This thought, which I have posted to the The Pete Atkin Web Forum (Midnight Voices), occurred to me this morning.
What a wonderful thing keeping an online diary (or blogging, if you like) is? Here are Professor Joseph Duemer* thoughts on the NYT review of Clive’s Cultural Amnesia, posted hours before (jd | 19 Mar 2007 05:40 pm) the actual review came online. How about that?
I’ve only read a few pieces here & there by Clive James, but if this is a accurate review, Cultural Amnesia looks to be worth both the price & the heft:
“In many cases the portrait of the individual in question is simply a launching pad for the author’s free-associative musings, which tend to spiral around several recurrent themes: the shattering legacy of Nazism and Communism, the two totalitarian movements that overshadowed the 20th century; the dangers posed by ideologies that try to reduce the world’s dazzling complexity to simplistic formulas; and the preciousness and fragility of humanism as a cultural ideal”.
Humanism has gotten a good & sometimes deserved drubbing from post-modernism & from scientism, but what the hell else have we got? I aspire to a capacious & generous humanism — I’ll do without the capital H.
*Joseph Duemer is Professor of Humanities at Clarkson
University in northern New York. He is a poet and the poetry editor of The Wallace Stevens Journal. His own most recent book is Magical Thinking (2001). He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2000 – 2001 he was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Hanoi, Vietnam. He blogs at sharpsand.net.
The more I think about it the more wonderful it is. Who would have imagined, could imagine, a few years ago that there would come a time when you would know what a professor reading the New York Times thousands of miles away thought of the item he was reading minutes after he’d read it? Wow!!