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Writing Difference / Claiming General Validity

Jovan Dučić's Cities and Chimaeras and the West

Vladimir Gvozden

The travel texts of Jovan Dučić (1872-1943) merit analysis not only because he is generally regarded as a significant and influential modernist writer (his lyrics, refined in phrasing and form, show the influence of the Parnassians and the Symbolists), but also because he is a prominent figure in the modernization of Serbian culture. As early as 1936, Dučić's contemporary Nikola Mirković stressed the importance of the poet's role in the process of 'the modernization of Serbian literature and culture' (Mirković 1936: 335). By the same token, he is widely considered by both literary scholars and the public to have been obsessed with 'the great and wise West' (Deretić 1987: 205) - a writer who brought about a great synthesis of Serbian and Western literature, especially in his poetry from the first decades of the twentieth century. His letters from Switzerland, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Palestine and Egypt appeared first in literary magazines and/or in the influential Belgrade newspaper Politika. The separate parts of his travelogue were then collected under the title of Gradovi i himere [Cities and Chimaeras], and were published twice during the author's life, in 1930 and 1940. The book is both a text about culture (or cultures), as well as an indispensable text within Serbian national culture.

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Hazel E. Barnes

While Sartre scholars cannot fairly be described as being opposed to science, they have, for the most part, stayed aloof. The field of psychology, of course, has been an exception. Sartre himself felt compelled to present his own existential psychoanalysis by marking the parallels and differences between his position and traditional approaches, particularly the Freudian. The same is true with respect to his concept of bad faith and of emotional behavior. Scholars have followed his lead with richly productive results. But we may note that the debate has centered on psychic and therapeutic issues, aspects of what Sartre called le vécu or lived experience, rather than on the findings of cognitive science or neuroscience. Although all existentialists and phenomenologists accept as a central tenet the fact that consciousness is embodied, there has been virtually no concern with the biological substratum. But the study of consciousness cannot be restricted within its own narrow confines—unlike, say, Greek grammar, which can be learned without reference to the rules of Arabic. At some point, there must be established an organic foundation for the behavior of the conscious organism.

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Bill Maurer

Credit. From the Latin, credere, to trust or to believe. Crisis, from the Greek κρίσις, crisis, but also decision, judgment. Judgment day. I had imagined this article as a series of epistles, short missives with didactic aphorisms—postcards, really—from the credit crisis. Yet the effort foundered on two shores. First, my abilities are simply not up to the task, for this genre with its ancient history boasts so many predecessors and models that selection for the purposes of mimicry—or embodiment—became impossible. Second, and more important, I began to realize, in the effort, that the genre demands an analytical engagement with its material that this article in many respects stands athwart. How it does so will become apparent in due course. The credit crisis began in 2008 and continues to the time of my writing, in May 2010. In naming the credit crisis and its religion, I acknowledge I afford them a degree of reality they may not possess. I also acknowledge that this article comes with temporal limits, the limits of the time of its writing. My debts are many and cannot be fully acknowledged. Reality, time and debt are very much at issue in credit crisis religion. Worldly constraints narrow my inquiry to Anglophone and primarily United States examples. Christianity is, by necessity and design, over-represented.

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Rereading Hannah Arendt's 'What Is Freedom?'

Freedom as a Phenomenon of Political Virtuosity

Ilya Winham

In 'What Is Freedom?', Arendt speaks of freedom as a 'phenomenon of virtuosity', claiming that this phenomenon is the original, hitherto undertheorised experience of freedom in ancient Greece and Rome, and that the idea of freedom began to appear in connection with the will in our philosophical tradition only after freedom as a phenomenon of virtuosity had in practice disappeared in the late Roman Empire - but not from all human activities in which it continued to exist in a hidden form, as the power or 'gift' of humans to begin a new line of action. My interpretation of Arendt's conception of freedom begins from and elaborates on these claims, and shows that she should be taken seriously as a critic of the late antique notion that freedom consists in the decisions we make with our will. I also show that in rejecting accounts of freedom that reduce it to a matter of the will or the intellect, Arendt relies on the notion of an inspiring 'principle' of action that functions in a manner analogous to Hegel's understanding of (moral) action as taking place against a background of unwritten rules (sittlichkeit) and as deriving its 'validity' and 'absolute' character from a spirit, or principle, immanent within it.

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Rabbi Leo Baeck

A Personal Appraisal and Appreciation

David Ellenson

In This People Israel, Leo Baeck observed that Jewish vision 'looks backward and forward simultaneously', that 'nothing exists solely for itself. Everything has its predecessor and its successor, its ancestry and its direction.' Judaism 'only knows relationship and totality'. Rabbi Baeck observed that while the Greeks viewed the past as 'historia, "investigation"', Judaism speaks of 'toldot, "generations"'. There is a sense of connection that binds the Jew to the past, even as it bids us as Jews to consider the present and look to the future. As we seek to hear the commandment of the living God in our own generation, we acknowledge our debt to the past as we simultaneously affirm our responsibility to ourselves and to generations yet unborn as we seek to leave our posterity - our toldot - a worthy legacy. Revelation is captured and God experienced in the ongoing moments of life and the deeds that the individual and the community perform. I am grateful to Rabbi Baeck for the model of his life and the insights and nobility of his teachings. They inspire and direct me – however imperfectly I act – as I struggle with the challenges of life.

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Rabbi Dr Maybaum and Rabbi Dr Baeck

A Footnote to Professor David Ellenson's Lecture

Tony Bayfield

There is a long essay entitled "Leo Baeck in Terezin" which, as far as I know, first appeared in The Face of God After Auschwitz, the first volume of Ignaz Maybaum I ever owned, published under the auspices of RSGB in 1965. The essay seems to have been prompted by the not widely acknowledged ambiguity with which Baeck was received in London in the period up to his death in 1956. For most, Baeck was a saint. For some, however, his affirmation of the western philosophical tradition in Terezin constituted a humanistic betrayal. The Maybaum essay acknowledges the criticism. However, it is, ultimately, not only a stout defence but gets very close to Baeck's essence. What Maybaum argues is that when Baeck lectured in Terezin, he was not engaging in secular, humanistic education. Nor was he dismissing the Greek and German heritage but using it as religious protest. Because, even in Terezin - Baeck affirmed, says Maybaum, 'Truth - like the world - is the creation of God' and 'Truth, morality and love are the creation of God' and '… those who walk forward towards the kingdom of God are not taught by philosophers to do so; they are sent on this journey by God'.

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Patricia Springborg

In this article the author examines the way in which concepts of citizenship and rights have been transmitted not only by conquest, but also by the imitation of Greek and Roman models. Also, the article discusses the way in which early modern empires, modelling themselves on the classical Roman empire in particular, bring these two elements together. Extensive historiographical work on the reception of European thought in the New World has been produced on both sides of the Atlantic and some important contributions that deal with the impact of the New World encounters in European thought have recently been made. However, the author argues that little work has been done on classical modelling as a vehicle for the transmission of concepts. The long tradition of classical learning, revived in the European Renaissance, made Latin the lingua franca of Europe, and school curricula across Europe ensured that members of the Republic of Letters were exposed to the same texts. This, together with the serviceability of the Roman model as a manual for Empire, ensured the rapid transmission of classical republican and imperial ideas. The author takes England and the British Empire as a case study and provides a variety of examples of classical modelling.

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Linguistic Turns – Performing Postmodern Poetries

Stan Smith and Antony Rowland

The linguistic turn is as old as poetry itself. What Seamus Heaney calls the ‘suggestive etymology of the word “verse”’ (Preoccupations, 1980), has been frequently remarked. Derived from the Latin ‘versus’, a turning, it refers, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, to the turning at the end of each poetic line. The unintentional ambiguities of this last phrase indicate that poetry also represents a different kind of turning, which carries to extremes a process implicit in the slippery duplicity of all language. Pun, paronomasia, metaphor and metonymy, double entendre, the linguistic turning of one thing into another, effect in poetry, as in everyday discourse, a perpetual translation of experience. Etymologically, indeed, the Greek ‘metaphor’ is virtually a synonym of the Latin-derived ‘translation’, a carrying over or across of meanings from one place to another. Such a transfigurative or redemptive function, the conversion of events into the abstract medium of language, creating a new and possibly renewed version of things, has been ascribed to poetry ever since the Renaissance Neoplatonists sought to rescue it from the odium Plato bestowed on it, expelling it from his Republic as a lying discourse, a dangerous corrupter of the truth. Renaissance literary criticism is full of play on the trope of a language that, in Sir Philip Sidney’s famous words, converting and contraverting Plato, substitutes ‘a golden world’ for ‘nature’s world of brass’.

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A 'tender Correspondence'

Pope and The Spectator

Andrew Varney

Some time around 1710 Pope sent his female friend, Miss Blount, a small present, a book: ‘the Works of Voiture’. Vincent de Vo i t u r e , whose life (1598 – 1648) occupied the first half of the seventeenth century, was a poet, but he was celebrated more particularly as the author of correspondence (his Lettres were published posthumously in 1650), which distilled the moral and stylistic qualities of the aristocratic French culture of his age. Pope accompanied his gift to Martha Blount with a letter, or more properly an ‘Epistle’ as it was called in its title when it was published in Lintot’s Miscellany in 1712. The root meaning of ‘epistle’ is clear in its origin in the Greek verb ‘stellein’, to send, and the prefix ‘epi’, on the occasion of. An epistle was a missive for a particular occasion, the little occasion in this case being the present of the book. The concept of the epistle links the written word to the world of living, and this is underlined in Pope’s verse epistle by his making his first theme the extent to wh i c h Voiture’s life was expressed in his text: ‘…all the Writer lives in ev’ry Line’.

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Barbara Klich-Kluczewska, Gabriela Dudeková, Philip Mann, Kristen Ghodsee, Susan Zimmermann, Barbara Alpern Engel, Rhonda Semple, Amelia Licheva, Christian Promitzer and Oksana Kis

Women, Communism, and Industrialization in Postwar Poland by Małgorzata Fidelis Barbara Klich-Kluczewska

The Politics of Gender Culture under State Socialism: An Expropriated Voice by Hana Havelková and Libora Oates-Indruchová (eds.) Gabriela Dudeková

Gendered Artistic Positions and Social Voices: Politics, Cinema, and the Visual Arts in State-Socialist and Post-Socialist Hungary by Beata Hock Philip Mann

Staging Socialist Femininity: Gender Politics and Folklore Performance in Serbia by Ana Hofman Kristen Ghodsee

Kohle für Stalin und Hitler: Arbeiten und Leben im Donbass 1929 bis 1953 (Coal for Stalin and Hitler. Working and living in the Donets basin 1929 to 1953) by Tanja Penter Susan Zimmermann

Bytovoe nasilie v istorii rossiiskoi povsednevnosti (XI–XXI vv.) (Domestic violence in the history of Russian everyday life [XI–XXI vv.]) by Marianna G. Muravyeva and Natalia L. Pushkareva, (eds.) Barbara Alpern Engel

Domestic Frontiers: Gender, Reform, and American Interventions in the Ottoman Balkans and the Near East, 1831–1908 by Barbara Reeves-Ellington Rhoda Semple

Zhenite v modernostta (Women in modernity) by Reneta Roshkeva and Nikolai Nenov (eds.) Amelia Licheva

Physical Anthropology, Race and Eugenics in Greece (1880s–1970s) by Sevasti Trubeta Christian Promitzer

Nezvychaini doli zvychainykh zhinok: Usna istoria XX stolittia (The extraordinary lives of ordinary women: Oral history of the twentieth century) by Iroida Wynnytsky (ed.) Oksana Kis