Morten Høi Jensen, A Difficult Death: The Life and Work of Jens Peter Jacobsen

A Difficult Death: The Life and Work of Jens Peter Jacobsen by Morten Høi Jensen My rating: 4 of 5 stars I decided to pick up this appealing brief recent biography of Jacobsen after reading the 19th-century Danish author's masterpiece, Niels Lyhne (1880). While Jacobsen is not well-known today—I came to him through Nella Larsen, though… Continue reading Morten Høi Jensen, A Difficult Death: The Life and Work of Jens Peter Jacobsen

Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters

The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters by Frances Stonor Saunders My rating: 4 of 5 stars Someone once said that beneath or behind all political and cultural warfare lies a struggle between secret societies. —Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo (1972) This 1999 book by British journalist Saunders is the… Continue reading Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters

In Defense of Pevear and Volokhonsky

Janet Malcolm contributes the latest polemic against Richard Pevear and Linda Volokhonsky (hereafter P&V), the famed husband-and-wife translators of the Russian classics, whose preeminence in their field is now being challenged by a number of critics. I have read the previous arguments with interest (for instance, by Gary Saul Morson and Helen Andrews), but they… Continue reading In Defense of Pevear and Volokhonsky

Roberto Calasso, Literature and the Gods

Literature and the Gods by Roberto Calasso My rating: 5 of 5 stars Literature and the Gods is a short, dense essay rather than the more literary-historical or conspective account the title might lead one to expect. In fact, Calasso has a refined Continental theorists’s contempt for mere literary history, which he seems to regard… Continue reading Roberto Calasso, Literature and the Gods

Hergé, The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 1

The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 1: Tintin in America / Cigars of the Pharaoh / The Blue Lotus by Hergé My rating: 4 of 5 stars There is something about Tintin, isn't there? I had never read it before, but a survey course on the history of comics this semester forced my to it. Here… Continue reading Hergé, The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 1