“Elegy for an Age,” by John D. Rosenberg

Elegy for an Age, by John D. RosenbergElegy for an Age: The Presence of the Past in Victorian Literature, by John D. Rosenberg. Anthem Press, July 2005. 288 pp. $26.95 ISBN 1843311542

Reviewed by George J. Leonard, San Francisco State University

If I had to rest the case for the immortality of John D. Rosenberg’s prose on one paragraph, I could choose the paragraph in “Mr. Darwin Collects Himself”– unknown to me before I read Elegy for an Age— in which Rosenberg caps a series of perfect hammered sentences with the image of Darwin, the enthusiastic entomologist, “at the center of a worldwide network of researchers in a multitude of fields, all touching antennae at local scientific societies or through the penny post . . .” It takes a second for one to register the creepy appropriateness of that image for entomologists, and by then one has pictured them, tete-a-tete, feelers waving. Anyone interested in Darwin who reads that description will never willingly let it be forgotten.


“Gloryland” and “Ruin,” two reviewed works

Gloryland, by Anne Marie Macari Ruin, by Cynthia Cruz

Gloryland, by Anne Marie Macari. Alice James Books (September 30, 2005). 75pp. paperback $14.95 ISBN 1882295501

Ruin, by Cynthia Cruz. Alice James Books (September 1, 2006). 80pp. paperback $14.95 ISBN 1882295587

Reviews by George Leonard

From that strange house, Alice James Press, which consistently offers remarkable works that defy poetic fashion, come almost in the same mail, two books which reflect upon each other, and a central problem in poetry– and in the criticism of it: Gloryland by Anne Marie Macari and Ruin, by Cynthia Cruz. If I hadn’t read Macari’s work back to back with Cruz’s, I might have liked the Cruz better. The two titles offer an illuminating contrast: gloryland versus ruin.


Two African works reviewed by George Leonard

Sleepwalking Land, by Mia Coutou Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali, by D. T. Niane

Sleepwalking Land, by Mia Couto. Translated by David Brookshaw. Serpent’s Tail (April 2006). 213pp. paperback $14.95 ISBN 185242897X

Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali, by D. T. Niane. Pearson Longman; 2nd edition (August 7, 2006). 120pp. paperback $16.00 ISBN 1405849428

Reviews by George Leonard


“While Europe Slept,” by Bruce Bawer

While Europe Slept, by Bruce BawerWhile Europe Slept, by Bruce Bawer. DoubleDay, 2006. 256pp. hardcover $16.29 ISBN 0385514727

Bewildering Complexities of Integrating Muslims into Europe
Review by Manfred Wolf

A recent book, “While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within,” dwells on the habitual looking away of liberal European elites from the problems posed by Muslim immigrants — a blindness and silence it regards as continuing to this day. The author Bruce Bawer claims that if Europe does not defend against its “Weimar Moment,” it will be destroyed from within. The Weimar Republic, it should be recalled, failed to take a stand against Hitler before he came to power.


“Here, Bullet,” poems by Brian Turner

Here, Bullet, poems by Brian TurnerHere, Bullet, poems by Brian Turner. Alice James Books, 2005. 71pp $14.95 paperback ISBN 1882295552

A review by George Leonard.

From the time of the Iliad until World War I, war was one of poetry’s central topics, yet now the subject seems taboo; as if all other artists were allowed to address this large and persistent area of human life except the poet. Even to write poetry involving war is suspect. Why? Why must the poet be excluded from the debate?


“Bodies of Work,” essays by Kathy Acker

Bodies of Work, essays by Kathy AckerBodies of Work, essays by Kathy Acker. Serpent’s Tail, 1997. Reprinted with an Afterword by Cynthia Carr in 2006, 179pp $16.00 ISBN 1852424850

A review by George Leonard.

When Kathy Acker died, the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State did something that I’d never seen before: they covered the wall of one corridor with a collage of pictures, notes, testimonials of homage and grief. Such was the passion that this unlikely poetic diva inspired. I only met her once, at a premiere of an Eleanor Antin film– a small, startling combination of piercings, muscles, and wild hair, unexpectedly gentle and affable for a woman working on Janis Joplin’s reputation.


“Museum Skepticism” and “Sean Scully,” by David Carrier

Museum Skepticism, by David CarrierMuseum Skepticism: a History of the Display of Art in Public Galleries, by David Carrier. Duke University Press, 2006. xiii+313pp with bibliography and index. $16.00 ISBN 0822336944 Sean Scully by David Carrier. New York and London: Thames and Hudson, (224 pp, 190 color illustrations, 10 black and white.) $65.00 cloth. I-Shu Shi Xie Zuo [Principles of Art History Writing], by David Carrier, translated into Chinese by Wu Xiao Lai (297 pages, 40 color illustrations) Beijing: Renmin Daxue (People’s University Press) 2004, 49.80 yuan.

A review by George J. Leonard, San Francisco State University

In the summer of 2006, as baseball fans were watching Barry Bonds push his lifetime home-run total into the 720s, patiently chasing Hank Aaron’s record, those of us who follow aesthetics were watching David Carrier write his 11th 12th and 13th book, chasing his teacher Arthur Danto’s home run record. I had recently finished Carrier’s Rosalind Krauss and American Philosophical Art Criticism (2002), Writing about Visual Art (2003), and the catalog of a museum show he put together. (My favorite among his books remains The Aesthetics of Comics.) Today I review Carrier’s latest book, Sean Scully, and the Chinese translation of his Principles of Art History Writing, plus Museum Skepticism: a History of the Display in Public Galleries, Carrier’s book on the museum experience from Duke University Press, begun during a year at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.


“Sniper,” a novel by Pavel Hak

Sniper, a novel by Pavel Hak
Sniper; a novel by Pavel Hak. Editions Tristram, 2002. Trans. 2005 by Gerry Feehily, 121pp $14.00 paperback. ISBN 1-852-42856-2

A review by Eric Solomon

This short (121 small pages) “war novel” needs genre classification. Brief war novels are not anomalies: Tolstoy’s Sebastapol, Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, March’s Company K are quick examinations of battle’s grim horrors. Pavel Hak follows a pattern of eschewing character development and plot creation to concentrate on terror in the tradition of Holocaust narrative. The unwary reader of Sniper, however, is unprepared for (more…)

“The C.S. Lewis Chronicles,” by Colin Duriez

C S Lewis Chronicles The C.S. Lewis Chronicles: The Indispensible Biography of the Creator of Narnia Full of Little-Known Facts, Events and Miscellany; a biography by Colin Duriez. BlueBridge Books, 298 pp$14.95 paperback. ISBN: 0-974-24058-3

A review by George W. Tuma

Most biographers have generally followed Dryden’s dictum in 1683 that a biography presents the “history of particular men’s lives.” Furthermore, the biographer usually sets forth the history of the individual so that a unified interpretation of the person’s life is made available to the reader. Colin Duriez, however, in his biography of C.S. Lewis clearly views the term “biography” in a rather different fashion (more…)

“Selected Poems,” by Ann Yearsley

Selected Poems; by Ann Yearsley. Ed. Tim Burke, foreword by Donna Landry. The Cyder Press, xxiv+88 pp. £5, softcover only. ISBN 1-86174-1324.

A review by William J. Christmas

     Ann Yearsley, the milkwoman-turned-poet from Clifton, has always been known more for the extraordinary circumstances of her poetic career than for the poetry she actually produced. To be sure, hers is a remarkable story of discovery near death, development under patronage, and fiercely fought-for independence. (more…)

« Previous PageNext Page »

A WordPress installation by Robert Hallsey