I don’t know much about philosophy, but Philip Kitcher does. I was intrigued by his book, Deaths in Venice: The Cases of Gustav von Aschenbach (buy from Columbia UP or Amazon), which focuses on the philosophical connections found in Thomas Mann’s novella, Death in Venice, and film and opera versions of it. I wrote to him to ask him for an interview about his book, and he graciously agreed.
“Plato may have done philosophy, but he wrote dramas.” That is one of the first lines in Paul W. Kahn’s new book, Finding Ourselves at the Movies: Philosophy for a New Generation (buy from Columbia UP or Amazon). Kahn points out that many of us get little exposure to philosophy in school or elsewhere in our lives. In his book, he makes the case for the value of philosophy and argues that one of the best venues for exposure to it is popular culture: the movies, specifically. I wrote to Mr. Kahn to ask for an interview. He graciously agreed and this is the result.
Quick: name the top five living American poets. Now name the top three poetry critics. Name the last book of poetry you bought.
Emergent canons. That is a phrase worth pondering. In her new book, What Is a Classic? Postcolonial Rewriting and Invention of the Canon (buy from Amazon or Stanford UP) Dr. Ankhi Mukherjee challenges us to think about who gets to determine what a “classic” of literature is and how these processes are changing. Many of those changes are due to the rise and acceptance of new voices worldwide in the literary arts. Important matters for all who care about culture. I wrote to ask Dr. Mukherjee for an interview. She graciously agreed and this is the result.
I am a sucker for cute book titles and anything to do with digital culture. So when I heard that no less than Harvard Business Review Press had published a book called, Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating by the Stanford University academic, Paul Oyer, I had to interview the guy. Luckily, he agreed to the interview and this is the result. Continue reading →
We don’t usually think of archives as sites of political or scholarly activism. A few weeks ago, while browsing on the website of Temple University Press, I came across the book, The Archival Turn in Feminism: Outrage in Order by Kate Eichhorn. I was intrigued by the idea of something so old-fashioned and sedate (archives) being used by feminists to support a vibrant style of scholarship. I didn’t really associate cataloging and preservation with young feminist activists. What was all this about? I wrote and asked for an interview with Dr. Eichhorn and this is the result. Continue reading →
For those of us interested in the latest trends in publishing, Amazon’s recent launch of the Kindle Worlds fanfiction platform is a significant development. It is billed by Amazon as “a place for you to publish fanfiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games.” Time to get up to speed on the basics of fanfiction. And as it happens, we have an ambassador from the world of academia to help us.
People who create genres and new professions are fascinating. We are fortunate that there is now a biography of Sylvia Porter (1913–1991), who basically created personal finance journalism. Porter was also a trailblazing woman in what was then the male-dominated field of business journalism. Additionally, biography in general and what it takes to write and publish one these days are interesting topics. Therefore, I wrote to Tracy Lucht, the author of Sylvia Porter: America’s Original Personal Finance Columnist, to ask for an interview, and this is the result.
Nothing is quite as interesting as new approaches to literature. Recently, I came across a new book from Syracuse University Press, Disability Rhetoric, and I wondered: what is disability rhetoric? The publicity material for the book says, “Disability Rhetoric is the first book to view rhetorical theory and history through the lens of disability studies” and that the book argues that greater attention to a range of bodies is essential to a better understanding of rhetorical histories, theories, and possibilities.
That all sounded interesting and important. I asked the author of the book, Jay Dolmage, for an interview, and this is the result.
Theodore Ziolkowski’s latest book, Lure of the Arcane, explores conspiracy theories in literature. Today, he discusses some of his most intriguing examples.
We seem to be living in a golden age of the conspiracy theory. Nothing is ever what it appeared to be to those who are convinced there was a conspiracy behind almost every significant public act of violence or scandal, and that dark forces lurk round every corner.
The Kennedy assassination. The destruction of the World Trade Center. Even Hillary Clinton used the term, “vast right-wing conspiracy” during her husband’s presidency. How has conspiracy been portrayed in literary works over the centuries, and how might depictions of it help us to understand our world today? As I browsed one day a few months ago on the website of Johns Hopkins University Press I came upon the webpage of the book Lure of the Arcane: The Literature of Cult and Conspiracy by Theodore Ziolkowski. This looked promising. I wrote to Mr. Ziolkowski to ask him for an interview. He graciously agreed and this is the result. Continue reading →