Roddy Howland Jackson | Public Domain Review | 12th January 2022 | U
T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land was once derided by a critic as a “pompous cross-word puzzle” but the connection between modernist poetry and the cryptic crossword — both of which flowered in the 1920s — was far stronger than a cheap jibe. Both could be said to provide "a uniquely vital opportunity for defamiliarising language" in order to reveal "portals into surprising realities" (3,630 words)
Martha C. Nussbaum | Liberties | 9th January 2022 | U
Philosopher's take on the "disgust with the body, this anti-corporeal campaign" that is so deeply embedded in our culture and collective psyche. Although she ranges widely across the literary canon, it is Leopold Bloom from Joyce's Ulysses that offers a three-part alternative to this instinctive hatred of the flesh. Rather, approach the body with kindly empathy and, crucially, humour (6,143 words)
Alexander Larman | The Critic | 8th January 2022 | U
Personal reminiscence to mark the centenary of Richmal Crompton's Just William and its titular character: an "outlaw, committed dog owner and perpetual enemy of soap-and-water". Even with her bizarre detour into antisemitism in the 1930s, "Crompton’s universe remains one of the most striking fictional achievements that any children’s writer has created in the English language" (1,205 words)
Anonymous and Nell Zink | n+1 | 6th January 2022 | U
Novelist introduces translated excerpts from the Stasi records detailing the ten-year surveillance operation carried out on her friend, an East German environmentalist. "Mostly it makes you shake your head in amazement that a state short of money would have employed multiple people to surveil a struggling freelancer." More compelling than most modern drama (6,170 words)
Shelley Puhak | Smithsonian | 6th January 2022 | U
Introduction to a forthcoming double biography of two largely overlooked queens from sixth century Merovingian France. Sisters-in-law and rivals, Brunhild and Fredegund between them shared an empire that "encompassed modern-day France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, western and southern Germany, and swaths of Switzerland" despite a prohibition on female rule (5,534 words)
Podcast: Sliding Doors | Sweet Bobby. Difficult to describe without spoiling. A catfishing story with an unusually long timeframe about a radio DJ who meets an apparently respectable cardiologist online. He's too good to be true (31m 11s)
Video: Restaurant Of Mistaken Orders | YouTube | 注文をまちがえる料理店一般社団法人. Introduction to a restaurant at which all the serving staff have dementia, conceived as a way to promote greater understanding of the condition (2m 02s)
"God made food; the devil the cooks"
― James Joyce
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