What We Are Reading Today: The Politics of Pain

Updated 11 November 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Politics of Pain

Author: Fintan O’Toole

This is a book about the UK exiting from Brexit. “England’s recent lurch to the right appears to be but one example of the nationalist wave sweeping across the world, yet as acclaimed Irish critic Fintan O’Toole suggests in The Politics of Pain, it is, in reality, a phenomenon rooted in the second World War,” said a review in goodreads.com.
“After the war the UK did not end up as good as they wanted to be. So they were in the European Nation but in 2016 they decided to leave it. They were seeking a new national destiny to shape a new political life and England wanted to be reborn in a new unity that was not with Europe. However, the author does not think their plan went exactly the way they wanted it go,” said the review.
O’Toole is a columnist, assistant editor and drama critic for The Irish Times.
He is a literary critic, historical writer and political commentator, with generally left-wing views. He was and continues to be a strong critic of corruption in Irish politics.


What We Are Reading Today: Crossing the Pomerium by Michael Koortbojian

Updated 23 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Crossing the Pomerium by Michael Koortbojian

The ancient Romans famously distinguished between civic life in Rome and military matters outside the city — a division marked by the pomerium, an abstract religious and legal boundary that was central to the myth of the city’s foundation. 

Michael Koortbojian explores how the Romans used social practices and public monuments to assert their capital’s distinction from its growing empire, to delimit the proper realms of religion and law from those of war and conquest, and to establish and disseminate so many fundamental Roman institutions across three centuries of imperial rule. Crossing the Pomerium probes such topics as the appearance in the city of Romans in armor, whether in representation or in life, the role of religious rites on the battlefield, and the military image of Constantine on the arch built in his name. 

The book reveals how, in these instances and others, the ancient ideology of crossing the pomerium reflects the efforts of Romans not only to live up to the ideals they had inherited, but also to reconceive their past and to validate contemporary practices during a time when Rome enjoyed growing dominance in the Mediterranean world.