Tolstoy, Greek, Globalisation, James Comey, China

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Who Killed Tolstoy?

Elif Batuman | Granta | 11th April 2018

In which the writer attends the International Tolstoy Conference at Leo Tolstoy’s Russian estate, to investigate whether Tolstoy was murdered by his embittered wife, Sonya, who had a known interest in poisoning. “Perhaps Sonya had used atropine to simulate the effects of a stroke. She might not have intended to kill her husband – just to provide grounds to invalidate his will. But, in his atropine-induced delirium, Tolstoy had embarked on his bizarre and fatal flight” (4,030 words)

Paul McMullen On How To Learn Greek

Katie Walker | Five Books | 12th April 2018

“Some see the alphabet as a barrier to entry for Greek and that’s why they’re hesitant to go Greek first. A lot of the letters look very similar. But if you set a day aside to learn the alphabet, then you’ve got it in hand. I remember in my first lesson at university learning ancient Greek, it wasn’t so much a day that was set aside as 48 seconds. ‘There are this many letters in the alphabet, this is what this means, this is how this sounds. Great, let’s begin reading shall we?’ So a day will be plenty” (4,900 words)

The Free-Trade Malaise

Krzysztof Pelc | Literary Review Of Canada | 30th March 2018

Reflections on Dani Rodrik’s trilemma of trade and governance. Rodrik argued that you can have any two of the following three things: Global economic integration, democratic representation, and the nation-state — but not all three at once. When he came up with the formula twenty years ago, influenced by the success of the European Union, he thought democracy and globalisation would prevail. But both are now in retreat, whereas the nation-state has proved unexpectedly robust (3,390 words)

An Interview With James Comey

George Stephanopoulos | ABC | 16th April 2018

Transcript. Riveting reading, especially if you missed the broadcast interview. Topics include Vince Foster, Dick Cheney, torture, Marc Rich, Hillary Clinton (lots), David Petraeus, Loretta Lynch, George Papadopoulos, James Clapper, Anthony Weiner, Russia, and Donald Trump (lots). “I liken President Trump in the book to a forest fire. Going to do tremendous damage. Going to damage important norms. But a forest fire gives healthy things a chance to grow that had no chance before that fire” (43,200 words)

Imperial History And Classical Aesthetics

Dan Wang | 17th April 2018

Notes on imperial Chinese government and culture. “I can find plenty of novel developments, like traveling circuits of censors, strategic grants of the salt monopoly, reliance on rites as a source of legitimacy, the list can go on. But I don’t have a grasp of which governance methods were important and why. Which conditions prompted their emergence? We hear a lot about the imperial examinations and rule by eunuchs; do we understand these systems pretty well at each point in time?” (3,100 words)

Video of the day The Forgotten Zoo

What to expect:

Meet the Ukrainian zoologist who cares for exotic animals abandoned by a deposed president (2’40”)

Thought for the day

I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true
Truman Capote

Podcast Toomas Ilves | The Lawfare Podcast:

Ex-President of Estonia talks to Ben Wittes about Russia, Nato, and global security
(52m 00s)

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