Monday November 8th, 2010

In the Ether

leoOn the 100th anniversary of Leo Tolstoy’s death, The Atlantic digs out an 1891 profile of him from its archives. . . . Craig Fehrman profiles historian Jill Lepore for the Boston Globe on the occasion of her new book about the Tea Party. He writes a follow-up post, about other historians’ opinions of Lepore, on his blog. . . . Carlene Bauer writes about Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Rilke, Simone Weil, and religious doubt. . . . Belated birthday wishes for D.G. Myers’ A Commonplace Blog, which recently turned two. Myers also recently linked to a piece reconsidering a 1978 novel by Stanley Crawford; a novel with the amazing title Some Instructions to my Wife Concerning the Upkeep of the House and Marriage, and to my Son and Daughter, Concerning the Conduct of their Childhood. The book deals, in part, with metaphors for marriage, as does another Crawford book that I wrote about here a while back. . . . Pauline Kael on not watching a movie more than once. . . . A San Francisco newspaper sent Dave Eggers to the World Series with a sketchbook. This is what he saw. . . . A bit of philosophy to round things out: 91-year-old Mary Midgley has a must-read at The New Humanist called “Against Humanism.” I found it provocative, clear, and pithy: “Materialists take matter to be what is typically real, but matter itself is not at all what it used to be.” I’m strongly agnostic myself, but have to bristle (yet again) at the smug shallowness of today’s atheists, some of whom quickly dismiss Midgley’s work in the comments.