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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Archive entrees

  1. The Age of Beloveds: Love and the Beloved in Early-Modern Ottoman and European Culture and Society by Walter G. Andrews, Mehmet Kalpakli (Duke University Press) (Hardcover) "The Age of Beloveds is a treasure and a masterpiece. With breathtakingly extensive original research, it is beautifully written, in a style both inviting and impressive. It is the fruit of a lifetime's project to add Ottoman literature to the canons of world literature." -Victoria Holbrook, author of The Unreadable Shores of Love: Turkish Modernity and Mystic Romance.
    The Age of Beloveds offers a rich introduction to early-modern Ottoman culture through a study of its beautiful lyric love poetry. At the same time, it suggests provocative cross-cultural parallels in the sociology and spirituality of love in Europe—from Istanbul to London—during the long sixteenth century. Walter G. Andrews and Mehmet Kalpakli provide a generous sampling of translations of Ottoman poems, many of which have never appeared in English, along with informative and inspired close readings. The authors explain that the flourishing of Ottoman power and culture during the "Turkish Renaissance" manifested itself, to some degree, as an "age of beloveds," in which young men became the focal points for the desire and attention of powerful officeholders and artists as well as the inspiration for a rich literature of love.
    The authors show that the "age of beloveds" was not just an Ottoman, eastern European, or Islamic phenomenon. It extended into western Europe as well, pervading the cultures of Venice, Florence, Rome, and London during the same period. Andrews and Kalpakli contend that in an age dominated by absolute rulers and troubled by war, cultural change, and religious upheaval, the attachments of dependent courtiers and the longings of anxious commoners aroused an intense interest in love and the beloved. The Age of Beloveds reveals new commonalities in the cultural-history of two worlds long seen as radically different.  More

  2. Affect Imagery Consciousness: Volume I: The Positive Affects and Volume II: The Negative Affects;
    Affect Imagery Consciousness: Volume III: The Negative Affects: Anger and Fear and Volume IV: Cognition: Duplication and Transformation of Information by Silvan S. Tomkins (Springer Publishing Company) The writings that have become this massive masterwork consumed him from the mid-1950s through the end of his life in 1991. Knowing it was his "lifework," Tomkins conflated "life" and "work," reifying the superstition that its completion would equal death and refusing to release for publication long-completed material. He knew the risks associated with this obsessive, neurotic behavior, and the results were as bad as predicted. The first two volumes of Affect Imagery Consciousness (AIC) were released in 1962 and 1963, Volume III in 1991 shortly before he succumbed to a particularly virulent strain of small cell lymphoma, and Volume IV a year after his death. Only one vendor, the Joseph Fox Bookshop of Philadelphia, maintained the entire set in stock and handled the needs of scholars all over the world for it as well as the other books written by our group.
    This last book contains Tomkins's understanding of neocortical cognition, ideas that are even now exciting, but until this current publication of his work as a single supervolume, almost nobody has read it. The bulk of his audience had died along with the enthusiasm generated by his ideas. Big science is now more a matter of big machines and unifocal discoveries as the basis for pars pro toto reasoning than big ideas based on the assembly and analysis of all that is known. Tomkins ignored nothing from any science past or present that might lead him toward a more certain understanding of the mind. Every idea, every theory deserved attention if only because significant observations can loiter in blind alleys. This present publication of the entire set as what we have come to call a supervolume has been made possible by a grant from the 1675 Foundation, which has taken special interest in The Silvan S. Tomkins Institute’s work to encourage the study and research of Tomkins masterwork. By allowing the Tomkins Institute to underwrite this publication and act as co-publisher, the new management of Springer Publishing Company has been able to make Affect Imagery Consciousness both affordable and accessible to a large audience. More

  3. A Companion to Hume by Elizabeth S. Radcliffe (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy: Wiley-Blackwell)  David Hume's public life as a philosopher and an intellectual began with the publication of the first two books of A Treatise of Human Nature in 1739 when he was only 28 years old. The third book appeared a year later. Although scarce notice was taken of his work at the time, Hume's approach to philosophy was revolutionary. In his Introduction to the Treatise and in the abstract of that work, Hume compares his investigations to that of some recent writers who had been applying the new methods of the seventeenth-century natural philosopher, Francis Bacon, to "the science of man." Bacon recognized the proper roles of observation and reason in the study of natural phenomena, and he was among the first to formulate a method of inquiry designed to guard against fallacious reasoning due to social and personal biases. Bacon is regarded as one of the important contributors to the development of the modern scientific method. Likewise, Hume adopts an empirical approach to his study of human nature — but with results dramatically different from those near-contemporaries, John Locke and Francis Hutcheson, whom he cites as allies in this method. More

  4. Divine Knowledge: Buddhist Mathematics According to Antoine Mostaert's Manual of Mongolian Astrology and Divination by Brian G. Baumann (Brill's Inner Asian Library: Brill Academic Publishers) In an original and compelling examination of traditional mathematics, this comprehensive study of the anonymous; Manual of Mongolian Astrology and Divination (published by A. Mostaert in 1969) takes on the fundamental problem of the post‑enlightenment categorization of knowledge, in particular the inherently problematic realms of religion and science, as well as their subsets, medicine, ritual, and magic. In the process of elucidating the rhetoric and logic shaping this manual the author reveals not only the intertwined intellectual history of Eurasia from Greece to China but also dismantles many of the discourses that have shaped its modern interpretations. More

  5. Magic in the Ancient Greek World by Derek Collins (Blackwell Ancient Religions: Wiley-Blackwell) Magic in the Ancient Greek World is an innovative introduction to the practice of magic during the classical period. This book develops a framework for understanding the role of magic in Greek life. 
    Thematically organized around detailed case studies of individual types of magic, this volume examines the use of spells, drugs, binding curses, figurines, and the specialists who offered them. Collins reveals how each of these magical practices worked and the cultural structures that allowed them to occur.
    Original and insightful, Magic in the Ancient Greek World takes the reader inside both the social imagination and the ritual reality that made magic possible in ancient Greece. More

  6. Instructions for the Netherworld: The Orphic Gold Tablets by Alberto Bernabé, Ana Isabel Jimenez San Cristobal, iconographic commentary by Ricardo Olmos, illustrated by Sara Olmos (or), translated by Michael Chase (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World: Brill) Orphic gold tables are key documents for the knowledge of rites and beliefs of Orphics, an atypical group that configured a highly original creed and that influenced powerfully over other Greek writers and thinkers. The recent discovery of some tablets has forced a noteworthy modification of some points of view and a review of the different hypothesis proposed about them. The book presents a complete edition of the texts, their translation and some fundamental keys for their interpretation, in an attempt at updating our current knowledge on Orphic ideas about the soul and the Afterlife stated in those texts. The work is improved with an appendix of iconographic annotations in which some plastic representations in drawings are reproduced related to the universe of tablets, selected and commented on by Ricardo Olmos. More

  7. Paracelsus (Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, 1493-1541): Essential Theoretical Writings edited, introduced, translated by Andrew Weeks (Aries Book Series: Brill) The daunting writings of Paracelsus—the second largest 16th-century body of writings in German after Luther's—contributed to medicine, natural science, alchemy, philosophy, theology, and esoteric tradition. This volume provides a critical edition of essential writings from the authoritative 1589 Huser Paracelsus alongside new English translations and commentary on the sources and context of the full corpus. The Essential Theoretical Writings incorporate topics ranging from metaphyics, cosmology, faith, religious conflict, magic, gender, and education, to the processes of nature, disease and medication, female and male sufferings, and cures of body and soul. Properly contextualized, these treatises yield rich extracts of Renaissance and Reformation culture, soundings of 16th-century life, and keys to an influential but poorly understood early modern intellectual tradition. This work will supersede all other translations into English and lays an admirable foundation for future balanced and depth studies of Paracelsus.
    Andrew Weeks is Professor of German at Illinois State University, with a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of Illinois, has published intellectual biographies of Jacob Boehme, Paracelsus, Valentin Weigel, a history of German mysticism, and translations of Weigel's writings. He is well qualified to help in the reform of this pivotal figure standing between tradition and the innovations of science.  More


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