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{ Category Archives } Reading

Eco and Defamiliarization in Reverse

I am a huge fan of Eco. One of the many things I love about his work is the way his historical fiction does not stop at building an “accurate” portrayal of the physical universe of whatever time period his story takes place in, but works to accomplish the far more difficult task of building […]

Mark Twain, Traitor

I really enjoyed an article I found by chance today about Twain’s attempts to narrate and justify his conduct during the US Civil War. From the closing paragraph: My title, “Mark Twain, Traitor,” hails the Mark Twain who appears as such in his major work, whose text is constantly involved with the question of betrayal, […]

Of Knols, Trolls, and Goblins

Google recently announced its new Knol Project. Quite a number of news articles and many more blog postings have appeared to comment on the launch of the new project. I’m rather puzzled by a lot of concerns shown by some whose writing on similar issues I usually admire. Further down in this posting, I will […]

Making Choices in Research

I have recently switched to almost full-time reading of early postwar Korean newspapers. I’m avoiding those newspapers (조선일보, 동아일보, 서울신문) from this period that I have easy access to back in my library in the US or through online databases. There are two bound and published collections with copies of early postwar newspapers easily available […]

The File and the Ethics of Transitional Justice

Timothy Garton Ash The File: A Personal History (BF) The File is a highly reflective and contemplative journey of the author Timothy Garton Ash, a trained historian and journalist, through his East German Ministry for State Security (MfS or Stasi) file. Ash has written widely about central and eastern Europe in the last years and […]

Five Varieties of Homo sapiens

Carl Linné, who plays an important role in the creation of the nomenclature of the biological world (Linnaeus, W) separated the homo sapiens into a number of subcategories (1758). 1. Wild man. Four-footed, mute, hairy. 2. American. Copper-coloured, choleric, erect. Hair black, straight, thick; nostrils wide; face harsh; beard, scanty; obstinate, content, free. Paints himself […]

Losing Your Language

Another book I looked through today was a fascinating memoir by a Osvald Harjo Moskva kjenner ingen tårer (Moscow knows no tears). Harjo was raised a Communist in northern Norway. Even before World War II his family often housed Russian intelligence officers and helped them transmit intelligence back to the Soviet Union. During the war […]

Word of the day: onomastic

As always, my reading provides me lots of opportunities to learn new words. In a discussion of the French royal cosmographer Thevet’s fantastical lists of creatures, places, and monuments: In this exercise in Rabelaisian nomenclature, Colossus generates Column by, it seems, the repetition of a common radical; Ypodrome proceeds from pyramid by inverting the first […]

Henry Luce and The American Century

I have been looking at various conceptions of internationalism and especially world federalism in early postwar Japan and for background research, the history of similar movements worldwide. One article which popped up during the course of my reading was the famous February 1941 Life magazine editorial by publisher Henry Luce entitled “The American Century.” I […]

Speaking of Totalitarianism: Linking Fascism and Communism

Another issue that Lagrou takes a close look at in The Legacy of Nazi Occupation is the effective move by anti-Communist forces in the early postwar period (especially from 1947 on) to build a close tie between the Communist enemy and the strong existing anti-Fascist sentiment in the aftermath of the war. This is none […]