Review: Jan Swafford’s “Mozart: The Reign of Love”

“The problem is that this story of Mozart that we think we know is not true at all; thankfully, Jan Swafford is here to correct the problem.”

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Review: “The Klondike Bake-Oven Deaths”

“In a novel to be released later this month, Hornblum—perhaps best known for his 1998 non-fiction book Acres of Skin, which centers on different events at Holmesburg Prison—retells the calamitous events of August, 1938.”

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What Ortega y Gasset and Orwell Both Foresaw

(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

“Both Ortega and Orwell concluded that the Left was in trouble as a result of these developments, and their analyses and diagnoses pointed the way forward to the situation we have today in the West.”

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The Moral Philosophy of Plutarch

While not all of his essays are explicitly moral in orientation, nearly all of Plutarch’s essays have moral instruction and guidance baked into them.”

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Review: Nicholas McDowell’s “Poet of Revolution: The Making of John Milton”

(Stock Montage/Getty Images)

As McDowell suggests, it was the liberating and open environment of humanist education that moved Milton more than any theological or political zeal, and it seized Milton at an early age.”

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Don’t Cancel the Classics—We Need Them More Than Ever

(Francesco Solimena’s “Priam in the Tent of Achilles”)

Those who are adamant that love will trump hate, heal the world, and divinize us are not articulating anything new. The Greeks are still singing to us the songs of humanistic love as the spirit that will heal the world.”

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Beware the Interpreter: “Hillbilly Elegy” as a Prime Example

(Netflix)

Vance’s critics could benefit from a basic overview of the difference between a primary and secondary source, and between the personal and the systemic.”

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Ten Novels for Understanding the Modern British Identity

(Graeme Robertson/eyevine /Redux)

Therefore, in the spirit of diversity and exploration, I have compiled a list of what I see as the ten best novels on modern British identity, to remind us that British identity is not exhausted by the referendum divides…”

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A Once-Unnecessary Reminder: Criticism Produces Good Works

(Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)

“My own song ‘Alabama’ richly deserved the shot Lynyrd Skynyrd gave me with their great record. I don’t like my words when I listen to it. They are accusatory and condescending…”

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Review: Clint Margrave’s “Lying Bastard”

Lying Bastard is a work of the zeitgeist. Disgruntled intellectuals. Returning war veterans just beginning their higher education. A school shooting. The fraud of academicians. Societal exploitation.”

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Self-Determination and Philip K. Dick’s “Ubik”

The ultimate message it proffers—Ubik the substance, Ubik the book—is one of self-determination despite humanity’s manifest lack of control and certainty.”

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“Gone with the Wind” Isn’t Going Anywhere

What is a classic? What is an epic? These two questions loom over any reader of Gone with the Wind (and great literature, more generally).”

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The Oedipus Complex of a Nation in Flux

Reading it specifically in the context of the current societal struggles and apparently widespread cultural conflicts occurring in the United States today, the myth imbues the reader with a redoubled vigilance.”

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What “The Merchant of Venice” Has to Say about Justice

(From the Jewish Chronicle Archive/Heritage-Images)

“Just as it was in Shakespeare’s time, the questions of justice, mercy, and society remain as relevant as ever before, and we have much to learn from the great bard of Anglodom.”

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Achilles, Priam, and the Redemptive Power of Forgiveness

(Gavin Hamilton’s Priam Pleading with Achilles for the Body of Hector)

For all the battle scenes, violent sex, and rage that fills the poem, the most memorable scenes in the poem are moments of love—especially loving moments of embrace.”

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