The Fragility of Politics: What Paul Ricoeur Can Teach Us About the French Election

Ricoeur was not an apologist for suspicion, but instead a defender of humanism, one who saw opposing ideas or ideals not in terms of dichotomies, but in terms of dialectics. An international school dedicated to pacifist ideals, the Collège Cévenol — still open these many years — is nestled in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, the Protestant village

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The Soul of the Body: William Empson’s “The Face of the Buddha”

(For a corrective, I advise reading Georges Dreyfus’s remarkable philosophical memoir The Sound of Two Hands Clapping.) But Empson’s instincts are generally sure-footed enough that he manages a respectable comparative study even in the face of large knowledge gaps. As John Haffenden’s biography chronicles, Empson had had a mild Anglican upbringing which did not take

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Sunday Submissions: ‘Transference’ Seeks Translated Arabic Poems for Fall 2017 Issue

Transference is published through the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Western Michigan University. The journal Transference is currently   inviting submissions of Arabic poetry translated into English: They’re also interested in poems   from the   Chinese, French, Old French, German, Classical Greek, Latin, or Japanese. It’s currently edited by   David Kutzko

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Shades of Gray and Black

Sonia looks at the television blankly in the first two panels, then in the third looks with the same wordless blankness at the viewer, or perhaps Kristen. This is a riveting use of memoir. Inside the cathedral, Seth, an urban explorer from the real world who was hit by a train and died while photographing

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An Unkempt Jeremiad

Half of the crowd was in half-naked costume, and half of those who weren’t were doing the full Monty. I would affirm that The People’s Police is a continuous pleasure to read were it not for the poor production values that persistently hobble the story. Still an unregenerate hippie at age 77, Spinrad revels in

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Protest Tea: Victoria Lomasko’s “Other Russias”

She presents the stories of freed slaves from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in a detached, objective manner. One can only wonder about the legal repercussions of this portrayal. Other Russias, Lomasko’s latest publication, is the first to appear in English. Once again, Lomasko doesn’t preach: “Drawing Lessons at a Juvenile Prison” makes no grand statements about

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The Story of ‘Ahmed and Aziz’ in a New French Novel, ‘The Orange Grove’

Through the description of the landscape and the context of an “enemy” invasion, suicide missions and a peace process, there are clear echoes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but elements of the Lebanese civil war and even the current Syrian crisis resonate here too. The country is deliberately unnamed, which emphasizes and prioritises the universality of

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Reveries from a Twilight City: The Great Lost Portrait of Weimar Berlin

Paranoia and phantasmagoria — staples of literary flânerie — are mostly absent from Walking in Berlin. Hessel, additionally, was an editor at Rowohlt Verlag when it published two of Benjamin’s most important books, One Way Street and Origin of the German Trauerspiel, in 1928. They threw the dying body a noble fighter into the water

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Back to the Well: Songwriters on Their Craft and Inspirations

Except for Brian Wilson, who clearly would rather be any place but in front of a tape recorder, Zollo’s subjects seem not only to enjoy their interviews, but also to appreciate their interlocutor’s insight. He distills the most salient passages of his conversations and renders compelling portraits. Speaking personally, I often cringe when I come

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Friday Finds: ‘Arabic Readers Are Devouring’ Books Translated from Chinese?

At the Cairo International Book Fair earlier this year books about the Belt and Road Initiative also proved popular.” It’s difficult to believe that in Egypt, where book sales have been suppressed, that any sector of publishing is on the rise, but Xinhua   reported that the House of Wisdom publishing company is seing growing

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LARB Radio Hour: Laura Poitras on “Risk,” Her New Film About Julian Assange; Plus, Russell Banks’s America

Both films place Poitras at the epicenter of two of the most significant politcal phenomena of our digital age, and in both instances, she has crafted brilliant films. LARB Radio Hour: Laura Poitras on “Risk,” Her New Film About Julian Assange; Plus, Russell Banks’s America By LARB AV –  May 4, 2017 Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras

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The State of Post-Truth

The collection’s titular essay scrutinizes the saga of a seabird sanctuary driven into the ground by an eccentric Howard Hughes type. “It does, but I think he tries not to change the natural landscape, but to design the course around it,” says Dale. I wanted a library. In “Going Diamond,” Gerard describes her parents’ brief

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White Fear’s Avatar: Chris Hayes on Trump and American Law and Order

Taxes were largely a question of duties and customs and border enforcement. So much of the country’s foundational experience is just being in this savage and brutal wilderness and imposing order upon it. Because those existed, people tried to evade them, and the way they were enforced was basically through policing power: searching ships, ensuring

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IPAF Judge Sophia Vasalou on the 2017 Panel’s Criteria, Advice to Future Judges, and ‘Obligatory Sex Scenes’

Another was where a novel had already enchanted me so much that trying out its translation in my head was a means of expressing and inhabiting that enchantment. Having been chosen to serve on the panel, you simply do the best and most conscientious job you can. Faced with a novel of high caliber, you

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Culture Machines: On Ed Finn’s “What Algorithms Want”

It comes as Finn describes participation in crowdfunding platforms — a humble but substantial part of this algorithmic public sphere — as a way for individuals to raise money and awareness in an era when SuperPACs and activist billionaires enjoy outsized political influence. He writes and teaches courses on science and technology in US literature

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Middle East, Middle Class: Pain and Privilege in Halma Alyan’s “Salt Houses”

In Atef’s first chapter, set in 1977, he complains of the influx of Westerners to the Arab neighborhood that he and Alia and the children live in, but also insists on sending their children to international schools. Each chapter shifts perspective, sticking close to the character, and with every new chapter, years pass in the

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51.4 Percent Insane, 48.6 Percent Melancholy: The Turkish Referendum

A society continuously denied any ability to speak about itself seems destined to produce any number of unintended consequences. In contrast, one could look to the practice of installing Stolpersteine, brass plaques in the sidewalk marking the last residence of Holocaust victims, as an example of nations attempting to own their past. It will always

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