass' poetic journey; and No Second Chances: Emily Johnston on the bracing vision of William Trevor. From TLS, a new term for French literature: Five recent novels show that contemporary French fiction is self-reflexive, steeped in Paris – and in good hands. Has Her Majesty read any good books lately? A review of The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. From Political Affairs, an essay on Marxism, language, and the Laureate who wasn't: Doris Lessing says "Communism debased language" (and more). From Eurozine, Zinovy Zinik traces the history of the shadow as metaphor for exile through Evgeni Shwartz's play "The Shadow" back to earlier fables by Hans Christian Andersen and Adelbert von Chamisso. From California Literary Review, a brief account of the decay of selfdom: The question of meaning has been asked, and the new millennium must abide its answer. An article on Edgar Allan Poe and the publicity hounds of Hell. X-X-excesses: A review of Harold Robbins: the Man Who Invented Sex by Andrew Wilson.
From TLS, an article on Wordsworth's hidden arguments: From egotism to epic, how the poet's inspired "breathings" contain the world that surrounds him; and a review of Eighteenth-Century Coffee-House Culture. Conversation Starter: Out of the dregs of the seventeenth-century French culture, Mme de Rambouillet, the bride of a mediocre Marquis, invented the unlikely prototype of the literary saloon. What's all this debate for anyway? Plato, Rousseau, Mill, Arendt and Habermas debate. From The New York Observer, Philip Gourevitch is young, attractive, socially ambitious and successful. And it’s his job to make George Plimpton’s Paris Review remarkable again in an era that no longer produces George Plimptons. Slate is set to launch a business site. Is hideous blather, page after page of it, any way to celebrate the 150th birthday of the Atlantic Monthly, one of the best magazines ever published in this great land of ours? Josh Levin on what's wrong with Sports Illustrated and how to fix it. The Washington Times is looking for a new executive editor, and the job description seems to call for someone with almost superhuman qualities. The introduction to Liberty and the News by Walter Lippmann.
From Skeptic, aping language: A skeptical analysis of the evidence for nonhuman primate language. A look at how humans and monkeys share Machiavellian intelligence. Researchers find earliest evidence for modern human behavior in South Africa. A look at how ancient African megadroughts may have driven human evolution — out of Africa. Researchers posit new ideas about human migration from Asia to Americas. Evolutionary sprint made us human: Genes come and go much faster in humans than in other mammals. Samuel Bowles and Jung-Kyoo Choi suggest that the altruistic and warlike aspects of human nature may have a common origin. A review of Marc D. Hauser's Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong. From TNR, a review of Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness by Lee Alan Dugatkin. A review of Double-Effect Reasoning: Doing Good and Avoiding Evil by T. A. Cavanaugh. A review of Working Virtue: Virtue Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems. The first chapter from Confucian Political Ethics. A review of Ethics and the History of Indian Philosophy by Shyam Ranganathan.
Robert Prus (Waterloo): Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: Laying the Foundations for a Pragmatist Consideration of Human Knowing and Acting. The introduction to Michel de Montaigne: Accidental Philosopher by Ann Hartle. The introduction to The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes's Leviathan. A review of The Cambridge Companion to Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding". A review of Feminist Interpretations of John Locke. A review of The Cambridge Companion to Berkeley by Kenneth P. Winkler. From Florida Philosophical Review, Jill Hernandez (SFASU): On Asymmetry in Kant's Doctrine of Moral Worth; Martin A. Bertman (Helsinki): Kant contra Herder: Almost against Nature; and Nathan Andersen (Eckerd): Hegel on Community and Conflict. The introduction to The Young Karl Marx: German Philosophy, Modern Politics, and Human Flourishing by David Leopold. Ed Cameron (Panam): The Ethical Paradox in Kierkegaard’s Concept of Anxiety. From Philosophers' Imprint, Brian Leiter (UT-Austin): Nietzsche's Theory of the Will; and Robert Shaver (Manitoba): Sidgwick on Moral Motivation. Timothy Fuller (CC): The Tension of the Perennial, Traditional and Historical in John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty. A review of J. S. Mill's Political Thought: A Bicentennial Reassessment. From Action Philosophers!, a preview of You're a Good Man, John Stuart Mill!
From Plus, Marianne Freiberger on understanding uncertainty and evolutionary maths and quantum geometry; Chris Sangwin on arithmetic, bones and counting; Caroline Series and David Wright on non-Euclidean geometry and Indra's pearls; a review of Nonplussed! Mathematical proof of implausible ideas by Julian Havil; a review of The Art of Mathematics: Coffee time in Memphis by Bela Bollobas; a review of Mathematics and Common Sense: A Case of Creative Tension by Philip J. Davis; and a review of A Beautiful Math: John Nash, Game Theory, and the Modern Quest for a Code of Nature by Tom Siegfried.
From Fast Capitalism, a special issue on Virginia Tech, including Timothy W. Luke (VT): To: Multiple Recipients: "There is a Gunman on Campus"; Stephen Pfohl (BC): A Hokies' Lament: American Social Psychosis and the Virginia Tech Killings; Douglas Kellner (UCLA): Media Spectacle and the "Massacre at Virginia Tech"; Charles Lemert (Wesleyan): Baudrillard (1929-2007) & Mao: The History of Normal Violence; Ben Agger (Arlington): Cho, Not Che?: Positioning Blacksburg in the Political. From The Objective Standard, Lisa VanDamme on The False Promise of Classical Education. The president of Iran isn’t the only Holocaust denier to win a platform on an American college campus, with the BNP's Nick Griffin being invited to Michigan State. Oral Roberts to the rescue? With his school, and son, mired in scandal, the retired televangelist returns—he already may be too late. Look who's bitching at CUNY: An ad campaign promoting CUNY's renaissance has not sat well with everyone at the school. Skybox U.: Why schools pour millions into football programs is a question for academics and arms-race theorists. The real student debt problem: Bush's signature on the College Cost Reduction Act was a victory for student aid reform advocates. But we still need to look at how aid is distributed at the state and institutional level.
From Prospect, for more than a century, Americans have seen Britain as tired and broken. But some of them now think that the old dynamism and iconoclasm has returned. If Britain really is back, it will be another test for the special relationship. A review of Old World, New World: The Story of Britain and America by Kathleen Burk (and more and more). Although Britain’s capital is now a residence of choice for the savvy global billionaire because of its light tax regime and proximity to Europe, its real wealth lies in its less well-known multimillionaires. Will hunters ever pack it in? A review of Blood Sport: Hunting in Britain Since 1066 by Emma Griffin. The Welsh language is steeped in culture and tradition stretching back to the sixth century, but the battle for its continued existence is raging. Wales has been enjoying a revival of its native tongue, driven chiefly by those in rural areas, but some fear it could foster division and resentment. A review of How the Irish Invented Slang: The Secret Language of the Crossroads by Daniel Cassidy.
From Monthly Review, an article on the ninetieth anniversary of the Russian Revolution: Why socialism did not fail. Good comrades: Stefan Klemp investigates the role of the German postwar criminal justice system in aiding the perpetrators of the Rechnitz massacre. A review of Marxism, Multiculturalism, and Free Speech by Frank Ellis. From Mother Jones, Workers of the World Unite: Unions are going global, so your job doesn't have to; and an article on the 50 year strategy: A new progressive era (no, really!). Is a new conservatism possible? The right is in serious trouble — and not just because of Bush's disastrous presidency. But will it be able to change its reactionary ways? Conservatism's buzz-kill: In theory, Americans like limited government; in practice, they're loath to roll back programs that benefit them. A review of The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization by Diana West. From Taki's Top Drawer, an article on the wrongs of "rights", and a look at the silence of Father Neuhaus.
From Newsweek, Gangland USA: An interactive map of America's most dangerous gangs. Teenage Wasteland: A night in a police cruiser in a typical American college town reveals the cumulative effects of suburban boredom. From New Politics, Betty Reid Mandell on Homeless Shelters: A Feeble Response to Homelessness. An ounce of prevention: A social program that works, but where's the funding? Barry Schwartz on Bonus Babies: The more society embraces the idea that nobody will do anything right unless it pays, the more true it will become that nobody does anything right unless it pays. Jonathan Chait on how entitlement hysteria has gripped the capital. From National Civic Review, Michael Hamill Remaley and Patty Dineen on constructing a modern democracy one forum at a time; and is everything up to date in Kansas City? Matt Leighninger on why "citizen involvement" may soon be obsolete. A push for plain English: Gobbledygook—it's the stuff of government, maybe its No. 1 export.
From The Nation, a review of Cion and Ways of Dying by Zakes Mda. A review of Other Colours (and more and more), and an interview with Orhan Pamuk: "The art of the novel is anti-political". Reluctant rebel: Orhan Pamuk was tried for his political views, but as Andrew Purcell discovers, literature is his one true passion. Turning novel ideas into inhabitable worlds: Orhan Pamuk, honored by Georgetown, speaks of a power inherent on the page. Has materialism conquered all? An interview with Nadine Gordimer. Let them eat Kafka: Chilean president Michelle Bachelet enlists the literary critics and spreads the literary word.