Oxford University Press

There is something oddly Jesuitical about this arresting, if not quite thrilling, collection of essays in defence of Modernism (and so modernity). It may be Krishna that Amit Chaudhuri champions, rather than Catholic doctrine, or at least Krishna’s delight in ‘the infinitely tantalizing play, chicanery, and ...

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As a young man, George Washington (1732–99) worked as a surveyor. Looking at a landscape, he could plan its division into orderly tracts. These skills would prove useful when he became the first president of the United States in April 1789. At the time ...

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The appearance of a new dictionary is always exciting, and the publication of the second edition of the Australian National Dictionary is certainly cause for celebration ...

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Words and their meanings, more than any other aspects of language, hold a special fascination for people. Perhaps it is because, unlike these other features (which are set down during childhood), they continue to be acquired throughout one's lifetime. Words and their meanings are also intimately tied to the life and culture of speakers, and all sorts of perspectives ...

The Great War produced its own idiom and slang. Many of the new words and phrases created during the long conflict, such as ‘tank’ and ‘barrage’, became part of standard English, although often with a different nuance of meaning.

The recording of Australian soldier slang was seen as important at the end of the war. It was recognised as being integral to the unique character of the Australian soldier and linked to the official war historian C.E.W. Bean’s characterisation of the Australian soldier as the bronzed bushman and an outstanding fighter with a disdain for authority. In 1919, W.H. Downing published Digger Dialects; he described the slang he had collected as ‘a by-product of the collective imagination of the A.I.F.’. In the early 1920s, A.G. Pretty, chief librarian at the Australian War Museum, later the Australian War Memorial, compiled a ‘Glossary of Slang and Peculiar Terms in Use in the A.I.F.’. Amanda Laugesen (now the director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre at the Australian National University) has previously edited an online version of Pretty’s ‘Glossary’ and in 2005 published Diggerspeak: The Language of Australians at War.

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On what terms should we interrogate the past? Ancient life can seem essentially unknowable, a place where everything is different, glimpsed only in the words of those who lived then and surviving traces of material culture.

The Cambridge classical scholar Sir Moses Finley argued for an interpretation of ancient life bounded by then current civic and religious beliefs. Finley’s The Ancient Economy (1973) suggested that economic life in classical Greece and Rome was not distinct and separate, with its own language, but was tied intimately to social life. We err therefore by translating current notions of economic motivation to a world of slaves and gods, closeted women, and limited technology. The ancients did not dwell on capital formation, efficiency, or economic growth.

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In his November 2010 lecture delivered as Oxford Professor of Poetry, Geoffrey Hill tested the idea that poetry might constitute a form of perjury. He acknowledged that ‘this is a deeply pessimistic view: many would say anachronistic’. Showing that language is an imperfect and even fallen medium which presents moral hazards to its users was not, however, the ses ...

Paul Giles has done important work reimagining North American literary history as allied rather than isolationist – revisioning American literature not as the definition of landlocked nation or exceptional homeland but as the product of transatlantic and continental traverses of forms and voices. In three books, Transatlantic Insurrections (2001), Atlantic Republic (2006), and The Global Remapping of American Literature (2011), he has uncovered the lines of influence and adaptation between North American, British, and European literary cultures. As a geographical materialist, he focuses on individual authors, overlaid with their spatial and historical environments from the colonialist, to the revolutionary, to the postmodern. But he is not an Archimedean, seeking a still perspective from somewhere above or beyond. Rather, his outlook is shaped by cartographical models of the globe with their surface mosaics of national territories and periods. Whether geographical, historical, or literary, the world is always remappable. His impulse is a deterritorialising one, looking out from within the literary work, that imaginary space from which selves, borders, hemispheres, the nation, the world can be reperceived and co-ordinates reversed or rotated.

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This book by Nigel Biggar, Anglican minister and Oxford Professor of Theology, is in the rich and broad tradition of thinking about war known as Just War Theory (JWT). JWT sees war as justifiable, but holds that decisions about going to war, as well as about the way it is fought, are subject to moral constraints ...

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Helen Small, Professor of English at Pembroke College, Oxford, adopts a pragmatic and non-polemical approach in addressing The Value of the Humanities. This topic has been much debated recently as political and economic pressures on universities and funding agencies have led to an alleged devaluation of the humanities.

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