A Declaration of Liberty

July 4 2020 A Declaration of Liberty      As we celebrate Independence Day, I offer you a meditation on the contradictions of power, the frailty of order, the illusion of authority, the  relativity of truth and the falsification of history in service to power and authority in the form of a story, originally written as … Continue reading A Declaration of Liberty

Susan Sontag, on her birthday January 16, 2020 revision

“The point is not to teach us something in particular. The point is to make us bold, agile, subtle, intelligent, detached. And to give pleasure.”  Susan Sontag      An inescapable force of protean genius, her subversion of critical theory and practice cast a looming shadow over our culture for decades.      Like the protagonist in … Continue reading Susan Sontag, on her birthday January 16, 2020 revision

The best books of 2019, the ones we’ll still be reading a thousand years from now

Best Fiction: Plow Over The Bones of the Dead, Olga Tokarczuk      Wonderful and strange novel which won the Nobel Prize; unlike Jerzy Kosinski she has thus far escaped the consequences of the Polish government’s Holocaust denial.  Blake is a special love of mine, and her use of his mythology is brilliant and a dazzling … Continue reading The best books of 2019, the ones we’ll still be reading a thousand years from now

Jay’s Revised Modern Canon 2019 Edition World Literature: Spain

Buried Mirror, Fuentes      Farewell Espana, Sachar      Age of Philip II, Braudel      1492: The Year the World Began, A Foot in the River, Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States, The World: A History, Millennium: A History of the Last Thousand Years, Columbus, Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration, Ideas That … Continue reading Jay’s Revised Modern Canon 2019 Edition World Literature: Spain

Jay’s Revised Modern Canon 2019 edition World Literature: Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden. & Denmark

The Edge of the World: A Cultural History of the North Sea and the Transformation of Europe, Michael Pye       A History of the Vikings, Gwynn Jones      The Viking World, Brink ed      Norse Mythology, John Lindow      The Cambridge Introduction to the Old Norse-Icelandic Saga, Margaret Ross      The Last Viking Trilogy: The … Continue reading Jay’s Revised Modern Canon 2019 edition World Literature: Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden. & Denmark

Jay’s Revised Modern Canon 2019 Edition World Literature: Russia

Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia, Suzanne Massie      Natasha’s Dance:: a cultural history of Russia, Revolutionary Russia 1891-1991, Orlando Figes      Russia and the Russians: A History, Geoffrey Hosking      Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Robert K. Massie      St Petersburg: a history, Solomon Volkov      Baba Yaga: The Wild … Continue reading Jay’s Revised Modern Canon 2019 Edition World Literature: Russia

Jay’s Revised Modern Canon 2019 Edition World Literature: Portugal

Journey to Portugal: history and culture, Jose Saramago      Prince Henry “the Navigator”: A Life, Peter E. Russell     The Lusiads, Luís de Camões     The Crime of Father Amaro, Eça de Queirós      The Book of Disquiet, Fernando Pessoa      The Inquisitors’ Manual, The Natural Order of Things, Act of the Damned, An Explanation … Continue reading Jay’s Revised Modern Canon 2019 Edition World Literature: Portugal

Jay’s Revised Modern Canon 2019 Edition World Literature: the Netherlands

The Dutch Golden Age: gateway to our modern world, Hans Goedkoop      An Embarrassment of Riches, Rembrant’s Eyes, Simon Schama      Amsterdam, Russell Shorto      The Autumn of the Middle ages, Erasmus and the age of Reformation, John Huizinga      Van Gogh, Steven Naifeh & Gregory White-Smith      The Erasmus Reader      The Assault, Harry … Continue reading Jay’s Revised Modern Canon 2019 Edition World Literature: the Netherlands