November 2012

La Folie Baudelaire

November 15, 2012

In La Folie Baudelaire Roberto Calasso describes the life, work, and world of symbolist poet Charles Baudelaire in terms of an image borrowed from nineteenth century French critic Charles Saint-Beuve: the “highly decorated, highly tormented but graceful” architectural extravagance known as a garden folly. Saint-Beuve used the image to disparage Baudelaire’s work.  In Calasso’s hands […]

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Lest We Forget

November 11, 2012

              It’s Veterans’ Day. Thank a veteran for serving his country. Pray for peace.

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Road Trip Through History: The Battle of Hastings

November 8, 2012

On October 13, thousands of history enthusiasts from around the world arrived at the British town of Battle to re-enact the Battle of Hastings. (You know, William the Conqueror, 1066, and all that.) My Own True Love and I weren’t there.* Just as well. The weather was cold and wet. The battlefield conditions were so […]

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The Thrill of the Vote

November 6, 2012

This post first ran on election day in 2008.  My feelings on the subject haven’t changed: It’s election day in Chicago.  I just walked home from voting for a new mayor and a new alderman–and I miss my old neighborhood. For ten years I lived in South Shore:  a white graduate student/small business owner/writer in […]

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You can’t vote because…

November 2, 2012

Photograph from the Library of Congress From sixth century Athens on, who has the vote and why has been a touchy and evolving subject in democracies.  People who already have the vote have hesitated to extend it to others for two basic reasons.  Those with the vote don’t think those without the vote have the […]

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