Exploring Books Through Articles, Reviews, Announcements, & Lists 2021-2

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Exploring Books Through Articles, Reviews, Announcements, & Lists 2021-2

Editado: Jul 2, 2:31pm

New 2021 quarter, April-June. Adding some belated March (1st quarter) items in the earlier third.

NOTE: Now continued by a new thread for 3rd quarter: Exploring Books Through Articles, Reviews, Announcements, & Lists 2021-3.

Mar 31, 11:24pm

TLS April 2, 2021, no. 6157:

Language & Literature:

Craig Raine. Living Anna’s last hours: How Tolstoy prepares the way for his heroine’s suicide. (Essay)

Boris Fishman. Elevator pitches: George Saunders’s granular approach to criticism. Review of: George Saunders: A Swim in the Pond in the Rain: (In which four Russians give a master class on reading, writing and life)

Miranda France. Civilize your troglodyte: An old-fashioned defence of women. Review of: Isabel Allende: The Soul of a Woman.

Michael Lapointe. Attitude intact: On the road with Rachel Kushner. (Essay)

Claire Harman. Notes from Neverland to Treasure Island: The correspondence of Robert Louis Stevenson and J. M. Barrie. Review of: Michael Shaw, editor: A Friendship in Letters: Robert Louis Stevenson and J. M. Barrie.

Nicholas Murray. Can we be clear?: On plain speech and good writing. (Essay)

David Coward. The avid biter bit: How Sade was outraged by Italian debauchery. Review of: Marquis de Sade, Translated, introduced and annotated by James A. Steintrager: Journey to Italy.

In Brief Review of: Alice Leonard: Error in Shakespeare

In Brief Review of: Federico Botana: Learning Through Images in the Italian Renaissance: Illustrated manuscripts and education in quattrocento Florence.


Yoojin Grace Wuertz. Found in translation: Family, immigration and an American Dream, rendered with dignity and detail. Review of the motion picture Minari.

Eric Bulson. Hell is money: A cartoonist with a social conscience. Review of: Art Young: Art Young's Inferno (Original Art Edition)

Philosophy and Theology:

Henri Estier. Pessimism of the will: Schopenhauer gave Houellebecq unexpected joy and sorrow. Review of: Michel Houellebecq, translated by Andrew Brown: In the Presence of Schopenhauer.

Bernice Martin. The poetry in the poem: The power of imagination in Christian belief. Review of: Timothy Radcliffe: Alive in God: A Christian Imagination and Mark Vernon: A Secret History of Christianity: Jesus, the last Inkling, and the evolution of consciousness.

Lisa Sowie Cahill. A secular gospel: The difficulties of taking Jesus out of context. Review of: Julian Baggini: The Godless Gospel: Was Jesus a great moral teacher?.

Theo Hobson. What is it to be alive?: Radical questions in John’s Gospel. Review of: François Jullien, translated by Pedro Rodriguez: Resources of Christianity.

Leora Batnitzky. Beyond the law: Theology has its place in Jewish tradition. Review of: Steven Kepnes, editor: The Cambridge Companion to Jewish Theology.

History, Politics, Society, Technology:

Paul Duguid. No more sucking up to Zuckerberg: Behavioural science plus profit-driven analytics equals disaster. Review of: Jill Lepore: If Then: How one data company invented the future.

Mary Norris. They happen to like New York: Watching, walking and listening in the Big Apple. Review of: Craig Taylor: New Yorkers: A city and its people in our time -- Pretend its a City (the Fran Lebowitz series on Netflix) -- Paulina Bren: The Barbizon: The New York hotel that set women free.

Charlotte Henry. Time for a culture war truce: A plea for a new politics of collaboration and tolerance. Review of: Matthew d’Ancona: Identity, Ignorance, Innovation: Why the old politics is useless.

Jonathan Bak. Captain Blindsight: An excoriating account of the UK government’s mishandling of the pandemic. Review of: Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott: Failures of State: The inside story of Britain’s battle with coronavirus

Gigliola Sulis. Bride to a Blackshirt: A party hack who put loyalty to Mussolini before marriage. Review of: Victoria de Grazia: The Perfect Fascist: A story of love, power, and morality in Mussolini’s Italy.

Jane Caplan. No heroes here: A shared hatred of democracy bound most aristocrats to Hitler. Review of: Stephan Malinowski, Translated by Jonathan Andrews: Nazis and Nobles: The History of a Misalliance.

In Brief Review of: Ned Palmer: A Cheesemonger's History of the British Isles.

Abr 1, 5:07pm

On March 30, LARB reviewed Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin (linked on the previous quarter's thread). The morbidity continues into the second quarter:

Kathelin Gray. LARB, 04/01/2021: Rare Specimens. Review of: Adrian Dannatt: Doomed and Famous: Selected Obituaries.

I'm assuming this isn't an April Fool's joke & the book is real.

Abr 1, 5:34pm

Selections from the April issue of Literary Review:

Mathew Lyons. Symphony of a Thousand Millennia. Review of: Michael Spitzer: The Musical Human: A History of Life on Earth -- Nicholas Kenyon: The Life of Music: New Adventures in the Western Classical Tradition.

Will Wiles. Trespassers Will Be Contaminated. Review of: Cal Flyn: Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape.

Andrew Cumey. One Giant Leap for Mankind. Review of: Stephen Walker: Beyond: The Astonishing Story of the First Human to Leave Our Planet and Journey into Space.

David Keenan. The Truth it is a-Changin’. Review of: Clinton Heylin: The Double Life of Bob Dylan: Volume 1, 1941–1966 – A Restless, Hungry Feeling.

Other reviews of: Julia Copus: This Rare Spirit: A Life of Charlotte Mew and Ambrogio A Caiani: To Kidnap a Pope: Napoleon and Pius VII.

Abr 1, 5:38pm

Horse Crazy is a new addition to the B-Sides series:

Guy Davidson. Public Books, 04/01/2021: Gary Indiana's "Horse Crazy."

Abr 1, 5:57pm

A Midwest writer on redefining "middlebrow" in literature & the arts:

Phil Christman. Hedgehog Review, spring 2021: The Strange Undeath of Middlebrow: Everything that was once considered lowbrow is now triumphant.

Abr 5, 11:07am

Of Arabic:

Abdelfattah Kilito. The Baffler, 04/05/2021: Why Read the Classics?.

Abr 5, 11:16am

Perils of pentameter:

Livia Gershon. JSTOR Daily, 04/02/2021: Are We Getting Shakespeare’s Rhythms All Wrong?

Abr 5, 11:31am

Re-visiting The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, on the occasion of a new translation:

Adam Kirsch. NYRB, 04/08/2021: The Symbolic Animal. Review of: Ernst Cassirer, translated from the German by Steve G. Lofts, with a foreword by Peter E. Gordon: The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Volume 1: Language -- The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Volume 2: Mythical Thinking -- The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Volume 3: Phenomenology of Cognition.

Abr 7, 2:43pm

TLS, April 9, 2021; no. 6158.


Elaine Showalter. The spoils of Portnoy: The pugnacity, libido – and generosity – of Philip Roth. Review of: Blake Bailey: Philip Roth: the Biography.

Roberta Klimt. Making of a poet: The early years of John Milton. Review of: Nicholas McDowell: Poet of Revolution: The making of John Milton.

Laura Hackett. Guilty of quiet Catholic devotion: John Heywood: singer, playwright, poet and political exile. Review of: Greg Walker: John Heywood: Comedy and survival in Tudor England. (A Catholic in Protestant England during the period)

Boyd Tonkin. A round with Charles: An East German literary luminary on the Isle of Sheppey. Review of: Patrick Wright: The Sea View Has Me Again: Uwe Johnson in Sheerness. Link to TLS review of Johnson's Anniversaries.

In Brief Review of: Karl Ove Knausgaard. Translated by Martin Aitken: In the Land of the Cyclops.

In Brief Review of: Pier Paolo Pasolini. Edited by Walter Siti. Translated by Marina Harss: Stories From the City of God: Sketches and chronicles of Rome 1950–1966.


Alexandra Harris. Artist of sorrows and solitudes: An optimistic enlightenment wasn’t Joseph Wright’s subject matter. Review of: Matthew Craske: Joseph Wright of Derby: Painter of darkness.

Tom Phillips. Sight, covet, negotiate: The fate of African sculpture. Review of: Wole Soyinka: Beyond Aesthetics: Use, abuse, and dissonance in African art traditions.

In Brief Review of: Oliver Stone: Chasing the Light: How I fought my way into Hollywood

Social and Cultural Studies:

James Hall. At the mercy of the public: Is it necessary to kill some statues, or could we add to them? (Essay)

Fran Bigman. Benefit fraud?: How American welfare reform has hurt the poor. Review of: Jeff Madrick: Invisible Americans: The tragic cost of child poverty and Leah Hamilton: Welfare Doesn't Work: The promises of basic income for a failed American safety net.

Diana Darke. Selling out the home: How rising house prices ruin our cities. Review of: Marwa al-Sabouni: Building for Hope: Towards an architecture of belonging.

World War I:

Niall Ferguson. All the difference: The peacemaking initiative that failed, at vast cost. Review of: Philip Zelikow: The Road Less Traveled: The secret battle to end the Great War, 1916–1917.

Gary Sheffield. Battle lines drawn: How a military historian’s trilogy begins in familiar territory. Review of: Nick Lloyd: The Western Front: A history of the First World War.

In Brief Reviews in History:

In Brief Review of: Ronald Wright: Time Among the Maya: Travels in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico.

In Brief Review of: Rosemary Horrox: Richard III: A failed king?.

In Brief Review of: Adam Teller: Rescuing the Surviving Souls. "Setting Jewish experiences in the broader context of the Thirty Years’ War"

Abr 7, 2:46pm

An essay by the author of the novel Pachinko:

Min Jin Lee. NYT, 04/07/2021: A Lifetime of Reading Taught Min Jin Lee How to Write About Her Immigrant World.

Abr 7, 2:51pm

Obituary for Hans Küng, the prolific author and theologian who was a major influence on the Second Vatican Council:

Douglas Martin. NYT, 04/06/2021: Hans Küng, Catholic Theologian With a Powerful Critique, Dies at 93.

Abr 7, 2:59pm

Zora Neale Hurston's early career as an anthropologist in Florida:

Charles King. HUMANITIES, Winter 2021, Volume 42, Number 1: What Zora Went Looking For.

Abr 7, 3:08pm

On the literary importance of marginalia. Excerpt from: Kalir & Garcia's Annotation.

Remi Kalir and Antero Garcia. LitHub, 04/07/2021: Meaning in the Margins: On the Literary Value of Annotation.

Editado: Abr 15, 6:50pm

Paul Theroux looks back on his life:

Paul Theroux. The New Yorker, 04/06/2021: Facing Ka'ena Point: On Turning Eighty.


LitHub, 04/15/2021: Paul Theroux on Writer’s Block and the Books He Loves to Reread.

Abr 7, 3:21pm

Witter Bynner and Arthur Davison Ficke create a fake modernist poetry movement:

Ashawnta Jackson. JSTOR Daily, 04/06/2021: Spectra: The Poetry Movement That Was All a Hoax.

Abr 15, 6:46pm

TLS, April 16, 2021, no. 6159:


Andrew Motion. Dreams that take my breath: The reserved defiance of Charlotte Mew. Review of: Julia Copus: This Rare Spirit: A Life of Charlotte Mew.

Tanjil Rashid. Action, in theory: Ideas overwhelm in the French bohemia of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Committed.

Beverley Bie Brahic. Sonorous jewels: 200 years of Charles Baudelaire. (Essay)

Emma Smith. Getting the measure: The character and development of the Arden Shakespeare. Review of: W. Shakespeare, edited by Richard Proudfoot, Ann Thompson, David Scott Kastan and H. R. Woudhuysen: Arden Shakespeare Complete Works and Edited by A. R. Braunmuller and Robert N. Watson, editor: Measure for Measure.

In Brief Review of: Caitlin Vandertop: Modernism in the Metrocolony:Urban cultures of empire in twentieth-century literature.

In Brief Review of: Torrey Peters: Detransition, Baby.


Roz Kaveney. Marvel-maker: The mixed legacy of Stan Lee. Review of: Abraham Riesman: True Believer: The rise and fall of Stan Lee.

Mark Glanville. Notes on a winter journey: Reflections on Schubert’s masterly song cycle. Review of: Marjorie W. Hirsch and Lisa Feurzeig, editors: The Cambridge Companion to Schubert's 'Winterreise'.

Johanna Hanink. All the world was a stage: Ancient Greek drama in the wider Mediterranean. Review of Eric Csapo and Peter Wilson.: A Social and Economic History of the Theatre to 300 BC: Volume Two: Theatre Beyond Athens.


James Romm. In the footsteps of Alexander: A neglected successor to the great conqueror. Review of: Pat Wheatley and Charlotte Dunn: Demetrius the Besieger.

Ophelia Field. Marriage à la mode?: A notorious case of high-society bigamy. Review of: Catherine Ostler: The Duchess Countess: The woman who scandalised a nation.

Lesley Downer. Rising sons and daughters of Japan: Pen-portraits of emblematic figures. Review of: Christopher Harding: The Japanese: A history in twenty lives.

Laura O’ Brien. Lives less ordinary: How a family prospered from the French Revolution. Review of: Emma Rothschild: An Infinite History: The story of a family in France over three centuries.

Peter K. Andersson. Absolute Monarcho: A megalomaniac jester at the court of Queen Bess. (Essay)

In Brief Review of: Nadine Fresco, translated by Sarah Clift: On the Death of Jews: Photographs and history.

Politics and Society:

Paul Collier. Come together right now: Why the days of rampant individualism are over. Review of: Robert D. Putnam with Shaylyn Romney Garrett: The Upswing: How we came together a century ago and how we can do it again -- Mariana Mazzucato: Mission Economy: A moonshot guide to changing capitalism -- Tony Wilson: The Wheels of Society: Its assembly, performance and emotion.

A. N. Wilson. A surprising figure of power: Reflecting on the roles of the Duke of Edinburgh. (Essay)

Sonia Faleiro. Faith, feminism and joy: Barbara Ehrenreich looks at the meagre rewards of the US benefits system. Review of: Barbara Ehrenreich: Had I Known: Collected Essays.

Peter Mandler. Rising price of status anxiety: Does social mobility make us happy?. Review of: Selina Todd: Snakes and Ladders: The great British social mobility myth.

In Brief Review of: Richard Taylor: English Radicalism in the Twentieth Century: A distinctive politics?

In Brief Review of: Roni Horn: Island Zombie: Iceland Writings.

Medicine & Psychology:

Alastair Blanshard. First, do some harm: Classical doctors and their dangerous remedies. Review of: Robin Lane Fox: The Invention of Medicine: From Homer to Hippocrates.

Phil Baker. Beings from inner space: Jung’s records of encounters with his unconscious. Review of: C. G. Jung, edited by Sonu Shamdasani: The Black Books.

Abr 15, 6:59pm

"I once had a book sent to me that was disrupting my ability to write a novel because of a superficial similarity between the two. I took that book and dug a hole and buried it deep in the backyard, which solved my temporary writer’s block. Out of a strange guilt, as if I’d buried something alive, I did try to dig the book up after I had finished my novel, but I never found it."

NYT, 04/15/2021: How Jeff VanderMeer Prevents Writer’s Block.

Editado: Abr 17, 9:35am

I read TLS regularly in the 90s. I always had the fresh number. Now I believe rather in texts themselves. Reading such essays and reviews can be only a guide for real reading. I read a lot of such material, but discovered only several names of authors. The language is of course at a high level, but I knew two other such magazines in the 90s, and I keep texts from one of them even now. They can still be useful. The New York Times Book Review was probably better. TLS had political articles at the time. I didn't xerox much from TLS, maybe two or three articles. Now only texts appeal to me. There is no time for reviews, summaries.
Insight is important and difficult to achieve. Without insight, you err. I mean a bird’s eye view.
Also, now specific books can be bought easily. We have Wikipedia now for historical details.

Abr 16, 1:04pm

"What faith teaches is that we're all exiles from that Zion that is eternity, to which we shall one day return. What Vaughan understands is that if we seek eternity, it is now."

Ed Simon. The Millions, 04/16/2021: Henry Vaughan’s Eternal Alchemy.

Abr 16, 4:43pm

Vartan Gregorian, instrumental in restoring the New York Public Library obit.:

Robert D. McFadden. NYT, 04/16/2021" Vartan Gregorian, Savior of the New York Public Library, Dies at 87.

Abr 17, 5:02pm

New books with popular introductions to aspects of psychology:

Tali Sharot. NYT, 04/16/2021: New Books on the Brain and What It Can and Can’t Do.

Abr 20, 12:34pm

From the fivebooks site, Adam Gopnick talks about the shortlist for the 2021 Pen award for best essay collection (the winner was Barbara Ehrenreich's Had I Known: Collected Essays:

Adam Gopnick, interviewer Benedict King. fivebooks.com: The Best Essays: the 2021 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award.

Related. Adam Gonick talks about his favorite essay collections in general:

Adam Gopnick. fivebooks.com (no date or interviewer provided): Adam Gopnik on his Favourite Essay Collections.

Abr 21, 5:08pm

TLS, April 23, 2021; no. 6160:


Jane Darcy. Books do furnish a life: Reflections on the joys of wide reading. Review of: Michiko Kakutani: Ex Libris: 100 books to read and reread -- Jennie Orchard, editor: The Gifts of Reading: Essays on the joys of reading, giving and receiving books -- Cathy Retzenbrink: Dear Reader: The comfort and joy of books.

Ruth Scurr. When the undead return: How literature represents the disappearance of men and women. Review of: Daniel Heller-Roazen: Absentees: On variously missing persons.

Douglas Field. Going underground: A previously unpublished novel by the author of Native Son. Review of: Richard Wright: The Man Who Lived Underground (Library of America).

Ritchie Robertson. Inside the outsider: Precious information about the early life of Thomas Bernhard. Review of: Peter Fabjan: Ein Leben an der Seite von Thomas Bernhard: Ein Rapport.

Michael La Pointe. From the oak to the God’s Eye: A new translation of Thomas Bernhard’s comic masterpiece. Thomas Bernhard, Translated by Douglas Robertson: The Cheap-Eaters.

Katherine Ashenburg. An unrequited love: Giorgio Bassani’s tales of a rejected Jewish community. Review of: Giorgio Bassani, translator Jamie McKendrick: The Novel of Ferrara.

Patricia Williams. To the north: Race, migration and violence in the United States of America. Extract from: Patricia Williams: Giving a Damn: Racism, Romance, & Gone with the Wind.

David B. Hobbs. Magic and satire: Henry Dumas’s stories of the American North and South. Review of: Henry Dumas: Echo Spring.

Simon Rennie. Meet the poet: The catholic tastes of the Celtic versifier Anthony Burgess. Review of: Anthony Burgess, edited and with an introduction by Jonathan Mann: Anthony Burgess: Collected Poems.

In Brief Review of: Robert Hampson: Joseph Conrad.


Larry Wolff. Revival of the fittest: The ‘noble simplicity’ of Gluck’s operas: worshipped by Berlioz, neglected in the repertory. Review of: Mark Everist: Genealogies of Music and Memory: Gluck in the nineteenth-century Parisian imagination.

Alice Wadsworth. By divers hands: The benefits of disability-led innovation in technology. Review of podcasts Download this Show and Disability Visibility.

Politics & Culture:

Craig Purshouse. Is nothing sacred and inviolable?: A challenge to sloppy thinking about rights. Review of: Nigel Biggar: What's Wrong with Rights?.

Rachel Bowlby. Keeping up with the Rockefellers: The man who coined the phrase ‘conspicuous consumption.’ Review of: Charles Camic: Veblen: The making of an economist who unmade economics.

Tom Sperlinger. Children of the dream: Inequity and scandal in American universities. Review of: Jeffrey Selingo: Who Gets in and Why: A year inside college admissions -- Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz: Unacceptable: Privilege, deceit and the making of the college admissions scandal -- Andrew Gumbel: Won't Lose this Dream: How an upstart urban university rewrote the rules of a broken system -- Anthony P. Carnevale, Peter Schmidt and Jeff Strohl: The Merit Myth: How our colleges favor the rich and divide America.

Robert Dover. Inside the mirror maze: Uncovering some secrets of British spycraft. Review of: John Ferris: Behind the Enigma: The authorised history of GCHQ, Britain’s secret cyber-intelligence agency and David Omand: How Spies Think: 10 lessons in intelligence.

Catriona Kelly. The real Russian river: The Volga is the heart of the country. Review of: Janet M. Hartley: The Volga: A history of Russia’s greatest river.

Federico Varese. An open secret: How Russia’s doping of athletes was uncovered. Review of: Tim Harte: Faster, Higher, Stronger Comrades!: Sports, art, and ideology in late Russian and early Soviet culture -- Grigory Rodchenkov: The Rodchenkov: How I brought down Putin’s secret doping empire -- David Walsh: The Russian Affair: The true story of the couple who uncovered the greatest sporting scandal.

Abr 26, 2:16pm

On Milton's Areopagitica:

Nicholas McDowell. Aeon, 04/26/2021: Milton versus the mob. "He spoke truth to power and made heresy a virtue. Lessons on free speech and intellectual combat from John Milton."

Abr 26, 2:25pm

A retrospective essay on art historian Leo Steinberg, whose writing I've enjoyed:

Jed Perl. NYRB, 05/13/2021: See More, Think More. Review of: Leo Steinberg, edited by Sheila Schwartz: Michelangelo's Sculpture: Selected Essays -- Michelangelo's Painting: Selected Essays -- Renaissance and Baroque Art: Selected Essays.

"The art historian Leo Steinberg tried in his writings to reconcile a passion that was inarguably subjective with a desire for something like objectivity."

Abr 26, 2:33pm

LARB retrospect on the late Larry McMurtry:

J. R. Patterson. LARB, 04/24/2021: Horseman, Pass By.

Abr 26, 2:37pm

On Simone Weil, on the occasion of a new book:

Christy Wampole. LARB, 04/26/2021: Simone Weil for Americans. Review of: Robert Zaretsky: The Subversive Simone Weil: A Life in Five Ideas.

Abr 26, 2:46pm

On the origins of the sonnet:

Ed Simon. JSTOR Daily, 04/21/2021: The Heretical Origins of the Sonnet.

Maio 1, 4:49pm

TLS, 04/30/2021, no. 6161:


D. J. Taylor. To be continued: Reimagining literary characters. (Essay)

Janet Todd. A novelist for all seasons: Putting Jane Austen’s genius into context. Review of: Tom Keymer: Jane Austen: Writing, society, politics.

Christy Edwall. Light of a bright star: The ‘white-knuckled’ virtuosity of John Keats. Review of: Lucasta Miller: Keats: A brief life in nine poems and one epitaph -- Jonathan Bate: Bright Star, Green Light: The beautiful and damned lives of John Keats and F. Scott Fitzgerald -- Anahid Nersessian: Keats's Odes: A lover’s discourse.

Marion Schmid. Finding Proust again: The insights and revelations of a legendary manuscript. Review of: Marcel Proust, Edited by Nathalie Mauriac Dyer, with a preface by Jean-Yves Tadié: Les Soixante-Quinze Feuillets et Autres Manuscrits Inédits.

Michael Lapointe. New World Europeans: A counter-factual history of Inca dominion. Review of Laurent Binet, translation by Sam Taylor: Civilisations. "The author’s counter-factual history describes a world in which the Incas, not the Europeans, travelled across the Atlantic and established dominion."

Alice Kelly. Zen and the art of a life in ink: John Porcellino's graphic Bildungsroman of love, doubt, anxiety – and cats. Review of: John Porcellino: Perfect Example -- King Kat Classix -- Map of My Heart.


Toby Lichtig. This is a true story: How fact and fiction shape their narratives on screen. Review of these films: Can't Get You Out of My Head -- The Mauritanian -- The Dissident -- Quo Vadis Aida?


Clare Carlisle. A kind of piety: Thinking and living harmoniously together. Susan James: Spinoza on Learning to Live Together.

Becca Rothfeld. Public positions: A broad-ranging attempt at popular philosophy. Markus Gabriel, translated by Alex Englander: The Meaning of Thought.

Science and Technology:

Nicholas Barrett. Matter over mind: The brain’s continual evolution. Review of: David Eagleman: Livewired: The inside story of the ever-changing brain.

Elsa Court. Duo lingos: The neuroscientific effects of speaking a foreign language. Review of: Albert Costa: The Bilingual Brain: And what it tells us about the science of language -- Marek Kohn: Four Words for a Friend: The rewards of using more than one language in a divided world.

Lyanda Lynn Haupt. Our bargain with birds: How avian and human lives intersect. Richard Smyth: An Indifference of Birds.

In Brief Review of: Owen Whooley: On the Heels of Ignorance: Psychiatry and the politics of not knowing.

Politics and Society:

Paul Baker. Coming out, going out: A celebratory history of a century of queer life. Review of: Jeremy Atherton Lin: Gay Bar: Why we went out.

Kate Brown. Muscle and machinery: How Putin’s Russia emerged from the Soviet basement. Review of: Alexey Golubev: The Things of Life: Materiality in late Soviet Russia.

Sarah Baxter. As luck would have it: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and their first 100 days. Review of: Nick Bryant: When America Stopped Being Great: A history of the present -- Robert Eisenberg: The Center Did Not Hold: A Biden/Obama balance sheet -- Dan Morain: Kamala's Way.


David Horspool. Wheel of Fortune: The clash of ideal and reality in a classic of European history. (Essay on Johan Huizinga's The Waning of the Middle Ages also translated under the title reviewed below).

Alexander Murray. Love and death: How Johan Huizinga came to write his masterpiece. Review of: Johan Huizinga, Translated by Diane Webb and edited by Graeme Small and Anton van der Lem: Autumntide of the Middle Ages:A study of forms of life and thought of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in France and the Low Countries.

Patricia Craig. Violence on the roads: An incident of the Irish Civil War. (Essay)

Marianne Elliott. The map is not the territory: How and why the Irish border came about. Review of: Ivan Gibbons: Partition: How and why Ireland was divided and Charles Townshend: The Partition: Ireland divided, 1885–1925.

Maio 1, 4:57pm

On the history of East & South Asians in the U.S.:

Melissa Borja, interviewer Eve Gerber. fivebooks.com, 05/01/2020: The best books on Asian American History.

Maio 5, 11:40am

From the new issue of Literary Review, May 2021, issue 496:

David Wheatley. Sex was a Mystery to Him. Review of: Frances Wilson: Burning Man: The Ascent of D H Lawrence.

Jonathan Sumption. Prime Minister vs. Pathogen. Review of: Niall Ferguson: Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe,

Miranda France. Expect the Unexpected. Review of: A S Byatt: Medusa’s Ankles: Selected Stories.

Tanya Harrod. She Carved Her Own Way. Eleanor Clayton: Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life.

Maio 5, 11:45am

"Dispelling myths of entrepreneurial exceptionalism, a sweeping new history of U.S. capitalism finds that economic gains have always been driven by the state."

Justin H. Vassallo. Boston Review, 05/05/2021: Portrait of the United States as a Developing Country. Review of: Jonathan Levy: Ages of American Capitalism: A History of the United States.

Maio 5, 11:51am

"On a genre-breaking forerunner of Afrofuturism":

John Keene. The Baffler, 05/03/2021: The Visions of Henry Dumas. Review of: Henry Dumas, ed. Eugene B. Redmond: Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas.

Maio 6, 7:25pm

TLS, 05/07/2021:


Ann Hallamore Caesar. ‘I am whoever you think I am’: Pirandello: an author in search of new translations. Review of: Luigi Pirandello, translated by Virginia Jewiss: Stories for the Years -- Pirandello, Translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff: The Notebooks of Serafino Gubbio.

Llewelyn Morgan. The plot is the thing: Translations of the Aeneid by a poet and an academic. Review of: Vergil, translated by Shadi Bartsch: The Aeneid -- Vergil, translated by Len Krisak: Aeneid.

Daisy Dunn. Tied in love knots: Two novel ways of looking at Catullus. Review of: Isobel Williams: Catullus: Shibari carmina -- Leontia Flynn: Slim New Book.

Beejay Silcox. Sky’s the limit: An aviator and the film star who portrays her. Review of: Maggie Shipstead: Great Circle.

Hal Jensen. Better to enjoy, better to endure: Books as the solution to the trials of middle age. Review of: Ben Hutchinson: The Midlife Mind: Literature and the art of ageing.

Laura Thompson. Journeys of a thousand steps: Walking as memory, mysticism, rebellion and reflection. Review of: Duncan Minshull, editor: Sauntering: Writers walk Europe.

Gregory Afinogenov. Stations of the lost: An account of the horrors of Russian serfdom. Review of: Alexander Radishchev, translators Andrew Kahn and Irina Reyfman: Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow.

Heather Cass White. It never ends, does it?: Wit, love and the ‘Other World’ in the letters of James Merrill. Review of: James Merrill, editors Langdon Hammer and Stephen Yenser: A Whole World: Letters from James Merrill.

Kyra Piperides. Keeping up with Jones: Redressing the caricatures of a significant intellectual. Review of: John Sutherland: Monica Jones, Philip Larkin and Me: Her Life and Long Loves.

In Brief Review of: Robert Musil, translator Genese Grill: Theater Symptoms: Plays and writings on drama.


Maria Golia. Come to the Cairo cabaret: The struggles and triumphs of Egypt’s divas. Review of: Raphael Cormack: Midnight in Cairo: The female stars of Egypt’s roaring ’20s.

Alev Scott. Going with the dogs: A homage to Istanbul’s canine population. Review of the film Stray.

Alexander Leissle. Home harmonies: A veteran saxophonist and an electronic producer collaborate. Review of: Pharoah Sanders & Floating Points CD Promises and the film Promises: Through Congress.

In Brief Review of: Carlo and Renzo Piano: Atlantis: A journey in search of beauty.


Paul Zimansky. Adventure becoming science: Megiddo and the golden age of Egyptology. Review of: Eric H. Cline: Digging Up Armageddon: The search for the lost city of Solomon and Toby Wilkinson: A World Beneath the Sands: Adventurers and archaeologists in the Golden Age of Egyptology.

Charles King. From the ashes: Niall Ferguson’s chronicle of calamity. Review of: Niall Ferguson: Doom: The politics of catastrophe.

Alexandre Leskanich. History on trial: The case for moral judgements about the past. Donald Bloxham: History and Morality -- Donald Bloxham: Why History?: A History.

David Laven. Papal pawns: How Napoleon’s treatment of the Catholic Church backfired. Ambrogio Caiani: To Kidnap a Pope: Napoleon and Pius VII.

Andrew Roberts. World gardener: A botanical Bonaparte. Ruth Scurr: Napoleon: A life in gardens and shadows.

Politics and Society:

John Lloyd. Angry citizens of Somewhere: Finding a new politics for the working class. Review of: Michael Lind: The New Class War: Saving democracy from the metropolitan elite -- Paul Embery: Despised: Why the modern left loathes the working class -- Alice Martin and Annie Quick: Unions Renewed: Building power in an age of finance -- Chris Hamby: Soul of Dust: A fight for breath and justice in Appalachia.

Joan C. Williams. Fulfillment: Winning and losing in one-click America.

In Brief Review of: Meg-John Barker and Jules Scheele: Sexuality: A Graphic Guide.

Maio 7, 2:13pm

A long piece on bookstores:

Seth Kimmel. Public Books, 05/06/2021: What's in a Bookstore?

Reference made to: Edward Wilson-Lee: The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World’s Greatest Library -- José María Pérez Fernández and Edward Wilson-Lee: Hernando Colón’s New World of Books: Toward a Cartography of Knowledge -- Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen: The Bookshop of the World: Making and Trading Books in the Dutch Golden Age -- Kaouther Adimi, translated from the French by Chris Andrews: Our Riches -- Jorge Carrión, translated from the Spanish by Peter Bush: Bookshops: A Reader’s History -- the documentary film The Booksellers directed by D. W. Young.

Maio 7, 2:20pm

George Sciabba's review of the new Louis Menand intellectual history of the second half of the 20th century, where GS airs some of his bete-noirs.

George Scialabba. The Baffler, May 2021, no. 57: Free and Worldly: Louis Menand’s questionable pantheon of Cold War–era luminaries. Review of: Louis Menand The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War.

Editado: Maio 7, 3:09pm

Recent reviews and lit-crit from Quillette:

Jared Marcel Pollen. Quillette, 05/06/2021: Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe—A Review. The Niall Ferguson book is also reviewed at >32 featherbear: and >35 featherbear:

Mailyn Simon. Quillette, 05/06/2021: Identity and the Self in ‘Hamlet’.

Samuel Kronen. Quillette, 05/02/2021: James Baldwin and the Trouble with Protest Literature.

Maio 7, 2:47pm

Howard University is phasing out its Classics Department, so this essay/review from a faculty member of that department seems timely:

Anika T. Prather. University Bookman, 04/25/2021: Snowden Speaks of Africa. On Frank M. Snowden, Jr. : Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks.

Maio 7, 3:17pm

Recent book discussion -- mostly focused on socio-historical topics -- from WaPo:

Ron Charles. WaPo, 04/28/2021: The Philip Roth biography is canceled, Mike Pence’s book could be next — and publishing may never be the same.

Daniel Oppenheimer. WaPo, 05/07/2021: The traditional case against pornography, with a few 21st-century updates. Review of: Bernadette Barton: The Pornification of America: How Raunch Culture Is Ruining Our Society.

Marc Levinson. WaPo, 05/07/2021: How did Amazon grow so fast? By thinking outside the shipping box. Review of: Brad Stone: Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire.

Michael Dirda. WaPo, 05/05/2021: What can ‘The Age of Decadence’ teach us about today? A great deal. Review of: Simon Heffer: The Age of Decadence: A History of Britain, 1880-1914.

Michael Dirda. WaPo, 04/21/2021: Remember when high culture was revered? Louis Menand’s ‘The Free World’ made me nostalgic. See also >37 featherbear: and the following citation:

Carlos Lozada. WaPo, 04/16/2021: How Americans re-learned to think after World War II.

Michele Filgate. WaPo, 05/07/2021: Review of: Olivia Laing: Everybody: A Book About Freedom.

Maio 7, 3:26pm

Two articles on literature and education (after the period covered by Louis Menand's The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War discussed in articles at >40 featherbear:).

Michael Clune. Chronicle of Higher Education, 05/03/2021: Are Humanities Professors Moral Experts?: We have become confused about our roles as aesthetic educators.

Kurt Ostrow. The Millions, 05/07/2021: This Story Sucks: What I Learned Teaching LGBTQ Studies.

Maio 10, 3:48pm

Book on the loss of her father by the author of Americanah:

Sarah M. Broom. NYT, 05/09/2021: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘My Madness Will Now Bare Itself.’ Review of: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Notes on Grief.

Maio 10, 3:56pm

The veteran rock journalist, critic, & co-author of Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll, perhaps best known as a contributor to NPR's "Fresh Air" broadcasts, has passed:

Richard Sandomir. NYT, 05/09/2021: Ed Ward, Rock Critic and Historian, Is Dead at 72.

Maio 10, 3:59pm

An unusual juxtaposition of Alice Munro and Pedro Almodóvar:

Veronic Esposito. LitHub, 05/10/2021: Substance If Not Style: On the Radical Similarities of Alice Munro and Pedro Almodóvar.

Maio 10, 4:04pm

A book about Indian music:

Adeeba Shahid Talukder. The Baffler, 05/10/2021: The Music Room: On losing and finding Hindustani classical music. Review of: Amit Chaudhuri: Finding The Raga: An Improvisation on Indian Music.

Maio 10, 4:18pm

A window on how readers, authors, and journalists use or do not use citations, and the relationship of the current generation's use Google & the like for footnotes.

Sophie Haigny. The Drift, 04/29/2021: Fiction Detective​ | On Literary Citation and Search Engine Sleuthing.

Editado: Maio 12, 9:30pm

TLS, May 14, 2021|No. 6163:


Bryan Karetnyk. What did it all mean?: Why global Japanese literature is finally emerging from the shadow of Haruki Murakami. Review of: Review of: Haruki Murakami, Translated by Philip Gabriel: First Person Singular -- Izumi Suzuki, translated by Sam Bett et al.: Terminal Boredom -- Maki Kashimada, translated by Haydn Trowell: Touring the Land of the Dead.

Dina Birch. Ghosts and zombies of the junta: Gothic horror and national history combine in a potent collection by Mariana Enríquez. Review of: Mariana Enriquez, translated by Megan McDowell: The Dangers of Smoking in Bed.

Clare Cavanagh. Extra and ordinary: Remembering Adam Zagajewski. (Essay)

Martin Murphy. The priest and the playboy: Disraeli’s Lothair, Monsignor Catesby, and ‘Boy’ Capel. (Essay)

In Brief Review of: Todd Landon Barnes:
Shakespearean Charity and the Perils of Redemptive Performance.


Jonathan Ree. Open to the world of sound: A film of traditional narrative and groundbreaking techniques. Review of the film The Sound of Metal.

Regina Rini. Millions for bragging rights: Considering why anyone would pay a fortune for a non-fungible token. (Essay from the TLS splash page)

History of Philosophy:

Jonathan Egid. A deadly debate: Metaphysics and its interwar enemies. Review of: David Edmonds: The Murder of Professor Schlick: The rise and fall of the Vienna Circle.

Caroline Duttlinger. Carried off course: Navigating the nuanced works of a great thinker. Review of: Fredric Jameson: The Benjamin Files.

Mark Hannam. Hope without belief: How the Frankfurt School took on the anxieties of modernity". Review of: Peter E. Gordon: Migrants in the Profane: Critical theory and the question of secularization,

Regina Rini. A sinking ship: Who is to blame when violent crimes are committed on the basis of false, absurd beliefs?. (Essay from TLS splash page)

Politics & Society:

Tom Stevenson. Miner conflicts: Why wars are fought over strategic interests, not mere minerals. Review of: Guillaume Pitron, Translated by Bianca Jacobsohn: The Rare Metals War: The dark side of clean energy and digital technologies -- Javier Blas and Jack Farchy: The World for Sale: Money, power and the traders who barter the Earth’s resources -- Joseph Zarate, translated by Annie McDermott: Wars of the Interior.

Peter Coastes. War on terra: Weaponizing the environment. Review of: Emmanuel Kreike: Scorched Earth: Environmental warfare as a crime against humanity and nature.


Leo Lensing. Some like it fraught: The varied, unconventional journalism of Billy Wilder. Review of: Billy Wilder, translated by Shelley Frisch, edited by Noah Issenberg: Billy Wilder on Assignment: Dispatches from Weimar Berlin and interwar Vienna.


Timothy Larsen. While you’ve a Lucifer: How the Victorians thought about – and laughed at – the Devil. Review of: Sarah Bartels: The Devil and the Victorians: Supernatural evil in nineteenth-century English culture.

Science & technology:

Carol Tavris. When life gets all too much: An attempt to understand mysterious illnesses. Review of: Suzanne O’Sullivan: The Sleeping Beauties: And other stories of mystery illness.

Maio 19, 4:38pm

TLS, May 21, 2021, no. 6164:


Claire Lowden. Bugbears and other delicacies: Salman Rushdie tilts at the windmill of autofiction?. Review of: Salman Rushdie: Languages of Truth: Essays 2003–2020.

Devoney Looser. Breaking the silence: Exploring the Austen family’s complex entanglements with slavery. (Essay)

Edith Hall. Sweet violence: Euripides as seen by a poet and a comic-book illustrator. Review of: Anne Carson and Rosanna Bruno (from the play by Euripidese): The Trojan Women: A Comic.

Christian Lorentzen. Literary humiliation: Guises, phonies and genius in Rachel Cusk’s new comedy. Review of: Rachel Cusk: Second Place.

Clare Pettitt. Feeling the lack, filling the gap: Jhumpa Lahiri's novel of ageing and renewal, written in a third language. Review of: Jhumpa Lahiri: Whereabouts.

Seamus Perry. Something to restrain: How Thom Gunn remade himself. Review of: Thom Gunn, Edited by August Kleinzahler, Michael Nott and Clive Wilmer: The Letters of Thom Gunn.


Adam Mars-Jones. Down memory lane: Two new films on how we remember and how we forget. Review of two films, Little Fish and Apples. Both are about epidemics of amnesia, the former streamed via Amazon Prime, but the review also considers Groundhog Day & Memento.


James Waddell. Fire, war, neglect: How books and archives are lost. Review of: Richard Ovenden: Burning the Books: A history of knowledge under attack.

Kate E. McCaffrey. Hope from day to day: Inscriptions newly discovered in a book owned by Anne Boleyn. (Essay)


Tom Licence. Dickensian Angles: A ‘great man’ account of pre-Conquest history. Review of: Marc Morris: The Anglo-Saxons: A history of the beginnings of England.

Simon Jenkins. Rule Bretagne: The story of a Celtic people. Review of: Barry Cunliffe: Bretons and Britons: The fight for identity.

Krishan Kumar. Made in Britain: The economic and cultural legacies of slavery. Review of: Padraic X. Scanlan: Slave Empire: How slavery built modern Britain -- Michael Taylor: The Interest: How the British establishment resisted the abolition of slavery -- Kehinde Andrews: The New Age of Empire: How racism and colonialism still rule the world.

Kate Cooper. Review of: Elizabeth A. Clark: Melania the Younger: From Rome to Jerusalem -- Catherine M. Chin and Caroline T. Schroeder: Melania: Early Christianity through the life of one family.

Mary Beard. If you want a monument … : How religion helped to make the Roman state. Review of: Dan-el Padilla Peralta: Divine Institutions: Religions and community in the Middle Roman Republic.

In Brief Review of: Cat Jarman: River Kings: A new history of the Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads.

Politics & Society:

David Throsby. Here come the money men: How economists’ influence has grown over the past century. Review of: Janek Wasserman: The Marginal Revolutionaries: How Austrian economists fought the war of ideas -- Binyamin Appelbaum: The Economists' Hour: How the false prophets of free markets fractured our society.

Geraldine van Bueren. . Citizens’ arrests: The powers and limits of Magnitsky laws. Review of: Geoffrey Robertson: Bad People: And how to be rid of them: A Plan B for human rights.

Justin Willis. a href="https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/idi-amin-mark-leopold-review-justin-willis/"Making a monster?: An African reputation – as shaped by outside observers. Review of: Mark Leopold: Idi Amin: The story of Africa’s icon of evil.

In Brief Review of:Evan Smith: No Platform: A history of anti-fascism, universities and the limits of free speech. Note: seems to be limited to British politics.

Maio 19, 4:50pm

On reading Asian American novels in the current climate:

Denise Cruz. Public Books, 05/18/2021: The Asian American Novel in Our Time of Hate. Review of: Chang-rae Lee: My Year Abroad.

Maio 19, 4:55pm

Noah Culwin takes down Malcolm Gladwell:

Noah Culwin. The Baffler, 05/17/2021: Narrative Napalm: Malcolm Gladwell’s apologia for American butchery. Review of: Malcolm Gladwell: The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War.

Maio 19, 5:01pm

Carmen Maria Machado on attempts to ban her books from high school reading lists:

Carmen Maria Machado. NYT, 05/11/2021: Banning My Book Won’t Protect Your Child.

Editado: Maio 20, 11:28am

The WaPo book critic, now vaccinated, visits the second hand bookstore Powell's. Good idea bringing along a flashlight -- would have come in handy visiting all the poorly lit second hand shops near Union Square when they still existed:

Michael Dirda. WaPo, 05/19/2021: An afternoon inside a bookstore was as glorious as ever. Here’s what I bought.

Maio 20, 11:27am

On contrarian black intellectuals & their writings:

Michael Collins. The Critic, 05/2021: Invisible men.

Maio 20, 11:36am

On James Merrill's letters. If you've read Langdon Hammer's biography you have an idea how interesting these could be.

Colm Tóibín. NYRB, 06/10/2021 (requires subscription): ‘We Must Be Light!’. Review of: James Merrill, edited by Langdon Hammer and Stephen Yenser: A Whole World: Letters from James Merrill.

Maio 20, 11:52am

Recent book reviews from The New Yorker:

Michael Lapointe. 05/20/2021: The Novel that Elizabeth Spencer Wanted to be Remembered For. "The author of The Light in the Piazza believed that her most important work was The Voice at the Back Door, a novel about racism in her native Mississippi".

Joan Acocella. 05/17/2021: Francis Bacon's Frightening Beauty. Review of: Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan: Francis Bacon: Revelations.

Emily Witt. 05/19/2021: The Stinging Provocations of Virginie Despentes. "In her Vernon Subutex novels, which were huge best-sellers in France, one feels the collapse of a national myth—and a crippling disorientation in its place.

Maio 20, 12:10pm

On Jenny Erpenbeck's perspectives:

James Ley. Public Books, 05/20/2021: The Perspective is the Story. On Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Kurt Beals: Not a Novel: A Memoir in Pieces.

Editado: Maio 20, 12:18pm

On activism & AIDS:

Joshua Gutterman Tranen. The Baffler, 05/20/2021: In Fury We Trust. Review of: Sarah Schulman: Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987–1993.

Also an interview with Schulman:

Sarah Schulman, interviewed by Zach Scultz. Electric Literature, 05/18/2021: The Unvarnished Story Behind the Most Controversial Group in AIDS Activism.

Maio 20, 12:23pm

An introduction to Leo Strauss:

Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft. Aeon, 05/20/2021: Against public philosophy.

Maio 20, 12:28pm

Beware teachers of literature:

Sophie Gilbert. The Atlantic, 05/20/2021: The Literary-Abuser Trope Is Everywhere.

Maio 21, 6:34pm

I prefer re-reading, so let's see what the author here has to say:

Brian Van Dyke. The Millions, 05/20/2021: The Case for ‘War and Peace’ and Rereading.

Maio 21, 6:37pm

There's also a case for new reads, so here's an interesting list from the editors of Public Books:

Public Books, 05/21/2021: Public Picks 2021.

Maio 23, 7:36pm

Booker shortlist for translations:

Lucy Hughes-Hallett, interviewed by Cal Flyn. fivebooks.com, 05/22/2021: The Best of World Literature: The 2021 International Booker Prize Shortlist.

Translators trying to find publishers for translations:

Nicholas Glastonbury. LARB, 05/18/2021: Translating Against World Literature.

Maio 26, 5:08pm

TLS May 28, 2021; no. 6165:


Gerri Kimber. Nastiness and joy: A virtuosic biography of D. H. Lawrence. Review of: Frances Wilson: Burning Man: The ascent of D. H. Lawrence.

Stephanie Sandler. Faith and good works: Joseph Brodsky and his translators. Review of: Joseph Brodsy; Edited and introduced by Ann Kjellberg: Selected Poems 1968-96 -- Cynthia L. Haven: The Man Who Brought Brodsky Into English: Conversations with George L. Kline -- Natasha Rulyova: Joseph Brodsky and Collaborative Self-Translation.

Rachel Polonsky. Shake it out: How Maria Stepanova arranges fragments so the dead can live. Review of: Maria Stepanova; translated by Sasha Dugdale: In Memory of Memory: A Romance -- M.S.; edited by Edited by Irina Shevelenko: The Voice Over: Poems and Essays -- M.S. ; translated by Sasha Dugdale: War of the Beasts and the Animal.

Michael Kerr. Coffee in the rubble: Daily life and inner calm amid the disintegration of Aleppo. Review of: Faysal Khartash, translated by Max Weiss: Roundabout of Death.

Imogen Russell Williams. Curiosity and noise: Transgender and non-binary people in children’s books. (Essay)

Nicholas Clee. Evidently Chapel town: David Annand's strikingly prescient debut novel. Review of: David Annand: Petertown.

In Brief Review of: Anna North: Outlawed.

In Brief Review of: Abi Daré: The Girl With the Louding Voice.


Timothy Brook. A world of goods: How the Dutch turned plunder into an art form. Review of: Claudia Swan: Rarities of These Lands: Art, trade, and diplomacy in the Dutch Republic.

Lesley Chamberlain. Monet on the Moskva: Soviet embarrassment at a haul from a Russian connoisseur. Review of: Natalya Semenova, translated by Arch Tait: Morozov: The story of a family and a lost collection.

Lucille Burn. Foster-child of silence: Giving ceramic art its rightful place in the canon. Review of: Paul Greenhalgh: Ceramic: Art and Civilization.

Lucy Dallas. Hons and rebels with a cause: Life, love, taffeta and war: Nancy Mitford on screen. Review of the TV series The Pursuit of Love based on the novel by Mitford.

In Brief Review of: Roy Strong: Types and Shadows: The Roy Strong diaries 2004–2015.

In Brief Review of: Dan Callahan: The Camera Lies: Acting for Hitchcock.

Social Science & Journalism:

Mick Heron. A look aimed very far away: The importance of failure. Review of: Joe Moran: If You Should Fail: A Book of Solace.

Caroline Moorehead. Never look back: From child refugee to celebrated foreign correspondent. Review of: Hella Pick: Invisible Walls: A journalist in search of her life.

Julia Bueno. Time to keep silence: A BBC editor seeks respite from the stresses of modern life. Review of: Sarah Sands: The Interior Silence: 10 Lessons from monastic life.

In Brief Review of: Anna Lyons and Louise Winter: We All Know How This Ends: Lessons about life and living from working with death and dying.

Editado: Jun 2, 9:08pm

TLS, June 4, 6166:

Arts & Letters:

Marjorie Perloff. The best minds: An encyclopedic study of Cold War culture, from Pollock to Presley. Review of: Louis Menand: The Free World: Art and thought in the Cold War.

Adam Mars-Jones. Territory of the possible: Atmosphere and exploration in a film set in the Old West. Review of the film First Cow.

D.J. Taylor. Old Mrs Pither and friends: Annotating George Orwell. (Essay on annotation of Orwell's novels)

Rohan Maltzen. Austen in Nazi Europe: The timelessness of Olivia Manning’s ‘Balkan Trilogy.' Review of: Olivia Manning: The Great Fortune -- The Spoilt City -- Friends and Heroes.

Kevin Brazil. Notes of a nativist son: The lures of far-Right fellowship. Review of: Sjón, translated by Victoria Cribb: Red Milk. Icelandic mystery novel.

Julius Purcell. Franco in the flower beds: Ghosts of the Spanish Civil War in Patrick McGrath's novel of memory and trauma. Review of: Patrick McGrath: Last Days in Cleaver Square.

Desirée Baptiste. Bread, cake, doughnuts: Life and death recollected, in various voices. Review of: Elizabeth McCracken: The Souvenir Museum. (Eccentric short stories)

Jane Yager. Darkness falls: Tales that capture twists of fate. Review of: Peter Stamm: Wenn es Dunkel wird. (Short stories in German by the Swiss author)

Lucasta Miller. In a new place: The third instalment of Deborah Levy‘s ‘living autobiography.’ Review of: Deborah Levy: Real Estate. "Although she is the author of more than ten works of fiction, it is this series of first-person memoirs that has finally found her a mainstream readership, and even “cult status”, as Claire Lowdon recently put it in the Sunday Times."

Simon Beattie. A lamp left burning: The life and work of an enigmatic writer banned by the Nazis. Review of: Johann-Günther König: Friedo Lampe: Eine Biographie.

Toby Lichtig. Judging the EBRD Prize: The challenge of choosing a winner. (Essay. "The EBRD Literature Prize is now in its fourth year. It was designed by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (in collaboration with the British Council) to champion “the literary richness of our regions of operations” – almost forty countries in which the bank has offices ...")

In Brief Review of: Gail Crowther: Three Martini Afternoons at the Ritz: The rebellion of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton.

Politics and Society:

Alisdair Williamson. In Cold Blood? : How murderers are identified. Review of: Richard Taylor: The Mind of a Murderer -- Kate Morgan: Murder: The Biography.

Toby Muse. Along the iron river: Following firearms from manufacture to murder. Review of: Ioan Grillo: Blood Gun Money: How America arms gangs and cartels.

Daniel Markovits. Paying lip service: The unpalatable truth about how wages are set. Review of: Jake Rosenfeld: You're Paid What You're Worth: And other myths of the modern economy.

Rosemary Righter. Ox demons and snake spirits: The causes and effects of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Review of: Yang Jisheng, translated and edited by Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian: The World Turned Upside Down: A history of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Sean O'Brien. The doors they came out by: Nostalgia for a vanished pub. (Essay)


Ian W. Archer. Chaos and opulence: An arresting analysis of seventeenth-century London. Review of: Margarette Lincoln: London and the Seventeenth Century: The making of the world’s greatest city.

Joe Moshenska. An orbital resonance: An original account of a painting that exerts a gravitational pull. Review of: J. L. Heilbron: The Ghost of Galileo: In a forgotten painting from the English Civil War.

Zoe Williams. Racing with the best: An ‘almanac of women’s emancipation through the pushbike.’ Review of: Hannah Ross: Revolutions: How women changed the world on two wheels.

Julia Prest. Queen, but not queen: A portrait of an extraordinary, misunderstood woman. Review of: Mark Bryant: Queen of Versailles: Madame de Maintenon, First Lady of Louis XIV’s France.

Kathryn Hughes. Beyond the school for scandal: The multifaceted life of a Victorian writer and social reformer. Review of: Antonia Fraser: The Case of the Married Woman: Caroline Norton – a nineteenth-century heroine who wanted justice for women. Norton was the daughter of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, author of The School for Scandal.

In Brief Review of: Krishan Kumar: Empires: A historical and political sociology. See also 2 letters on a related essay by Kumar in the TLS letters section.

Editado: Jun 2, 9:16pm

Swiss solipsism. "Each of Bernhard’s works is a great storehouse of society’s abuses, both real and imagined."

Dustin Illingworth. The Baffler, 06/02.2021:Old Master: Thomas Bernhard’s victory in defeat.

Editado: Jun 2, 9:15pm

"Reading America through more than two centuries of its favorite books."

Louis Menand. The New Yorker, 05/31/2021: What Our Biggest Best-Sellers Tell Us About a Nation's Soul. Review of: Jess McHugh: Americanon: An Unexpected U.S. History in Thirteen Bestselling Books.

Jun 2, 9:20pm

Jun 2, 9:25pm

The post-Cold War spy novel genre:

Michael Mandlebaum. American Purpose, 05/28/2021: The Fate of the Spy Novel.

Jun 2, 9:30pm

Philosopher Martha Nussbaum talks about her new book, Citadels of Pride: Sexual Abuse, Accountability, and Reconciliation:

Isaac Chotiner. The New Yorker, 06/01/2021: Martha Nussbaum on #MeToo.

Jun 2, 9:40pm

The younger generation's antipathy to post-modernism in literature:

Justin St. Clair. LARB, 06/01/2021: An Antidote to Orthodoxy. Nominally a review of J.M. Tyree, The Counterforce: Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. By the way, Inherent Vice is a novel by Pynchon, not about his proclivities.

Jun 2, 9:45pm

Two philosophers debate free will:

David Voron. LARB, 06/01/2021: Can We Only Wish What We Must? Review of: Daniel C. Dennet & Gregg D. Caruso: Just Deserts: Debating Free Will.

Editado: Jun 2, 9:51pm

A new entry in Public Books' B-Sides series -- on overlooked books, though I find it hard to believe DeWitt's The Last Samurai has been relegated to obscurity (but then LT's touchstone algorithm first pulls up the movie with Tom Cruise!):

Toril Moi. Public Books, 06/01/2021: B-Sides: Helen DeWitt's The Last Samurai.

Jun 2, 9:55pm

"Critics tend to discount Rich’s later poems, fundamentally misunderstanding how they engage her radical vision of community."

Ed Pavlic. Boston Review, 05/26/2021: Adrienne Rich’s Solitudes.

Editado: Jun 9, 11:21pm

Tribute to J. Hillis Miller, a great interpreter & thoughtful theorist, doyenne of 19th century English literary criticism, the last of the "Yale School" professors (though he moved on to Irvine after a while). He never lost his enthusiasm for exploring new approaches to reading texts.

Leo Robson. New Left Review, 06/08/2021: Canny Reader..

Jun 9, 11:20pm

TLS, June 11, no. 6167:


Rosinka Chaudhuri. Tacitus, Tagore: Two studies of a remarkably neglected polymath. Review of: Bashabi Fraser: Rabindranath Tagore -- Sukanta Chaudhuri, editor: The Cambridge Companion to Rabindranath Tagore.

Gordon Mcmullan. Stylistic worlds: Shakespeare and his collaborators. Review of: Rory Loughnane and Andrew J. Power, editors: Early Shakespeare, 1588–1594.

Robert Macfarlane. Wonder and wormwood: Robert Macfarlane revisits the ‘strange suspended space-time’ of Hardy’s Wessex. Extract from Macfarlane's introduction to Hardy's Selected Poetry in a new Folio Society edition.

Kate Kennedy. Hurt into poetry: Ivor Gurney, asylum modernist. (Essay)

In Brief Review of: William Palmer: In Love With Hell: Drink in the lives and work of eleven writers.

Also the NB Column has an interesting paragraph or two on Jeanette Winterson's Twitter book burning of her own books.


Ruth Scurr. Filling out a portrait?: The life of an artist who served kings, not their ideologies. Review of: Janis A. Tomlinson: Goya: A portrait of the artist.

Colin Grant. On the freedom trail: Escaping the savagery of a society built on enslavement. Review of the Amazon Prime streaming services series, The Underground Railroad. based on Colson Whitehead's novel The Underground Railroad.

Language & Linguistics:

Joshua Katz. Nothing to speak of: The absence of evidence for Neanderthal language. Review of Rudolf Botha: Neanderthal Language: Demystifying the linguistic powers of our extinct cousins.


R. I. Moore. Pious frauds: How history was rewritten in the Early Middle Ages. Review of: Levi Roach: Forgery and Memory at the End of the First Millennium.

Alison Shell. Sacred spaces: Spiritual and secular idealism meet in churches and pilgrimages. Review of: Alan Doig: A History of the Church Through Its Buildings and Derry Brabbs: Great Pilgrimage Sites of Europe.


Jonathan Buckley. Places that transport: Europe’s strangest terroirs. Review of: Nick Hunt: Outlandish: Walking Europe’s unlikely landscapes.

Lindsay Duguid. The long march: In the footsteps of Garibaldi. Review of: Tim Parks: The Hero's Way: Walking with Garibaldi from Rome to Ravenna.

Jun 16, 6:40pm

TLS, June 18, 2021, no. 6168:


Philip Horne. An element of the cruel: What Henry James found when he went back to America. Review of: Henry James, edited by Peter Collister: The American Scene. By the way, published by Cambridge University Press, not Library of America.

Jakob Hofmann: Coring the Big Apple: The ‘Father of Greater New York’ in The Great Mistake by Jonathan Lee. Review of Lee's: The Great Mistake: A Novel.

Natasha Lehrer. Riddles of the Nile
Memories of a mysterious boyhood friendship in Antiquities by Cynthia Ozick
. Review of Cynthia Ozick: Antiquities.

Margaret Drabble. Waking up the soil: Fresh, timeless translations of two novels by Cesare Pavese. Review of Cesare Pavese, translator Tim Parks: The Moon and the Bonfires -- The House on the Hill.

Natasha Heller. The princess and the sage: The Buddha’s story from his wife’s point of view. Review of: Vanessa R. Sasson: Yasodhara and the Buddha.


Paul Griffiths. Playing the game: How Mozart remade what he found in the world. Review of: Jan Swafford: Mozart: the Reign of Love -- Daniel E. Freeman: Mozart in Prague, and a performance of Mozart: La Clemenza di Tito.

Bruce Boucher. Embodiments of energy: Rodin’s incessant urge to create and animate. Review of: Nabila Abdel Nabi, Chloé Ariot, and Achim Borchardt-Hume, editors: The Making of Rodin in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name at the Tate Modern.

Kathryn Hughes. Go ask Alice, I think she’ll know: The far-reaching influence of a Victorian Wonderland. Review of a novel by Jake Fior: Through a Glass Darkly and a multi-media exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum: Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser .

History and Culture:

Robert Gildea. Imperial blether: How the British fool themselves about their colonial past. Review of: Priya Satia: Time's Monster: History, conscience and Britain’s Empire.

Tim Whitmarsh. Homer without the horse: A Roman reinterpretation of the Trojan War. Review of Frederic Clark: The First Pagan Historian: The fortunes of a fraud from Antiquity to the Enlightenment.

Catharine Edwards. Peak performers: Ancient and modern literary mountaineers. Review of: Dawn Hollis and Jason König, editors: Mountain Dialogues from Antiquity to Modernity.

D. J. Taylor. Larger than life: How to go about writing an obituary. (Essay)

Lesley Downer. Olympic Success: A sports journalist observes a changing Tokyo. Review of: Robert Whiting: Tokyo Junkie: Sixty years of bright lights and back alleys … and baseball.

Scott Sherman. Living with the monster: A stylish account of Mexico City and its history of disaster. Review of: Juan Villoro, translated by Alfred MacAdam: Horizontal Vertigo: a City Called Mexico.

In Brief Review of: Raymond Geuss: Who Needs a Worldview?.

Editado: Jun 18, 12:04pm

Remembering New Yorker writer Janet Malcolm:

Katharine Q. Seelye. NYT, 06/18/2021:Janet Malcolm, Provocative Journalist With a Piercing Eye, Dies at 86.

Ian Frazier. New Yorker, 06/28/2021: Remembering Janet Malcolm, who wrote and live with bravery and kindness.

David Remnick. New Yorker, 06/17/2021: Janet Malcolm in the New Yorker.

Also, New Yorker, 06/17/2021: Janet Malcolm, Remembered by Other Writers.

Jun 18, 2:22pm

Getting Dante more mainstream:

Justin Steinberg. Public Books, 06/16/2021: Four Ways to Ruin Dante -- and One to Save Him.

Save Dante by becoming Erich Auerbach or Leo Spitzer? Nobody has the background education of these savants anymore. They weren't just "smart" laymen.

Jun 18, 2:28pm

LitHub has an article from TriQuarterly on Alice Munro:

Benjamin Hedin. LitHub, 06/16/2021: Is Alice Munro’s Lone Novel… Even a Novel?. "Benjamin Hedin on the Formal Mastery of The Lives of Girls and Women."

Jun 26, 4:24pm

TLS, June 25, 2021, no. 6169:

Literature, Arts, & Bibliography:

Summer books 2021: Our contributors provide their seasonal reading lists.

Janet Montefiore. Fairy tales from the morning of the world: The first full-length study of Kipling’s Just So Stories. Review of: John Batchelor: How the Just So Stories Were Made: The brilliance and tragedy behind Kipling’s celebrated tales for little children.

Elaine Showalter. Learning to Fight Back: A biographer’s revenge on sexist scholars and other gatekeepers. Review of: Deirdre Bair: Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir and Me: A memoir.

A.S.G. Edwards. Getting the story right: The vision and meticulous work of a celebrated scholar-collector. Review of: G. Thomas Tanselle: Descriptive Bibliography and American Publication History: The Tanselle Collection.

Jenny Williams. Rooted in the rocks: Stories that celebrate the forces of nature. Review of: Adalbert Stifter, Translated by Isabel Fargo Cole: Motley Stones.

Thomas Dilworth. Cowed no longer: A celebration of courage in a viral limerick. (Essay)

Amy Wilcockson & Edmund Downey. Octopods and icicles: Three newly discovered manuscripts by Edward Lear. (Essay)

In Brief Review of: Geoff Dyer. See/Saw: Looking at Photographs.

Buried in the TLS Letters section, this anecdote from Mark Atherton on an early encounter between technology and literature:

"Anne Margaret Daniel (Letters, June 18) likes hearing F. Scott Fitzgerald being himself in a recording in which he can’t remember the end of the third stanza of “Ode to a Nightingale”. Personally, I take considerable pleasure in the Edison cylinder of Browning reciting, in 1889, “How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix”. He gets the first line wrong (“I sprang to the saddle” instead of “stirrup”), misses out the third line, gets the fourth line wrong and then says “I’m terribly sorry but I can’t remember me own verses”, before giving three cheers for the “wonderful invention”."

History & Society:

Daniel Beer. The crossroads of history: Central Asia, a ‘laboratory’ of colonialism, revolution and nation building. Review of: Alexander Morrison: The Russian Conquest of Central Asia: A study in imperial expansion, 1814–1914 and Adeeb Khalid: Central Asia: A new history from the imperial conquests to the present.

Shushma Malik. Finding Nero: The many narratives of an infamous emperor. Review of the British Museum exhibition: Nero: the Man Behind the Myth.

Jennifer Sang. Wet markets, dry noodles: China’s history told via its eight culinary styles. Review of: Jonathan Clements: The Emperor's Feast: a history of China in twelve meals.

Ann Kennedy Smith. In the field at last: A biography of five pioneering women anthropologists. Review of: Frances Larson: Undreamed Shores: The hidden heroines of British anthropology.

Jane Humphries & Ben Schneider. I, robot worker: Employment, growth and problematic technology. Review of: Roger Bootle: The AI Economy: Work, wealth and welfare in the robot age and Aaron Benanav: Automation and the Future of Work.

Christopher Mole. Famous wet raincoat: What the human mind can do that the man-made one can’t. Review of: Erik J. Larson: The Myth of Artificial Intelligence: Why computers can’t think the way we do.

Michele Pridmore-Brown. Paternal effects: What science can tell us about manliness. Review of: Sharon Moalem: The Better Half: On the genetic superiority of women -- Matthew Gutmann: Are Men Animals?: How modern masculinity sells men short -- Rene Almeling: Guynecology: The missing science of men’s reproductive health.

Jun 26, 5:16pm

From the June 26, 2021 issue of Literary Review:

Sarah Watling. Relics, Ruins & Worm-eaten Things. Review of Rosemary Hill: Time’s Witness: History in the Age of Romanticism.

Joanna Walters. Pills & Patronage. Review of: Patrick Radden Keefe: Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty.

Jonathan Meades. Et Tu, Brute? Review of: Michael Burleigh: Day of the Assassins: A History of Political Murder.

Lawrence Freedman. Countdown to Armageddon. Review of: Serhii Plokhy: Nuclear Folly: A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

John Burnside. Et in Orcadia Ego. Review of: George Mackay Brown: An Orkney Tapestry.

Editado: Jul 2, 1:37pm

From Five Books; the title of the posting refers to the modern Middle East, and the books are "pioneering," not necessarily the latest.

Fawaz A. Gerges, interviewed by Benedict King. fivebooks.com, 06/28/2021: The best books on The Middle East recommended by Fawaz A. Gerges.

Gerges, professor and Middle Eastern specialist at London School of Economics, is the author of: Making the Arab World: Nasser, Qutb, and the Clash That Shaped the Middle East

Jul 2, 1:39pm

From NYRB, June 30, 2021:

Elaine Blair. Janet Malcolm’s Subtle Comedy.

Editado: Jul 2, 2:28pm

A new Library of America collection of O. Henry's short stories:

Louis Menand. The New Yorker, 06/28/2021: Are All Short Stories O. Henry Stories? Review of: O. Henry, editor Ben Yagoda: O. Henry: 101 Stories (Library of America).

Jul 2, 5:02pm

Filling in the blanks for Nat Turner -- a "creative history":

Alberto Toscano. Boston Review, 06/30/2021: Looking for Nat Turner. Review of: Christopher Tomlins: In the Matter of Nat Turner: A Speculative History.