Intellectual Affairs

Intellectual Affairs
July 13, 2011

No one would think of the call for papers as a literary genre. But the CFP can be distinguished from the usual run of academic memoranda by its appeal to the reader’s curiosity, ambition, and capacity to daydream -- and occasionally by its test of one’s power to suspend disbelief.

July 8, 2011

Every so often, one scholar will assess another’s book so harshly that it becomes legendary. The most durable example must be A.E. Housman, whose anti-blurbs retain their sting after a century and more. Housman is best-known for the verse in his collection A Shropeshire Lad (1896). But classicists still remember his often pointed reviews of other philologists’ editions of ancient poetry, and can sometimes quote snippets from memory.

June 29, 2011
A new approach to literary criticism looks at the history of energy sources. Scott McLemee checks its mileage.
June 22, 2011
A prominent photographer offers a portrait gallery of contemporary philosophers. Scott McLemee takes a look.
June 15, 2011
In both the Cold War and aftermath of 9/11, civil liberties took a hit. Scott McLemee reviews a historian's assessment.
June 8, 2011
A new book looks at the history of boredom. Scott McLemee is fascinated.
June 1, 2011
It's been almost twenty years since the death of an American intellectual maverick. But Scott McLemee finds there is plenty of life left in his work.
May 25, 2011
A new book considers the power of religion in the public sphere. Scott McLemee reads it while bracing for 2012.
May 18, 2011

Over the years there has emerged a body of Playboy scholarship, which I read around in, every once in a while, for the pictures. Actually, including images from the magazine seems to be a fairly recent development in this field. The pioneers were unable to do so (not much room for porn in the academic publishing world until fairly recently), and their their work sometimes suffered for it. A case in point is “Hugh M. Hefner: Guardian of the Faith” by the late J.A. Ward, appearing the summer 1963 issue of The Antioch Review.

May 11, 2011
If 9/11 "changed everything," what did killing Osama bin Laden do? Scott McLemee looks at an anthology on the climate of terror.

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