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In Half/Mask, Roger Mitchell goes in search of the magic that remains when the world is stripped down to “an inhospitable beauty.” Many of these starkly lyrical poems explore the human and natural communities found on tundra and borrow freely from the great narrative and sculptural traditions of the Inuit and other rugged people who have learned to live intensely under challenging conditions. Whether in the High Arctic or in different places “where human life . . . has a loose fit,” Mitchell discovers a land rich in imagery and metaphor for describing experience at a fundamental level, out at the edge of what we can know: “Alone and far away, remote, a step / or two beyond human, real being.” An effort to understand and sympathetically inhabit the earth drives these poems, even in the barren isolation of their settings, and gives to Half/Mask its emotional resonance.
Oppression and Resistance
Although halfway houses have been touted for years as affirmative rehabilitation locations that ready women for life in the outside world, in this remarkable case study Gail Caputo shows how these places reinforce patterns of control and abuse that reaffirm the dependency and victimization of the inmates. Based on observations made while living and working alongside women at a halfway house within the prison system in a city in the Northeast, Caputo’s analysis is anchored in the words and experiences of over a dozen women. Organized according to the progression of “levels” residents traverse during their time in the house, and the rules and behaviors associated with each level, Caputo offers a riveting look at what passes for “rehabilitation” and “reintegration” in such places, and delineates the many ways these women retain agency by resisting regulations designed to keep them in their place.
An Account of My Life
Feng Youlan (1895-1990) was twentieth-century China's leading original philosopher as well as its foremost historian of Chinese philosophy. He is best known in the West for his two-volume History of Chinese Philosophy, which remains the standard general history of the subject. He is also known for a series of books in which he developed a philosophical system combining elements of Chinese philosophy, particularly Neo-Confucianism, with Western thinking. In his preface to The Hall of Three Pines, Feng likens his autobiography to accounts written by "authors of ancient times, [who] on completing their major works, often wrote a separate piece to recount their origins and experiences, giving the overall plan of their work, and declaring their aims."
The Hall of Three Pines begins in the 1890s, during the Chinese empire, and extends to the 1980s. According to Feng, "No age before was swept up in such a maelstrom of convoluted change." The son of a district magistrate, Feng left his home in 1910 at the age of fifteen to study in the provincial capital of Kaifeng and later at the China Academy in Shanghai. During the warlord and Kuomintang years, he graduated from Peking University, obtained a Ph.D. in philosophy under John Dewey at Columbia University, and became a professor of philosophy at several of Chin's most prestigious universities. Fleeing the Japanese invasion, Feng, along with many of his university colleagues, moved south to Changsha and Kunming. After Japan's surrender, he returned to teaching in Beijing and there witnessed the chaos of the Kuomintang-Communist civil war. Feng suffered the fate of many prominent intellectuals during the Cultural Revolution and was rehabilitated after Mao's death. His remaining years were spent in Beijing, at his long-time residence, The Hall of Three Pines, where he continued to work despite the gradual loss of his eyesight. Feng completed The Hall of Pines shortly before returning to the U.S. to receive an honorary degree from Columbia in 1982.
The book is divided into three parts: The first is entitled "Society," which Feng describes as a record of his environment. "Philosophy" concerns Feng's work as an original philosopher and historian of Chinese philosophy and includes extensive excerpts from his own writings and discussions of these by himself and others. The final section, "Universities," is a discussion of education and delves into details of Chinese academic affairs.
The Hall of Three Pines is a monumental work of personal and intellectual history spanning nearly nine decades in the life of modern China's one great philosopher.
Lincoln's Chief of Staff
“Halleck originates nothing, anticipates nothing, to assist others; takes no responsibility, plans nothing, suggests nothing, is good for nothing.” Lincoln’s secretary of the navy Gideon Welles’s harsh words constitute the stereotype into which Union General-in-Chief Henry Wager Halleck has been cast by most historians since Appomattox. In Halleck: Lincoln’s Chief of Staff, originally published in 1962, Stephen Ambrose challenges the standard interpretation of this controversial figure. Ambrose argues persuasively that Halleck has been greatly underrated as a war theorist because of past writer’s failure to do justice to his close involvement with three movements basic to the development of the American military establishment: the Union high command’s application—and ultimate rejection—of the principles of Baron Henri Jomini; the growth of a national, professional army at the expense of the state militia; and the beginnings of a modern command system.
College Men in the Old South
A powerful confluence of youthful energies and entrenched codes of honor enlivens Robert F. Pace’s look at the world of male student college life in the antebellum South. Through extensive research into records, letters, and diaries of students and faculty from more than twenty institutions, Pace creates a vivid portrait of adolescent rebelliousness struggling with the ethic to cultivate a public face of industry, respect, and honesty. These future leaders confronted authority figures, made friends, studied, courted, frolicked, drank, gambled, cheated, and dueled—all within the established traditions of their southern culture. For the sons of southern gentry, college life presented a variety of challenges, including engaging with northern professors and adjusting to living away from home and family. The young men extended the usual view of higher education as a bridge between childhood and adulthood, innovatively creating their own world of honor that prepared them for living in the larger southern society. Failure to obtain a good education was a grievous breach of honor for them, and Pace skillfully weaves together stories of student antics, trials, and triumphs within the broader male ethos of the Old South. When the Civil War erupted, many students left campus to become soldiers, defend their families, and preserve a way of life. By war's end, the code of honor had waned, changing the culture of southern colleges and universities forever. Halls of Honor represents a significant update of E. Merton Coulter’s 1928 classic work, College Life in the Old South, which focused on the University of Georgia. Pace's lively study will widen the discussion of antebellum southern college life for decades to come.
Philosophy and Psychology
A Nebraska Territory Diary
Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of scholarly interest in the work of Johann Georg Hamann (1730–1788), across disciplines. New translations of work by and about Hamann are appearing, as are a number of books and articles on Hamann’s aesthetics, theories of language and sexuality, and unique place in Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment thought.
Edited by Lisa Marie Anderson, Hamann and the Tradition gathers established and emerging scholars to examine the full range of Hamann’s impact—be it on German Romanticism or on the very practice of theology. Of particular interest to those not familiar with Hamann will be a chapter devoted to examining—or in some cases, placing—Hamann in dialogue with other important thinkers, such as Socrates, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.