Sunday, April 13, 2008

TLS March 28 2008

From Christopher Reid's review of Modern Painters: The Camden Town Group at the Tate Britain:

The more likely truth is that Sickert was simply the first painter in a long tradition to point out that the reclining nude, a standard compositional trope, had a lot in common with the inertia of a corpse, and the scrutiny of the artist with the calculating gaze of the malefactor.


From Fernando Cervantes' review of Marjorie Trusted's The Arts of Spain: Iberia and Latin America 1450-1700:

In the 1920s, Jose Ortega y Gasset attempted to counter these myths with the argument that Europe was not the creation of the sovereign nation state but, rather, the result of a piecemeal and laborious cultural fusion of what he called the "Germanic" and the "Mediterranean" elements. What particularly interested Ortega was that this fusion had been attained Iberia earlier and more permanently than in any other part of Europe, so that the presence of those very elements that are often singled out as sources of difference and exoticism--like the fact that medieval Iberia housed the largest single Jweish population in the world, or that it formed an integral part of the Islamic Mediterranean for eight centuries--were in fact the most quintessentially European elements in Iberian culture. It was this supranational and multicultural fusion that made the Iberian world so uniquely and unmistakably European.


From Chris Morash's review of Bernhard Klein's On the Uses of History in Recent Irish Writing:

For Klein, these alternative understandings of the past are coded into the structures of the literary genres. Thus, he argues that the novel narrates events as continuity, drama as conflcit, and poetry as possibility.


From Phoeve C. Ellsworth's review of Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson's Mistakes Were Made (But Not BY Me):

In Leon Festinger's original theory, cognitive dissonance arises when a person is forced to entertain two mutually inconsistent ideas, which creates an unpleasant tension that motivates the person to engage in various mental gymnastics to minimize the dissonance, usually by denying one of the inconsistent cognitions. Elliot Aronson, Festinger's most distinguished student, showed that cognitive dissonance is most common and most excruciating when new information is inconsistent with one's concept of oneself as an honest, intelligent and well-meaning person, and that the urge to maintain a favorable self-conception usurps all other possible strategies for escaping the dissonance. Cognitive dissonance can be as immediate and powerful as the response to physical danger.


From Robert A. Segal's review of David Kyuman Kim's Melancholic Freedom: Agency and the spirit of politics:

[Charles] Taylor devotes most of Sources of the Self in tracing the changing views of the nature of the self. The distinctiveness of the modern understanding of the self is threefold. First is the stress on inwardness, which harks all the way back to Augustine but which, thanks to Descartes, stresses self-control and--thanks to Montaigne--self-exploration. Second is the "affirmation of ordinary life", which, stemming from the Reformation, means devotion to work and family rather than to a "higher" calling like monasticism. Third is the idea, stemming from Romanticism, of an "inner vocie of nature", heeding which involves turning to the external world to discover what in use responds to it.

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