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Literature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities
Literature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities
by John M. Ellis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $29.00
57 used & new from $2.22

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that does what it promises, January 18, 2005
It recent years there seems to have developed a cottage industry of books denouncing the latest academic fashions and trends- from PC to Postmodernism, all of which seem to originate in the

" radicalisms" of the 60's. What makes Ellis's book different from the rest is that he manages to refute a whole host of absurd notions and theories with strong logical and lucid arguments; while not merely having to resort to petty polemics and Ad hominem attacks- the kinds of "arguments" his targets in this work frequently use.

Ellis examins the history of political correctness, whoose origns he finds in the 18th and 19th century German Romantic exultation of the " noble savage" along with their doctrines of cultural relativism and primitivism. The book then engages and refutes the PC scholars all of whom are classed as " race gender and class critics " who all in one form or another seek to impose a political Schematism on all works of art.

The book ,however, is not without it's problems. The fringe ideas of the likes of Peggy Macintosh, whom Ellis refutes are hardly mainstream, and his dismissal of Andrea Dworkin and Catherine Mackinnon( while perfectly sound) are hardly neccessary- as these thinkers are scarcely

dominant in the field of liteary studies. At times it would have been nice to see Ellis look at the more moderate and sound scholarship of the various critical schools under attack.

Nonetheless, this is very worthwhile book, and ought to be read by all of us who care not only for Literature but for what is happening in our culture and society in general.


Advertisements for Myself
Advertisements for Myself
by Norman Mailer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.88
49 used & new from $4.84

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book, nothing quite like it, April 20, 2004
This was one of the strangest and most engaging fictional works I have ever read. An autobiographical narrative consisting of novel excerpts, social commentary, reviews and short stories. Brutally honest and at times hilarious, I find myself regularly rereading many parts of the book and I'm always stunned by ,above all else, Mailer's humor and the vivid and unforgettable stories and characterers that he creates.
One reviewer remarked that Mailer's reputation in somewhat up in the air. Certainly Over the years Mailer has suffered much harsh criticism, from charges that he is misogynist to claims that he never fulfilled his own potential.
Nonetheless, Ancient Evenings and this book are his best works and I'm sure they will survive the test of time.


Candide: Or Optimism (Penguin Classics)
Candide: Or Optimism (Penguin Classics)
by Voltaire
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.52
397 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Father of the Enlightenment, December 23, 2003
Voltaire's Candide is Perhaps the best satire ever written. It was the silly blind optimism and indifferent response to human suffering and injustice of his era that Voltaire mocked. Through the antics of his tutor Dr Pangloss ' a metaphysico-theologo-cosmolo-nigologist' no less, Voltaire attacked much received wisdom and was not afraid to confront the dark aspects of human nature honestly.
Nonetheless, He believed in democratic enlightenment, the power of science and reason to make a better world.
His message is still prescient to this day.


The Undiscovered Mind: How the Human Brain Defies Replication, Medication, and Explanation
The Undiscovered Mind: How the Human Brain Defies Replication, Medication, and Explanation
by John Horgan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.69
54 used & new from $0.01

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good antidote to the hype, December 22, 2003
At a time when we are constantly bombarded with claims and counter claims about the mind in the media and the popular press, it is good to see someone finally rise above the hype and take a good critical look at the current state of Mind Science.
Opening with a discussion of the mind body problem or as Horgan calls it the "explanatory gap" and the difficulties in constructing a single theory of the mind, Horgan leaves the reader wondering if in the final analysis, such a thing is even possible.
While ultra critical, Horgan does not make the same mistakes as he did in his first book. He treats each argument fairly and reasonably. As one reviewer pointed out "Where he is skeptical he is judging scientists by their own standard: the evidence"
In my view he is at his strongest when critiquing Bio-Psychiatry and especially the pseudo- science Evolutionary Psychology, which he rightly points out its inability to perform experiments, and the impossibility of objectively determining what is a cultural or innate trait. He likens this budding "Science" to the now fading psychoanalysis, which has interesting views on human nature, but whose theories can never really be verified.
Finally, he tackles the old philosophical problem of consciousness, and highlights all the competing contradictory views on how to tackle the problem.
Of course ultimately we may solve the problems that Horgan thinks are beyond our grasp, but until then, Horgan's Critical rationalism will do just fine.


How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines
How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines
by Thomas C. Foster
Edition: Paperback
523 used & new from $0.01

37 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars practical guide to reading, December 22, 2003
Foster tackles Literature from a symbolic metaphorical side, delving into Myths, symbols, and the connectedness of all Literature etc.
In a lively and entertaining manner he shows the reader how to draw parallels between texts and explores poetic metaphors effectively.
The weakness of the book is that the author doesn't really delve deeply enough into other important aspects such as Character development, Plot devices, structure of the novel among other things. He's thematic discussions, too, are at times somewhat shallow,
Nonetheless, it is a worthwhile book that certainly deserves to read.


Twelve Gothic Tales (Oxford Twelves)
Twelve Gothic Tales (Oxford Twelves)
by Richard Dalby
Edition: Paperback
30 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a gothic anthology, December 22, 2003
Richard Dalby, a leading authority on the Gothic genre has compiled a collection of stories from the early nineteenth century to the twentieth. Some of which have never before been anthologized. Mary Shelley's The Dream, and The Dead Smile by Mary Crawford are among the best. A great collection of haunting and romantic stories.


Philosophy Made Simple
Philosophy Made Simple
by Richard H. Popkin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.23
204 used & new from $0.37

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A firm foundation, December 22, 2003
This review is from: Philosophy Made Simple (Paperback)
Having read an earlier addition of this book some time ago, I would certainly say that it is one of the most thorough introductions to Philosophy written. With chapters devoted to each branch of philosophical study i.e. Theory of Knowledge, Ethics etc, the authors explain both ancient and contemporary thought with clarity and depth. While admittedly the book can be somewhat dull at times, it is a must read for those looking for a solid introduction to Philosophy.


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