Maigret, Dresden, Islamic State, Sylvia Plath, Ukraine: The War

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Maigret’s Jurisdiction

Elliott Cotta | LA Review Of Books | 15th February 2015

"Police stories are so ubiquitous today that it is hard to remember back to when detectives tended not to be police. It’s even harder to imagine that the police hero had to be invented in the first place. But that is more or less what Simenon did back in 1930 when he created the jaded, savvy Maigret, dressed always in an overcoat, his pipe in one hand, a beer in the other, and his wife half-forgotten at home" (2,940 words)

The Bombing Of Dresden

Elliott Marsh | Global Aviation Resource | 13th February 2015

British airmen and German victims share accounts of the British bombing raid which razed Dresden in 1945. "I don’t think it entered our heads at all that our bombs would kill civilians”, claims one pilot. The horrific photographs of charred corpses shown here tell otherwise. The stated purpose of the raid was to aid the Russian advance by destroying railway yards supplying German troops on the eastern front (5,400 words)

Islamic State’s Grand Strategy

Alastair Crooke | Huffington Post | 14th February 2015

The Islamic State is playing out an end-time prophecy in which it establishes an ultimate caliphate, defeats the infidel, and brings about the redemption of the Islamic world. This script requires the West to be drawn into a final battle. Boots on the ground. Everything that Islamic State does, including the burning-alive of a Jordanian pilot, drawing Jordan deeper into the Western camp, is calculated to bring about this end (2,170 words)

On Sylvia Plath

Elizabeth Hardwick | New York Review Of Books | 12th August 1971

"For all the drama of her biography, there is a peculiar remoteness about Sylvia Plath. A destiny of such violent self-definition does not always bring the real person nearer; it tends, rather, to invite iconography, to freeze our assumptions and responses. As an event she stands with Hart Crane, Scott Fitzgerald, and Poe rather than with Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, or Elizabeth Bishop" (4,990 words)

Hearts And Minds In Ukraine

Max Seddon | Buzzfeed | 13th February 2015

Report from rebel-held eastern Ukraine. "In the very areas Ukraine is fighting to regain, artillery bombardment and economic blockade have hardened attitudes to the point of no return. Almost every day, shelling claims the lives of civilians: someone’s mother, husband, child. Every day, reconciliation between millions of Ukrainian citizens here and the Ukrainian government seems even further off" (2,090 words)

Video of the day: Oh! My Love

What to expect: Excerpt from an art installation. Swooshing liquids, dancing points and lines (4')

Thought for the day

Stupidity comes from having an answer to everything
Milan Kundera (

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