Refined Newsprint, Latin, and Wicked Hot Dark Elves

My subscribed RSS feeds generally fall into two categories; there are the constant, quick-posed comments from various mega-feeds summing up to over 100 posts a day, which I consume with a quick, channel-surf-like intensity of interest (the intensity being one of minimal depth, but excessive stimulation area). There is the inverse as well: the long, thought-provoking essays that are posted by their publishers perhaps once or twice a week. (The exception is BookForum, which drives my obsessive nature mad by posting interesting material in an incessant deluge with which I could never hope to match.)

The Times Literary Supplement (TLS) is one of the second sort, and probably a prototype for the category. It is precisely the sort of publication for people with a wide, varied intellectual interest but not a real storehouse of knowledge from most of these areas. It launches in-depth studies of topic under scrutiny, but begins at a step back, so that the interested web-scholar who has just wandered into the room has time to find a seat. It also matches reviews and approaches of very current work with topics that all classic, if not overtly classical. The TLS manages to pique one's interest without sounding too pretentious--to me, at any rate. I like the occasional foreign-language phrase inserted into my reading so that I can continue to lament all the languages I cannot read but should. And in a world where txting basd splling psuedo-conventions are making their way into writing as much as by mistake as through a sense of hipness, I don't think it's a bad thing to have at least a few bastions of "high" standards left, as archaic as they may or may not be.

Anyway, I'll ditch the vocality of a lone warrior standing alone between the barbarian horde and the library with naught but a single trusty pole-arm. Well, maybe not alone. Maybe she would help:

What was I talking about? Oh yes, after severely downgrading the High Culture quotient of this post with suggestive anime, I was going to share my recent, favorite articles I read online at the Times Literary Supplement (that is like the New York Post for English people).

In a recent post I mentioned that in a few weeks Claude Levi-Strauss will celebrate his 100th birthday. Here is an article about the publication of his Works (with a few notable exceptions) that also serves as a good introduction and summary of his life and works. Better than the faulty obituary is the celebration!

Here is a review of Rowan Williams' recent book on Dostoyevsky. Rowan Williams, apart from having amazing eyebrows, is the Archbishop of Canterbury, and quite knowledgeable on many topics. In this volume he discusses the theology of Dostoyevsky's fiction, which is no timid category. The review sums up some of the discussion and discusses Williams' own interaction with Dostoyevsky.

The piece that first got me reading the TLS online was this article about a new work on Lucretius. I know very little about Lucretius, or about Epicurus, but that first bit containing the line, "It is sweet on the great sea [. . .] to watch from the shore other people drowning,” dragged me in faster than an artist's interpretation of a nubile dark elf with a mean looking polearm.

So enjoy those, if you wish. I've had thoughts about more detailed blog posts (oh joy! they cry with unrestrained ebullience!) but I've been holding off while working on a bigger internet project. (The cheers ring up from the gathered masses afresh, thrice renewed.) More about that later in the week, perhaps.

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