Daniel Binney, George McKay, Roger Morgan, Vanessa Pupavac and Sharon Wheeler...

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

June 26, 2014

Daniel Binney, postgraduate administrator, department of history, Classics and archaeology, Birkbeck, University of London, is reading Nietzsche on Art and Life (Oxford University Press, 2014), edited by Daniel Came. “If only modernity knew what it risked in philistinism. This is a fine collection of subtle and coherent reflections on a major theme of Nietzschean obscurantism: mythologising the world through art to make it bearable. Rewarding, accessible and a nod to the prescriptivism of a philosopher often taken merely to be a Kulturkritik.”

Book review: Music, Style, and Aging: Growing Old Disgracefully?, by Andy Bennett

George McKay, AHRC leadership fellow for the Connected Communities programme, University of Salford, is reading Andy Bennett’s Music, Style, and Aging: Growing Old Disgracefully? (Temple University Press, 2013). “Can you be a punk rocker without looking like one? If you’re in your fifties? With thinning hair that won’t stand up in a Mohican? Fiftysomething Bennett’s sparkling short study dispenses with nostalgia and looking your age and extends our understanding of youth music subcultures beyond youth. No future? Of course there is!”

Book review: Now and Then, This and That, by Logie Bruce-Lockhart

Roger Morgan, former professor of political science, European University Institute, is reading Logie Bruce Lockhart’s Now and Then, This and That (Larks Press, 2013). “The recollections and reflections of a remarkable headmaster. The author, following a University of Cambridge career marked by distinction in modern languages and rugby football, was appointed in his early thirties to the headship of the open-minded Gresham’s School. He ran it for several decades, and his frank thoughts on the management of teachers and teenagers (and on much else) should appeal to anyone concerned with education.”

Book review: The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes), by Henri Alain-Fournier

Vanessa Pupavac, senior lecturer in international relations, University of Nottingham, is reading Henri Alain-Fournier’s The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) (Penguin, 2007). “ ‘But can one return to the past?’ asks the young François. The First World War looms between us and Alain-Fournier, killed in 1914, and his lyrical 1913 novel of adolescent love in rural France. Yet the novel’s fatal enchantments testify to a cultural nihilism impatient with ‘living like everyone else’. ‘In death alone…I may perhaps recapture the beauty of that time.’ ”

Book review: Fan: A Novel, by Danny Rhodes

Sharon Wheeler, senior lecturer in journalism, University of Portsmouth, is reading Danny Rhodes’ Fan: A Novel (Arcadia, 2014). “I remember exactly where I was on 15 April 1989, when 96 Liverpool supporters were killed and hundreds injured at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, and Rhodes’ bleak novel brings back at a sweep that grim era when football fans died at matches. This painfully compelling tale of a fan who, 20 years on, can never forget that day is like a relentless drumbeat inside your head; a silent scream demanding to be heard.”

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