Critical Appraisals: A Spy in the Ruins, by Christopher Bernard

A Spy in the Ruins by Christopher Bernard constructs a postapocalyptic anti-narrative replete with verbal richness, political aggression, and erotic tenderness. Continue reading Critical Appraisals: A Spy in the Ruins, by Christopher Bernard

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Years of Renewal (1999) by Henry Kissinger

The final volume of Kissinger’s memoirs details his tenure in the Ford Administration, along with my analysis on our current foreign policy situation and what conservatism has become. Continue reading Years of Renewal (1999) by Henry Kissinger

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Critical Appraisals: Death on the Installment Plan by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

During the Thirties, Louis-Ferdinand Céline shocked the literary establishment with the release of two novels: Journey to the End of the Night (1932) and Death on the Installment Plan (1936).  Both novels acted as companions to each other, focusing on different parts of re-imagined autobiographical material set within fictional narratives.  Ralph Manheim, the translator of Death on the Installment Plan, dubbed the genre “creative confessions.” The original French title is Mort à crédit, a staccato-sounding title that became translated as Death on Credit by John H. P. Marks.  The book braids together the strands of comedy, despair, and debt, since … Continue reading Critical Appraisals: Death on the Installment Plan by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

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Years of Upheaval (1981) by Henry Kissinger

A Second Term and a Third-rate Burglary Now Watergate does not bother me Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth. “Sweet Home Alabama,” Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)   Years of Upheaval, the second volume of memoirs by Henry Kissinger, continues his personal account of public service, spanning the time of Nixon’s re-election to Nixon’s resignation following the Watergate scandal.  The memoirs record a short span of time although it encompasses a plethora of geopolitical, domestic, and personal events.  In the words of Homer Simpson, this volume has it all, “the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles.” Riding on … Continue reading Years of Upheaval (1981) by Henry Kissinger

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Critical Appraisal: The Landscape of Hell

The representation of Hell as a cartographic region has its origins in Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Dante adapted the imagery already present in medieval painting and sculpture to comment on his political situation and his own scientific and theological beliefs.  He populated it with real people, including political heroes and villains, good popes and bad popes, adulterous princesses, and monsters human and mythological.  On Dante’s spiritual journey, he traveled with the Roman poet Vergil down the various circles of Hell and then up Mount Purgatory.  Finally, led by his beloved Beatrice, he journeyed through the heavenly spheres until he was in … Continue reading Critical Appraisal: The Landscape of Hell

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Essays on Capital, First Series: Essay One

Essay 1: Capital and the historical moment From commodities to citizens. O garment not golden but gilded, O garden where all men may dwell, O tower not of ivory, but builded By hands that reach heaven from hell; O mystical rose of the mire, O house not of gold but of gain, O house of unquenchable fire, Our Lady of Pain! “Dolores (Notre-Dame des Sept Douleurs)”, Algernon Charles Swinburne (1866) The Civil War: Revolution in Labor Relations The Civil War ended in 1865 bringing about the cessation of hostilities between the United States and the Confederacy.  After four years and … Continue reading Essays on Capital, First Series: Essay One

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Essays on Capital, First Series: Essay Number Zero

By way of an introduction … “It is simply misleading and vulgar to say of Marx, as Edmund Wilson in To the Finland Station and many others have done, that he was really a latter-day prophet[.]” – “Piety without content,” Susan Sontag [1961] “Marx’s thought marks a watershed.  Its roots reach back to Joachim of Fiore and further, to the inspired utterances of the Old Testament prophets.” – Reasons for Our Rhymes: An Inquiry into the Philosophy of History, R. A. Herrera [2001] “Better dead than Red.” – Anti-communist saying [c. 1950s] Karl Marx is a controversial, misunderstood, and often … Continue reading Essays on Capital, First Series: Essay Number Zero

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