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Blog entries on '23 September 2005'

Friday 23 September 2005

Eagleton

Good news! The New Statesman magazine have asked me to review Terry Eagleton's latest book Holy Terror:


Rather than add to the mounting pile of political studies of terrorism, Terry Eagleton offers here a metaphysics of terror with a serious historical perspective. Writing with remarkable clarity and persuasive insight he examines a concept whose cultural impact predates 9/11 by millennia. From its earliest manifestations in rite and ritual, through the French Revolution to the 'War on Terror' of today, terror has been regarded with both horror and fascination. Eagleton examines the duality of the sacred (both life-giving and death-dealing) and relates it, via current and past ideas of freedom, to the idea of terror itself.


Also, just out from Verso, is the paperback of Eagleton's Figures of Dissent: Critical Essays on Fish, Spivak, Zizek and Others (a "collection of more than a decade of ... bracing criticism, Eagleton comes face to face with Stanley Fish, Gayatri Spivak, Slavoj Zizek, Edward Said, and even David Beckham.")

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Friday 23 September 2005

Twelve best popular science books

My dear friend Stuart sent me a list, a wee while ago now, of what he reckons to be the twelve best popular science books. It's a fascinating list:

  • The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
  • Africa Exodus by Chris Stringer
  • Blood Relations by Chris Knight
  • Man, Beast and Zombie by Kenan Malik
  • Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
  • The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker
  • Darwin's Dangerous Idea or Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett
  • Origins of Humankind by Richard Leaky
  • Prehistory of the Mind by Steven Mithen
  • Conjectures and Refutations by Karl Popper
  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
  • Isaac Newton by James Gleick

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Friday 23 September 2005

Appelfeld

The Complete-Review takes a look at The Story of a Life by Aharon Appelfeld, saying:


It is a short book, with much detail that might be of more obvious interest going unmentioned, and yet one gets a good sense of the man [...] Coming to Israel he learned Hebrew, but it was a struggle, the language not coming easily to him. Eventually he would write his books in Hebrew; part of their power certainly lies in that awareness of it not being his natural tongue, but one acquired relatiely late in life, a necessary replacement for the languages of his childhood.


See also Steve's review of Appelfeld's A Table for One. And also worth noting is that just out from Penguin Classics is Appelfeld's Badenheim, 1939.


In 1982, Appelefeld was interviewed by the Boston Review. Responding to the question, "At this time, age 13, what was your sense of self?" he replied:


Very disoriented. Deeply disoriented. I’d never attended school in my life, just the first grade which I’d started but not finished. Knowing a lot of languages, but really not rooted in a language. My home language was German, but I’d spoken many other languages, of course. My grandparents, they’d spoken Yiddish. The maids in my home were Ukrainian, so I spoke Ukrainian. The regime was Rumanian, so I picked up a bit of Rumanian. And then I was in Russia and picked up Russian, then Italy and picked up some Italian. So I came with a bunch of words, different languages–but still very deeply disoriented. It’s taken many years for me to get oriented–who I am, to whom I belong. This was a very deep effort.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Serendipoetry

Omens, after Alexander Pushkin

I rode to meet you: dreams
like living beings swarmed around me
and the moon on my right side
followed me, burning.

I rode back: everything changed.
My soul in love was sad
and the moon on my left side
trailed me without hope.

To such endless impressions
we poets give ourselves absolutely,
making, in silence, omen of mere event,
until the world reflects the deepest needs of the soul.

-- Louise Gluck
Averno (Carcanet Press)

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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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