I have updated the Glimmerglass page, cutting and adding and tweaking, and wouldn't mind a bit any comments to improve it. Launch events will start later in the month. Right now I'm working on the final stages of a manuscript...
The Uses of Tolkien
I've noticed a growing number of slight mentions of of Tolkien in the context of current events. Victor Davis Hansen has just dug into that vein of comparison. Here Hansen analyzes the state of the world, launching off from The Lord of the Rings.
I'm loving all these facebook lists of books that affected people and stuck with them. Every now and then I bump into one of mine--so far I've seen A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, Thaliad, Ingledove, and Catherwood on lists. Catherwood is out ahead of the rest. Considering that people can dive back more than a thousand years through English language books alone, I am tickled.
"10 books" from that lovely poet and man, Dave Favier
The King of Elfland's Daughter, Lord Dunsany
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt
Marx's 1844 manuscripts
A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, Marly Youmans
All the Strange Hours, Loren Eisley
Leaves of Grass, Whitman
William Blake's lyric poetry
Juan Luna's Revolver, Luisa A. Igloria*
William Butler Yeats' lyric poetry
The Walls Do Not Fall, H.D.
History of the Civil War, Shelby Foote
Vanity Fair, Wm Thackeray
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
Debt: the first 5,000 years, David Graeber
*Note: Luisa and I will be reading together this month! See here. I'll also be reading from Glimmerglass with Philip Lee Williams, Lev Grossman, Kelly Link (and Raymond-Atkins-if-we-work-it-out...)
Bill Knight commented, "I had Marly Youmans on my list as well, but it was "The Thaliad", not "A Death", which I have not read." So that's the first I've seen for Thaliad.
Free speech (h/t @prufrocknews)
Wordsmiths rely on free speech. Academics ought to know what it means. But in our time, is it any surprise that the chancellor of Berkeley gets it wrong? Administrators have a weird challenge; they tend to be tugged toward a Babel of obfuscation, sophistry, word-inflation, falsehood, and jargon. It's evidently hard to resist. Go here for an interesting takedown and analysis of the chancellor's letter to the university. Here's a sample:
First, observe the hidden premise Chancellor Dirks is presenting — that free speech must have "meaning." This implies that speech that does not have "meaning" — as defined, one presumes, by Chancellor Dirks or a committee of people like him — then it is not "free speech," and perhaps is not entitled to protection. Dirks is smuggling a vague and easily malleable precondition to free speech. There is no such precondition. Our rights are not limited by some free-floating test of merit or meaning.It gets tougher from there...