Monthly Archives: April 2012

Adrian Johns, derived from the Latin pirata

April 20, 2012
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Adrian Johns, derived from the Latin pirata

Adrian Johns is having a pretty good series of weeks. Earlier this month, the intellectual property specialist was named a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow. The chair of the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science and the Allan Grant Maclear Professor in History at the University of Chicago, Johns plans to use his Guggenheim funding to study the intellectual property defense industry.

Johns is no stranger to prizes. His earlier work The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making won the Leo Gershoy Award of the American Historical Association, the John Ben Snow Prize of the North American Conference on British Studies, the Louis Gottschalk Prize of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and the SHARP Prize for the best work on the history of authorship, reading and publishing. Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates, his most recent volume, won the American Society for Information Science and Technology’s Book of the Year Award and was a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title.

Just yesterday, Johns was feted in a ceremony bestowing yet another honor on his work with Piracy, the Gordon J. Laing Prize for best faculty author, editor or translator of a book published in . . .

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Alan Gilbert, a man of (many) words

April 20, 2012
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Alan Gilbert, a man of (many) words

What follows below is a list of proper nouns mentioned by Alan Gilbert, author of Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence, during an interview with 3 AM magazine:

Richard Gilbert, United States, Harvard, World War II, Wobblies, Schenley Industries, New York, Ayub Khan, Pakistan, Little Rock, Central High, New York Times, South Africa, Emma, Democrats, Taj, Americans, Adamjee, East Pakistan, West Pakistan, Ashraf Adamjee, Wouter Tim, Marx, Indian Ocean, Chestertown, Maryland, Freedom Summer, Walden School, New York, Andy Goodman, James Cheney, Michael Schwerner, Vietnam War, Bernard Fall, Denis Warner, Jean Lacouture, Stanley Hoffmann, Barrington Moore, French, German, English, Government 1a, Carl Friedrich, Max Weber, Adam Smith, Emile Durkheim, Sigmund Freud, David Hume, I. F. Stone, Herbert Marcuse, McGeorge Bundy, May 2nd Movement, London School of Economics, Ralph Miliband, Labour Party, Ecole Normale, Paris, Althusser, Montesquieu, Das Kapital, England, Michael Walzer, Dita Skhlar, Artistotle, Hilary Putnam, John Rawls, Dick Boyd, SDS, Alan Garfinkel, Forms of Explanation, Norm Daniels, Cornell, Nick Sturgeon, Richard Miller, David Lyons, American Council of Learned Societies, Marx’s Politics: Communists and Citizens, Leo Strauss, Karl Loewith, the Right, Adolf Hitler, Plato, Thomas Hobbes, J. J. Rousseau, Alex Rosenberg, the Iliad, Simone Weil, Chicago, Africa, . . .

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W. S. Di Piero wins the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

April 19, 2012
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W. S. Di Piero wins the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

For the second year in a row, a former Phoenix Poet has taken home the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize—and, for W. S. Di Piero, the legacy is a long, tall glass of water. He joins the company of twenty-six fellow poets who have soldered the experience of working class lives into indomitable verse, like Philip Levine; those who, like C. K. Williams and Adrienne Rich, have championed social issues and countered injustice; and those, like John Ashbery, who also deal in the criticism of the visual arts.

What makes Di Piero unique, in a body of work conjures the presence of divinity in everyday life, redresses the grievances of a working-class South Philadelphia upbringing, and moves with effortless comfort from plain-style speech to bold translations from Euripides and Giacomo Leopardi, is exactly what doesn’t. He tells the truth, and I think it’s fair to say, it’s not slant. Di Piero questions poets and the quotidian equally, and what he arrives at is often something close to a sense of permission.

As Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine stated the Foundation’s official announcement:

“R. P. Blackmur once said that great poetry ‘adds to the stock of available reality,’ and . . .

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Announcing the 2012 Guggenheim Fellows

April 13, 2012
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Announcing the 2012 Guggenheim Fellows

 

The 2012 class of Guggenheim Fellows was announced this week by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, inciting some exuberant responses on the part of several winners (check out Terry Teachout’s Twitter feed). The Guggenheim has long been hailed as the “mid-career award,” honoring scholars, scientists, poets, artists, and writers, who have likely published a book or three, professed a fair amount of research, and are actively engaged in projects of significant scope. The fellowship possesses some tortured origins—(John) Simon Guggenheim, who served as president of the American Smelting and Refining Company and Republican senator from Colorado, seeded the award (1925) following the death of this son John (1922) from mastoiditis (Guggenheim’s second son George later committed suicide, and more infamously his older brother Benjamin went down with the Titanic).

Among this year’s crop (we dare say more forward-leaning than previous years?) is a roster of standout “professionals who have demonstrated exceptional ability by publishing a significant body of work in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the creative arts,” affiliated with the University of Chicago Press:

Creative Arts

Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine and author of three poetry collections, coeditor of . . .

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OBLITERATE WALL STREET MEN WITH POLKA DOTS

April 3, 2012
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OBLITERATE WALL STREET MEN WITH POLKA DOTS

In the mid-to-late 1960s, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama staged a series of happenings. Situated someplace between the physically participatory (be-in) space of protest culture and an Art Brut magick ceremony, Kusama’s polka-dot drenched performances saturated the conventional landscape with an extraordinary reality. By 1968, Kusama had begun to formalize these happenings under the name The Anatomic Explosion, accompanying each performance with a series of manifestos-qua-press-releases whose tone echoed the wild conviction of her art.

“Burn Wall Street. Wall Street men must become farmers and fisherman. Wall Street men must stop all of this fake ‘business.’ OBLITERATE WALL STREET MEN WITH POLKA DOTS. OBLITERATE WALL STREET MEN WITH POLKA DOTS ON THEIR NAKED BODIES. BE IN … BE NAKED, NAKED, NAKED.”

As critic Andrew Solomon writes in a 1997 Artforum profile of Kusama:

began issuing hundreds of press releases, and her performances became steadily wilder. In the first of her Anatomic Explosion series, Tomii and Karia write, “across from the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, four nude dancers gyrated to the rhythm of bongo drummers, while Kusama, accompanied by her lawyer, spray painted blue polka dots on their naked bodies.” The police closed it down . . .

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April’s free ebook: Alice Kaplan’s French Lessons

April 2, 2012
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April’s free ebook: Alice Kaplan’s French Lessons

In 2009, writer and former freelance journalist Ben Yagoda published Memoir: A History. Amid praise for the book is this tidy distillation of its reach by New York Times critic Judith Shulevitz:

begins with Julius Caesar’s descriptions of the Gallic Wars and proceeds book by book to the present. He gives us the greats—St. Augustine and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass and Helen Keller—but also a 17th-century spiritualizing grifter named Clarkson who preached and seduced his way through England’s radical sects; Mary Jemison of Pennsylvania, whose wildly popular “as told to” reconfigured the classic Indian-captivity narrative into an early-19th-century “Dances With Wolves” (she chose to stay with the Indians); and other figures from what Preston Sturges once called the “cockeyed caravan” of life.

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The Sturges quotation is from the movie Sullivan’s Travels, a 1941 Hollywood satire that later served as the inspiration for Joel and Ethan Coen’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? (the Coen Brothers film takes its name from Sturges’s picture-within-a-picture). In it, Sullivan bemoans the (often comic) failures of the would-be socially conscious film he aspires to make, before acknowledging that comedy . . .

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