What are you reading? – 26 January 2017

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

January 26, 2017
Source: iStock

Maria Delgado, professor and director of research, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, is reading Monique Rooney’s Living Screens: Melodrama and Plasticity in Contemporary Film and Television (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). “This gloriously ambitious study of melodrama in contemporary culture offers an incisive lens through which to read three key contemporary screen texts that transpose established forms into new entities: the TV series Mad Men, Lars Von Trier’s film Melancholia (2011) and Todd Haynes’ Mildred Pierce (2011). Rooney draws brilliantly on Ovid’s iconic tale of metamorphosis in showing how Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Pygmalion, a key text in the formation of melodrama, is refashioned in the screen journeys of her selected case studies. Bold, imaginative and beautifully written, this is a book about the pleasure and thrills of the screen world that is as pleasurable and thrilling to read as the transformative arenas conjured through the flickering film and television images.”

Atul Shah, senior lecturer in accounting and financial management, University of Suffolk Business School, is reading Neoliberalism and the Moral Economy of Fraud, edited by David Whyte and Jörg Wiegratz (Routledge, 2016). “Corporate fraud has become endemic. In this excellent interdisciplinary collection, the authors question the neoliberal ideology that endorses and encourages its spread. All express a deep concern for the profound failure to police, regulate or punish wrongdoers. Notions such as public interest, honestly earned income, sincerity and integrity are given only lip service in finance and economic theory. Abstract money, created to help human society attain peace and harmony, has come instead to control society’s core institutions and ideology. In the process, all of us have become losers, with runaway finance making a mockery of equality, cohesion and human sustainability. At root, many anthropocentric modern social scientists and their theories have become engines of planetary destruction. This book is a clarion call for reform in theory and education.”

Peter Goodhew, emeritus professor of engineering, University of Liverpool, is reading Kate Evans’ Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg (Verso, 2015) and Sydney Padua’s The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage (Penguin, 2016). “After many years of reading fiction, I have discovered the joy of graphic texts. My feeling is that graphic fiction has too little content; illustrations must be absolutely captivating to overcome the thinness of plot and character development. Fictionalised non-fiction seems to be where the best current work is. I must confess to having known little about Rosa Luxemburg, Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, and I am now both wiser and hugely entertained. Wiser because of the footnotes in both books, and entertained because their authors are funny. Sydney Padua, who has won awards for her part-time graphic writing, made me laugh out loud. Informative writing/drawing does not get any better than this.”

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