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Round-Up of the Week: Fascinating Fascists, Invented Individuals, Model Marriages, Successful Psychiatry, Parallel Poets, Resurrected Writers

The Oxonian Review presents the Weekly Round-Up, featuring articles the editorial staff have found interesting, illuminating, or otherwise noteworthy.

1. “Richard J. Evans: ‘Why Are We Obsessed with the Nazis?’“, The Guardian: Why is it that the Nazis hold such a unique fascination for us? Is the Holocaust truly a phenomenon like no other, or does it have parallels in other atrocities? Perhaps, though, the Nazis are peculiarly compelling because never before or since have we seen racial hatred in so extreme a form.

2. “Samuel Moyn: ‘Did Christianity Create Liberalism’“, Boston Review: Drawing on the differences between Anglo-American and French notions of liberalism—the latter structured on an idea of social achievements won over time and not inevitable, transcendent truths—this article considers Larry Siedentrop’s history of the individual in western thought. Siedentrop grounds his theories in a history of Christian thought, which Moyn argues limits the book; where, he asks, is Siedentrop’s account of the liberal traditions at the heart of Islam?

3. “Charles McGrath and Leslie Jamison: ‘What Is the Best Portrayal of a Marriage in Literature’“, The New York Times: McGrath and Jamison extract from the well-thumbed pages of Anthony Trollope and the less familiar pages of Jack Gilbert a series of ideas about marriage. Platitudinous though they may be, the resulting claims for the institution are a rousing read.

4. “Gary Greenberg: ‘The Future of an Illusion’“, Bookforum: This review of Jeffrey A. Lieberman’s defence of psychiatry highlights the constant attacks levelled at the discipline, dismissing it as a branch of medicine with spurious claims to understand its patients. This history reminds us that there is far more to psychiatry than cod-Freudianism, and that it can, in fact, be a rigorous medical discipline like any other.

5. “Adam Plunkett: ‘Keats and King Lear’“, Poetry Foundation: Keats’ Sunday devotions were likely to consist of rapt readings of passages from Shakespeare. Plunkett argues that a careful consideration of ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ and ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ reveals that they are, in fact, the great poet’s reworkings of King Lear.

6. “Matthew Kirschenbaum: ‘What Is an @uthor?“, Los Angeles Review of Books: Barthes, with his assertion that the author is dead, hadn’t necessarily predicted an age when every writer would be bombarding us with their views and intentions on Twitter. What are critics to do, now that the internet is alive with authorial interpretations?


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