history, ideas

Books for MLK day

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness” by Michelle Alexander: America has five percent of the world’s people, and 25 percent of its prisoners. This book demonstrates how the phenomenon of over incarceration has its roots in America’s history of racial subjugation, and helps maintain a social order too similar to that which Dr. King gave his life helping us to overcome.

– Benjamin Todd Jealous of the NAACP in the WSJ, “Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Four Books to Consider”

books, ideas

why characters in novels act as they do

“…One already sees the “application” of “results” from the neurosciences and evolutionary biology to questions about why characters in novels act as they do or what might be responsible for the moods characteristic of certain poets. People seem to be unusually interested in what area of the brain is active when Rilke is read to a subject. The great problem here is not so much a new sort of culture clash (or the victory of one of C.P. Snow’s “two cultures”) but that such applications are spectacular examples of bad literary criticism, not good examples of some revolutionary approach.

If one wants to explain why Dr. Sloper in Henry James’s novel, “Washington Square,” seems so protective yet so cold about his daughter Catherine’s dalliance with a suitor, one has to begin by entertaining the good evidence provided in the novel ─ that he enjoys the power he has over her and wants to keep it; that he fears the loneliness that would result if she leaves; that he knows the suitor is a fortune hunter; that Catherine has become a kind of surrogate wife for him and he regards her as “his” in that sense; that he hates the youth of the suitor; that he hates his daughter for being less accomplished than he would have liked; and that only some of this is available to his awareness, even though all true and playing some role. And one would only be getting started in fashioning an account of what his various actions mean, what he intended, what others understood him to be doing, all before we could even begin looking for anything like “the adaptive fitness” of “what he does.”

If being happy to remain engrossed in the richness of such interpretive possibilities is “naïve,” then so be it.

– “In Defense of Naive Reading,” NYT

grants & fundraising, ideas, theater

booked to why

I have been taking some time off to rest and end the vicious cycle of endless ear infections, which is my latest excuse for not blogging. This has not prevented me from, today, ensconcing myself at the library to finish another grant proposal for a Chicago theater that I should have been done with days ago.

Here is the list of books my brother recommended in response to my Julian Jaynes quandary.

School A
Metaphors We Live By – Lakoff
Women, Fire and Dangerous Things – Lakoff

School B:
Mental Spaces – Fauconnier
Mappings in Thought and Language – Fauconnier/Turner

Synthesis of A and B:
The Literary Mind – Turner (which was the first one he mentioned)
More than Cool Reason Lakoff/Turner
Where Mathematics Comes From Lakoff/Núñez

I am imagining a Saturday in July, or even August, where I have time to sit down at a library with all of them in a stack.