Weekly Round-Up, 4-28-17

Oh, hello. We didn’t see you there. We’re a little bit distracted by this week’s news. Why? Read on:

  • As you probably already know, the Core Banquet took place this Tuesday. Word & Way’s “Core on the Street,” unveiled for the first time ever at the Banquet, is now available on Youtube for your viewing pleasure.
  • A roughly 8-foot sculpture of Aristotle has been restored and returned to its rightful place in Assos–where, it is said, he opened the first-ever philosophy school–in Turkey after being vandalized over a year ago.
  • Imago Theatre of Portland, Oregon, presents a rather gruesome production of Medea, beginning April 21 to May 20. With limited props and a tilting stage, the play builds off of a 2014 version of the tragedy by written by Ben Powers.
  • Shakespeare’s plays face extinction because Americans are too dumb to understand his genius, fears Washington Post contributor Peter Marks. Meanwhile, the lesser-known Shakespearean play Timon of Athens, directed by Robert Richmond, will be taking place May 9 to June 11 at the Folger Theatre in D.C.

Wyndham Lewis's pen-and-ink drawing illustrating Timon of Athens. (Folger Shakespeare Library ART Box L677 no.7)

Wyndham Lewis’s pen-and-ink drawing illustrating Timon of Athens. (Folger Shakespeare Library ART Box L677 no.7)

  • Moreover, the Southeastern Teen Shakespeare Company is setting its own production of Much Ado About Nothing in 1959 America. This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Pensacola Opera Center in Pensacola, Florida.
  • To top it off with more Shakespeare news, the American Shakespeare Center of Staunton, Virginia, hopes to find plays that vibe off of and are inspired by Shakespeares work”–all 38 of them. And we know at least some of our Corelings have written Shakespeare fanfiction. Now is your time to shine!

That’s all for today! We hope that your last week of classes of the semester goes swimmingly!

Core on the Street: Four Minutes of Intensity

If you could not attend the Core Banquet this past Tuesday, then you missed this enlightening four-minute creation brought to us by our very own Word & Way Society. “Core on the Street,” hosted by Chloe Hite and edited by Priest Gooding, features many of our beloved Corelings. Impersonations, Q&A, synced audio, AND MORE await.

From The TLS: Who was the first modern philosopher?

Like the enlightenment, modernity is an umbrella term that is useful for what it covers but also in danger of excluding thinkers or ideas that might deserve the label. A.C. Grayling’s new book, The Age of Genius, devotes itself in part to answer the question of what exactly we mean when speaking of modern philosophy. Most people believe that Descartes is the first modern philosopher because they think he is. But the issue isn’t so arbitrary:

Two ancient Greeks walk past a pile of drunk philosophers by what looks like the Acropolis. (Conde Nast TagID: cncartoons024458.jpg) [Photo via Conde Nast]

Two ancient Greeks walk past a pile of drunk philosophers by what looks like the Acropolis. (Conde Nast TagID: cncartoons024458.jpg) [Photo via Conde Nast]

But plausible claims to the title could also be made on behalf of Thomas Hobbes, Francis Bacon or (several decades earlier) Michel de Montaigne, all of whom made original and significant, but very different, contributions to what A. C. Grayling refers to as the modern mind. On the other hand, we might want to save the founders honour for some figure later than Descartes, someone whose thought seems more familiar to us, less influenced by Scholasticism and less informed by theological assumptions and ostensible religious motivations say, John Locke, with his radically empiricist theory of knowledge; or Baruch Spinoza, the most iconoclastic thinker of his time; or, even later, the sceptical atheist David Hume.

The reviewer, Steven Nadler, is nettled that Graylingomits proper treatment of Baruch Spinoza while gabbling about less relevant philosophers. The debate goes on, which one may

Read in full at the Times Literary Supplement

From Columbia Daily Tribune: Rushdie stresses importance of literature

If there is anybody who can speak of the need to defend the right to free speech, and the need to use that right to protect what is valued in literature, then it is certainly Salman Rushdie, a man for whom the matter is one of life and death, literally. This literary icon was therefore an apt chose for a keynote speaker last Friday for an audience at the Unbound Book Festival. Here is a loose leaf excerpted from Britanny Ruess’ reporting of the speech for the Columbia Daily Tribune:

Rushdie dazzling audience to his right with wit.

Rushdie dazzling audience to his right with wit.

The more pluralistically we see ourselves, the easier it is to find common ground with other people, even if theyre very different from us, he said. And this is what the novel has always told us; it has always told us that human beings are not one thing, they are many things at once.

Great art tries to open the universe and push back borders of understanding to increase peoples capacity to know the world around them, Rushdie said. But he said artists are often met with the unpleasant sensation of powerful forces pushing against them from individuals who dont want understanding to be increased. Rushdies The Satanic Verses is banned in India and his writing has been the subject of lawsuits and other threats.

Rushdie omitted presumably the advantage that being on a most wanted list can give in the dating game, which favors bad boys, especially when they are good men.High-mindedness comes at a risk,but perhaps we might infer from Rushdie that it can be diversified by having more plurality.

Read more about his speech at Columbia Tribune

Weekly Round-Up, 4-21-17

Greetings, Corelings! Are you excited about classes winding down? Or are you slowly spiraling into the void as you plunge into studying and writing final papers? Regardless, here is the weekly round-up:

  • In case you missed it: The online version of the Core Journal has been released! Thank you to our editorial staff and contributors. Now show us your support by plastering the link all over your social media pages.
  • The Aeneid: a musical play with songs. Duke University’s musical theater organization Hoof ‘n’ Horn produces a modern-day version of Virgil’s work that avoids the term “musical” in hopes of evading the connotations and tropes of the genre. In light of the current refugee crisis, the production is particularly relevant.
  • Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny is a production that can only be described as a “steamy dance/theater” piece (we assume, considering we haven’t had the privilege of seeing it). Two differences from the original text stand out: God is now two beings (Father God and Mother God) and Adam eats the fruit before Eve does, which certainly shakes things up a bit. The show ran until April 3 at Greenway Court Theatre in LA.

Head-to-head. (Photo Credit: Anthony Roldan)

Head-to-head. (Photo Credit: Anthony Roldan)

  • There ishope that, should House Bill 2177 be passed, monuments bearing verses from the Bhagavad-Gita may be erected in public places in Oklahoma, such as public universities, city halls, and the Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City. The work is said to have influenced a number of American icons, such as Henry David Thoreau, Albert Einstein, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  • A new RPG adventure entitled A Flower from Hermes, created by 3 Halves Games, is based on Book X of the Odyssey. It is part of Odyssey Jam, a game jam (a challenge that involves planning and creating video games in a short period of time) that took place early last month.

Turn-based action. A screenshot from A Flower from Hermes.

Turn-based action. A screenshot from A Flower from Hermes.

That should do it! We wish you the best of luck in these last few weeks of class!

From Inside Higher Ed: Democratizing the Great Books

John Dewey’s classic book on education, “Democracy and Education,” is one of the indispensable contributions to civics that we’d do well to be revisit in our present time. A timely reminder of this appears in Inside Higher Ed, in an article by three Professors who report some of the interesting points from a daylong conference recently held in Columbia about democratizing the Great Books.

Photo for Inside Higher Ed

Photo for Inside Higher Ed

Years ago our keynote speaker, the political philosopher Danielle Allen, grappled with that very question as she taught Great Books courses to night students at the University of Chicago. The Declaration of Independence became the sole text for one of those seminars, as she invited the students to join her in parsing each line of the countrys founding document. Allen explained in her book Our Declaration, I wanted my students to claim the text. I wanted them to understand that democratic power belonged to them, too, that they had its sources inside themselves. I wanted them to own the Declaration of Independence.

Ownership of the democratic tradition is key to a civic education. Allen understood that if students formed a personal relationship with a text, if they acquired it as a work that awakened their own civic intelligence, they would move from passive recipients of a heritage that they didnt believe was theirs to active participants in shaping their countrys democratic future.

The authors go on to report some hopeful developments, in which programs across the country are working to spread the Great Word. The aim of such an education is to sufficiently acquaint people for whom the education we receive is inaccessible with the classical problems in ethics, morality, and civics.

Read their full post atInside Higher Ed

From The Guardian: The Fallen Woman

Sex sells, but whether it has been at the expense of a woman’s dignity has differed throughout the history of prostitution. Michle Roberts gives an overview of this history, starting from Mary Magdalene and going up to the bourgeoisie culture of the 19th century:

A detail showing Mary Magdalene in Boticellis Lamentation over the Dead Christ. Photograph: Alamy Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

A detail showing Mary Magdalene in Boticellis Lamentation over the Dead Christ. Photograph: Alamy Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

By the 19th century, in bourgeois culture, the rules had hardened. The individual gets crushed by the weight of the persona of the fallen woman. Novels act as etiquette books. In Jane Austen’s strictly ordered world, a young woman who bears an illegitimate child such as Eliza in Sense and Sensibility sinks further and vanishes. Euphemisms abound. And much as Dickens sympathised with young women forced into prostitution through poverty and tried to help them, he could not actually name Nancys occupation in Oliver Twist.

I love her twist at the end when she suddenly plugs in her own bookThe Walworth Beauty, which challenges our conventional but skewed notions of prostitution and female sexuality.

Read her full post at The Guradian

Weekly Round-Up, 4-14-17

Hey there, scholars! Excited for the day off on Monday? Here are this week’s links to get you geared up for the long weekend!

  • This Monday marked the beginning of Passover, a holiday that commemorates events we may recognize from the Book of Exodus, that is, the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
  • Further along in history, another holiday is observed today: Good Friday, the day which many Christians consider to be the date of Christ’s crucifixion and death. Read about the Crucifixion in the Gospel of Matthew here.
  • BBC One and Netflix present Troy: Fall of a City, a drama in eight parts starring Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas of Harry Potter fame) as Aeneas. Written by David Farr, it is in production at the moment in South Africa.
  • A new version of Medea, featuring an all-female cast, is set to take Bristol, England, by storm this May. Written by Chino Odimba and directed by George Mann, the production is said to blend the ancient world with contemporary instances of female injustices. Bristol Old Vic, May 5-27.

(Via Broadway World)

  • In her recently published novel In the Name of the Family, Sarah Dunant enters the world of 15th-century Italy to explore the lives of the Borgia family–and that of Niccolo Machiavelli. However, as New York Times writer Jay Parini mourns, the focus remains tightly focused on the infamous family rather than our friend Niccolo.
  • Turns out the Dante’s bones have taken quite a journey, judging by the number of times they have been moved over the centuries. He also apparently had a huge head, which inspired this magnificent quotation from 19th-centurypathologist Professor Giovanni Puglioli:“[T]he skull of superior men is commonly bigger and more beautiful that that of men with mediocre intelligence.”

The cenotaph of Dante, located in Santa Croce in Florence, Italy, by Giacomo Brogi. (Public Domain)

The cenotaph of Dante, located in Santa Croce in Florence, Italy, by Giacomo Brogi. (Public Domain)

There you have it! We hope your weekend is full of fun and pastel-colored bunnies.

From The Guardian: The best second novels of all time

It is not true that, as with our first love, our first novel will be our most memorable, written or read; in fact, it isn’t even true for our first loves, and novels deal with fiction. Nevertheless, James Reith at The Guardian has shared several books we should keep in mind next time we’re about to think the first time is always the best time. Judiciously written second-timers often come in first place:

Second take  Anne Hathaway in the film Becoming Jane (2007). Photograph: Buena Vista/Allstar

Second take Anne Hathaway in the film Becoming Jane (2007). Photograph: Buena Vista/Allstar

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The source of everyones favourite costume drama (and some of the finest prose in the English tongue) was Austens second outing. It is also the Nations Favourite Second Novel, according to the Royal Society of Literature. But the Austen example raises a question: is the second novel the second to be published, or do we include unpublished attempts, too? Her gothic satire Northanger Abbey was written long before Sense and Sensibility.

Every writer must learn in some form or another that the craft asks that sheput business before pleasure: one should never keep a lousy muse. Of the two-timers who learned this lesson quickly, perhaps the greatest–no, the greatest–is James Joyce forUlysses, ingeniouslylapsing Homer’s Odyssey into a single day.

Read his full post at The Guardian

Weekly Round-Up, 4-7-17

Why hello there, scholars. Fancy meeting you here, on the longest-running weekly series of posts on the Core Blog. What’s that? This is theonly weekly series on the Core Blog? …Ignore us, then. Read on:

  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau is misunderstood, says Nelson Lund, guest blogger for the Washington Post. His book, Rousseaus Rejuvenation of Political Philosophy: A New Introduction, hopes to expound upon Rousseau’s theories for an American audience.
  • The New Orleans Opera Associations staging of Charles Gounod’s Faust is “devilishly good,” according to the New Orleans Advocate. The three-hour show features a dapper Mephistopheles who is nothing short of a businessman as well as a particularly moving Valentin, Marguerite’s brother.

Paul Groves as Faust.  (Photograph by Tom Grosscup)

Paul Groves as Faust. (Photograph by Tom Grosscup)

  • Amid controversy over a “tired-looking bust” of Virginia Woolf in Bloomsbury, London, that contrasts sharply with a “jaunty and full-bodied” sculpture of James Joyce in Dublin, the charity Aurora Metro Arts and Media hopes to commission a new full-size statue of Woolf that treats her with due respect. (Unfortunately, no image was included of the original bust, so we can’t judge for ourselves.)
  • Make Italy Great Again: Two translated volumes of Petrarch’s letters(translated by Elaine Fantham)reveal a strangely familiar goal, albeit one achieved more academically (to restore that greatness, he set about copying Roman texts by Cicero, Seneca, and Julius Caesar, to name a few). Fun fact: His Canzoniere was originally titled “Bits of Stuff in the Vulgar Tongue” (Fragment rerum vulgarim).
  • Actress Noma Dumezweni (whom you may know as Hermione from the West End version of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) performs an exquisite rendition of William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils,” or “I wandered lonely as a cloud.”

That’s all for this week! Come back next Friday for another edition of the Weekly Round-Up!