John Carroll

Never far from one’s mind these days, the events of September 11, 2001, and their direct aftermath in Afghanistan and elsewhere, had to be prominent in this month’s issue of ABR, such is their complex resonance and ubiquitous iconography. To complement Morag Fraser’s essay in this issue on the consequences of ‘September 11’ for civic ...

When Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth appeared in Britain, British feminists asked, ‘where has Naomi Wolf been for the last 20 years?’ The same question might well be asked of John Carroll. His assessment of humanism seems imperiously oblivious to structuralist and poststructuralist critiques of the humanist edifice.

... (read more)

The remarkable Peter Corris has done it again, producing his third book this year, with probably a couple still to come. I say remarkable because, with the occasional lapse, he manages to maintain a high standard of entertainment despite being prolific. No real writer, of course, would countenance publishing one book a year, let alone four or five, but fortunately for crime buffs this is not a problem for Mr Carris, who, one suspects, would happily produce a book every month if the publishers let him.

... (read more)

This odd little book could be a worthy antipodean entry in the Bead Game, the semi-religious competitive ritual that Herman Hesse in his Magister Ludi (1945) saw steadily engrossing the high intellects of the West as we neared the year 2000 CE. Players were challenged to confront the full breadth of human culture and compose a personal Hand, a sequence of allusions to past high moments of faith, science or art, whose novel juxtaposition and hidden correspondences would both deeply inform and spiritually enrich. Because they lived impotent and dejected amid the rubble of an exhausted civilisation, Hesse’s players had no more gratifying occupation, and, of course, the introduction of new beads treating of the culture of the recent past or anything faintly contemporary was severely discouraged.

... (read more)