Thursday, March 31, 2016

“Do I dare to eat a peach?”

My International Authors colleague Horace Jeffery Hodges has announced that an article he's co-written with Salwa Khoddam entitled "The Peach in Milton's Paradise Lost, Marvell's 'Garden,' and Eliot's 'Prufrock': Etymology, Sin, and Transgression" has been published in Medieval and Early Modern English Studies (Vol. 24, Nr. 1, 2016).

The abstract:
 The article investigates the peach as symbol of the forbidden fruit in Milton’s Paradise Lost, Marvell’s “Garden,” and Eliot’s “Prufrock.” Milton focuses on the fruit’s appearance as “downy,” Marvell refers to the peach as “curious,” and Eliot worries that to “dare” to eat a peach could disturb the universe. Milton’s choice of “downy” fits the peach better than what we would now call an apple. Marvell’s choice of “curious” fits the Christian world’s long-held belief that curiosity was the vice that led Eve to try the forbidden fruit. Eliot’s choice of “dare” fits Eve’s having “dar’d” to eat the forbidden fruit in Paradise Lost, for daring to eat the fruit can disturb the universe, as, for example, Eve’s eating did. These three points are supported by context, analysis, explication, connections, etymology, and more. Noted in passing are a few brief references in art and literature to the peach as the forbidden fruit, and these are treated merely to show that such identification is not unheard of. More important are the connections drawn between the fruit in the three poems, for such connections are the focus of this paper.
Please click HERE to view Professor Hodges' announcement.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Character Sketch

Matters of politics and liberal arts education aside, Allan Bloom is more interesting than the main character in Saul Bellow's roman à clef Ravelstein, though Abe Ravelstein is also interesting. The problem with Ravelstein is that for half the book Ravelstein is sick and dying.  A book about Bloom should be about Bloom living. Bellow provides ample "rumors" that a "Bloom mystique" exists, but he doesn't succeed in representing or re-creating that mystique.  Now, that said, the question seems to be, "Did Bloom actually possess a mystique?"  Consider the following in terms of a character sketch...

Sunday, March 27, 2016

An Easter Affirmation from Tasso

But now rise, rise out of the depths 
—may our speech emerge from the waves!
Let us look upwards, up towards the sky,
we will see the shore wonderfully adorned: 
the salt, drawn by the waves, nearly hardens
into white marble, and like deep-red stone
the beautiful coral glows in the air,
which formerly was soft grass underwater;
and among the shells, the hard pearl
shines white; and on the sandy waste
flames the gold, and like most precious gems
some stones are painted in many colors.
    --Torquato Tasso, Creation of the World, Day Five, 652-663

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016

Brief Note

Modern science is not empirical. It is skeptical-empirical. And our formulation of science--real science, science that works--is rooted in Judaeo-Christian scruples and an attention to nature that is, at root, engendered by discussions of "Natural Theology"--anticipated by Augustine, Abelard and Maimonides, and which took off in the wake of Aquinas and Occam... Locke, who we credit with formulating our understanding, was as interested in what we don't know as what we do know. Hence Hobbes vs. Locke, where Hobbes the empiricist believes the universe is a big machine, while Locke is happy to peaceably and correctly answer that this hypothesis just isn't supported by the evidence. In the wake of Hobbes, "determinists" seek to combine a neurotic need to explain everything with tyrannical systems of government and barbaric conceptions of the nature of authority.   Unfortunately, the efficacious implications of the Lockean view are lost on many. Very curious.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sky King

"Damnatio memoriae"?  Hardly. Sky King is the best!

Penny and Sky's Cessna 310B, the "Songbird"

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

PKD: Brief Note

Reading Philip K. Dick as if he is a science fiction writer brings limitations. To me his novels read like subtle allegories dealing with moral choice, confrontations with (or resolutions of) ambiguity, the vague yet sharp limits imposed upon us by politics and nature.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

International Authors News

Gareth Jackson and Andrew Singer have joined the IA board of editorial advisers.

Mr. Jackson is editor of Speculative Fictions and Mr. Singer is editor of Trafika Europe. These are publication projects that share much in common with International Authors, and their work has been published in Emanations. Andrew has also written a very positive review of Emanations 4 that appears in World Literature Today. Please click the highlighted links to view the respective web pages.

More International Authors news soon.  Stay tuned, dear Highbrows.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Camp Carriacou from Above

The Highbrow community will recall my recent description of a camping trip in the Tobago Cays, involving catamarans, scuba diving, statistical analyses of crustation populations, gourmet dining, encounters with turtle poachers, rendezvous with exotic life forms and possible alternative expressions of sentient consciousness... I mentioned, in brief, that our point of departure was Camp Carriacou.  Further accounts of my adventures at Camp Carriacou and the surrounding islands will appear here from time to time.  Today, please enjoy this picture of the camp, taken from a Britten-Norman Islander.

I estimate this photograph was taken from an altitude of 3500 feet.

Photo credit: Peter Jackson

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Chart of Cosmic Exploration

The Chart of Cosmic Exploration shows every space mission to leave Earth’s orbit. The spacecraft and their trajectories through (and out of) the solar system are presented.

Please click HERE to view the chart in detail.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Jyotish Atrological Projections for the American Presidential Candidates

I was surprised to learn today that International Authors editorial board member and Emanations contributor Sushma Joshi is a practitioner of Jyotish Astrology.  In the 13 March post for her blog The Global and the Local, she presents the rundown for three 2016 presidential contenders: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders.  I think what I like about t his approach to the political process is the way antagonism and conflict are removed from the process, for with astrology it is simply a matter of following the stars. 

Here is a photograph of some of her charts. Evidently, she has been addressing the task with great alacrity.


Please click HERE for Sushma's analysis of the candidates and the year ahead in American politics..

Sushma Joshi

Friday, March 11, 2016

The New Technique

My International Authors colleagues Dario Rivarossa and Tiziana "Selkis" Grassi have been collaborating on new images that are worth examining in detail.  Here are a few samples from Dario's website:

As I've expressed them to Dario, my impressions:
 The technique is very very effective. Distinguished, sophisticated... and you have achieved something that looks genuinely "new." No small feat. Let's use this method to re-work some of the MC illustrations. Layers of activity, layers of form, layers of meaning, a gentle irony, burgeoning humor and insight. The compositional sophistication especially reflects the text beautifully.
I've written Dario and Tiziana about the possibility of pursuing more of these images for the forthcoming translation of Tasso's Creation of the World and for Emanations 6.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Literary Animation: The Scarecrow by Ibrahim al-Koni

Here is a brief excerpt of The Scarecrow by Ibrahim al-Koni, translated from Arabic by William M. Hutchins.The reader is Trafika Europe editor Andrew Singer.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Preparing Young Highbrows to Lead

Readers of my cracking romp of a novel Tally-Ho, Cornelius! are familiar with little Cappy and his lovable chum the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Cornelius, whose zany adventures culminate, appropriately enough, on the campus of the the fictitious "Johns Hopkins University Jacques Lacan Institute." How all of us--critics, readers, postmodern theologians, world-class academics, and the professional devotees of great literature--laughed and laughed at those madcap capers!  Well, the fun does not end there. In fact, in the real world today young people like little Cappy are actually learning to be grown-ups, moreover are learning to be leading grown-ups on the international stage. By way of example, let's take a quick look inside the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies:


It's reassuring to know that our global future is in such good hands. And it is charming, too, to consider how little Cappy was likewise taught by the postmodern divine (our very own Rev. Dr. Cornelius) to set aside his childish ways and think seriously about the important role he was to play in the exciting world of geopolitical policy making and progressive cultural leadership.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

New Pen and Ink Drawings from Troy Frantz

American artist Troy Frantz has posted new work on his website, including illustrations that appear in Emanations: 2 + 2 = 5.

Troy's work is characteristically dynamic and detailed.  "Drawing" upon various academic traditions, he pushes organic forms and synthetic patterns into compositions that are driven by a tension between classical aesthetics and contemporary concerns with structure and form.