Cambridge University Press

Violent and non-violent harm is endured, inflicted, and internalised by all people at different times, and to varying degrees. It was Cicero who is believed to have first posited that the main obligation human beings have is to refrain from harming one another, and that any unnecessary act of doing so renders that person an enemy of the human race.

... (read more)

In a 2009 interview linked to his production of Endgame in which he played Clov, the actor–director Simon McBurney observed that ‘nearly all theatre colleagues I meet have a Beckett story’. My own (second-hand) favourite Beckett story, told me by the Brecht scholar and former deputy editor of the Times Literary Supplement John Willett, might seem too drolly apposite to be true: but he assured me that it was.

... (read more)

Bernard Smith, who died in September 2011, was responsible for creating the first orthodoxy in Australian art history. His version of the story of Australian art has been persuasive and enduring. It held sway for half a century; in many ways we are still living with it. Smith’s classic account of the development of Australian art was Australian Painting, first published in 1962 and reprinted with updates in 1971, 1991, and 2001.

... (read more)

Henry Reynolds is the pre-eminent historian of Aboriginal–settler relations in Australia, and with this theme he begins his history of Tasmania. He eschews the obligatory set piece description of Aboriginal society before the Europeans arrived, with which so many books now awkwardly commence ...

... (read more)

There is an entertaining moment in Woody Allen’s new film when the protagonist, Gil Pender, meets young Ernest in a bar. ‘You liked my book?’ Hemingway asks. ‘Liked? I loved all your work!’ gushes the time-travelling Pender. Hemingway looks chuffed and then proclaims his aesthetic.

... (read more)

Many of us would find it as hard as Shaw’s Ladvenu does to think of any good reason for torture. It seems medieval, it is abhorrent, it is internationally illegal, and it doesn’t work. Statements made under torture are legally useless, and their value as intelligence is not much better ...

... (read more)

Climate change is often framed as a number of battles: between science and opinion, sustainable development and economic growth, government control and individual freedom, or environmentalists and business leaders. All of these are simplifications of the complexity involved in our modern world’s developing adequate responses to human-caused climate change.

... (read more)

The Cambridge Companion to the Sonnet edited by A.D. Cousins and Peter Howarth

by
September 2011, no. 334

It is a measure of the stature of William Wordsworth among his younger contemporaries that he would find himself subject to innumerable challenges over the early years of the nineteenth century. What upset the second generation of Romantic poets – Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and, to some extent ...

... (read more)

A book’s title should indicate its subject and, even better, its approach to its subject. Basic dictionaries define a companion as one who ‘accompanies another’, is an ‘associate in’, or a ‘sharer of’. A secondary definition is a ‘handbook or reference book’; a thing that ‘matches another’. I anticipate that a book called a ‘Companion’ will be company, will allow me to associate, to share, refer, and be matched as though with a real-life companion; a partner. Given that the book is published by a major university press, it is expected that the companion may be more of a mentor than a guide, but still present information in a lively, accessible style.

... (read more)

When the United States recently announced its commitment to enforce a ‘no-fly zone’ in Libya, the State Department spokesman was asked whether the United States was now at war. He could only manage a floundering non-answer. The unfortunate spokesman’s difficulty with this apparently simple question is a reminder of the vast changes in the nature of military conflict in recent decades. Major conflicts are seldom a matter of one state formally declaring war on another, with a largely agreed set of rules on the conduct of operations (sometimes flouted in horrific ways) and with some generally accepted markers of victory and defeat.

... (read more)