What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

November 5, 2009

Robert Appelbaum is senior lecturer in Renaissance studies at Lancaster University. He is reading American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies, by Michael W. Kauffman (Random House, 2005). "A fascinating look at the assassination of Abraham Lincoln from the point of view of his assassin. Booth was a popular actor from a family of popular actors - Shakespeareans all - two of them named after an ancestor of the assassin of Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus. Booth did not act alone."

Jerome de Groot is lecturer in Renaissance literature and culture at the University of Manchester. "At this point in the term I have to juggle multiple books, which is fun but challenging. I am rewriting my historical fiction course, so I am reading Jamila Gavin's excellent Coram Boy (Egmont, 2004), as I think I should programme some children's literature. I am reading my colleague M.J. Hyland's This Is How (Canongate, 2009), which is striking and brilliant, as is all her writing. Finally, owing to my research interest in adaptation - although also because I love books about the walking dead - I am thoroughly enjoying Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Quirk, 2009), by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith."

Martin McQuillan, dean of arts and social sciences at Kingston University, is reading Voltaire's Letters on England, translated by Leonard Tancock (Penguin, 2005). "As a new boy in London I am taking the exiled Voltaire as my guide. Published as Lettres philosophiques, it is a kind of 18th-century version of Roland Barthes' Mythologies, in which a French philosophical tradition rubs noses with the Anglo-Saxon idiom. Accordingly, it is one of the earliest examples of cultural studies."

Suroopa Mukherjee is associate professor, department of English, at Hindu College, University of Delhi. "I am a fiction writer and my readings fit into my research and the stuff that peoples my creative world. My most recent read is Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Penguin, 1970), which redefines pedagogy in the context of education that maintains the 'culture of silence', and Art Spiegelman's Maus (Pantheon, 1996), which narrates Holocaust history in a gut-wrenching graphic novel."

Robert A. Segal is sixth-century chair in religious studies at the University of Aberdeen. He is reading Blake W. Burleson's Jung in Africa (Continuum, 2005). "Burleson, a devout Jungian, retraces Jung's five-month trip to East Africa. The 'primitives' Jung encountered embodied the primitive core of all human beings - their collective unconscious. With the work of the armchair anthropologist Lucien Levy-Bruhl as his Baedeker, Jung found his prior views confirmed. He need never have left home after all."

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