What We Are Reading Today: The Myth of the Eternal Return

Updated 09 November 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: The Myth of the Eternal Return

Author: Mircea Eliade

First published in English in 1954, this founding work of the history of religions secured the North American reputation of the Romanian émigré-scholar Mircea Eliade. Making reference to an astonishing number of cultures and drawing on scholarship published in no fewer than half a dozen European languages, The Myth of the Eternal Return illuminates the religious beliefs and rituals of a wide variety of archaic religious cultures. While acknowledging that a return to their practices is impossible, Eliade passionately insists on the value of understanding their views to enrich the contemporary imagination of what it is to be human, according to a review on the Princeton University Press website. This book includes an introduction from Jonathan Z. Smith that provides essential context and encourages readers to engage in an informed way with this classic text.
Mircea Eliade (1907–1986) was the Sewell L. Avery Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago.


What We Are Reading Today: Air Traffic by Gregory Pardlo

Updated 22 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Air Traffic by Gregory Pardlo

  • The author examines the ramifications of the episode on his family’s legacy, then expands to consider questions of race, addiction and fatherhood

Air Traffic is a courageously written book that chronicles among other things Gregory Pardlo’s complex relationship with members of his family, particularly his father and younger brother.

Gregory Pardlo’s father was one of the thousands of air traffic controllers fired in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan. The author examines the ramifications of the episode on his family’s legacy, then expands to consider questions of race, addiction and fatherhood.

Pardlo “is a talented writer and he examines so many issues in this memoir — race, economics, manhood, addiction, family and sibling relationships, marriage and parenthood,” says a review published in goodreads.com. A review published in The New York Times, Janet Maslin said: “The book is centered on the troubled relationship between the author and his father, although it roams freely in many other directions ... Simple description does not do Pardlo’s story justice; only his own sublime words can achieve that.” The review added: “When Pardlo won the Pulitzer in 2015 for his collection Digest, the citation praised his ‘clear-voiced poems that bring readers the news from 21st-century America, rich with thought, ideas and histories public and private.’ Replace the word ‘poems’ with the word “essays,” and you have an apt description of the second part of Air Traffic.”