What We Are Reading Today: The Music of Time by John Burnside

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Updated 21 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Music of Time by John Burnside

Poetry helps us to make sense of our world, transforming what the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam called the “noise of time” into a kind of music. 

The Music of Time is a unique history of 20th-century poetry by one of today’s most acclaimed poets, blending incandescent personal meditations with rare insights about a broad range of poets who distilled the essence of the moment, gave voice to our griefs and joys, and shaped our collective memory.

Bringing together poets from times and places as diverse as Tsarist Russia, 1960s Harlem, and Ireland at the height of the Troubles, John Burnside reveals how poetry responded to the dramatic events of the century while shaping our impressions of them. 

He takes readers from the trenches of World War I to a prison cell in Nazi Germany, and from Rilke’s grave in the Swiss Alps to Dylan Thomas’s Welsh seaside. His luminous narrative is woven through with insights into the poet’s creative process as well as lyrical and thought-provoking digressions on topics ranging from marriage to the Kennedy assassination.

A spellbinding work of literary history, The Music of Time reveals how poets engaged with the most important issues and events of the 20th century, and bears personal witness to the beauty and power of an art form unlike any other.


What We Are Reading Today: The Muqaddimah

Updated 04 April 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Muqaddimah

Author: Ibn Khaldun

The Muqaddimah, often translated as “Introduction” or “Prolegomenon,” is the most important Islamic history of the premodern world.
Written by the great 14th-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun (died 1406), this monumental work established the foundations of several fields of knowledge, including the philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography, and economics.
The first complete English translation by the eminent interpreter of Arabic literature Franz Rosenthal was published in three volumes in 1958 as part of the Bollingen Series and received immediate acclaim in the US and abroad. A one-volume abridged version of Rosenthal’s masterful translation first appeared in 1969.
This Princeton Classics edition of the abridged version includes Rosenthal’s original introduction as well as a contemporary introduction by Bruce B. Lawrence.
This volume makes available a seminal work of Islam and medieval and ancient history to twenty-first century audiences, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.