What We Are Reading Today: Giuliano da Sangallo and the Ruins of Rome

What We Are Reading Today: Giuliano da Sangallo and the Ruins of Rome
Short Url
Updated 29 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Giuliano da Sangallo and the Ruins of Rome

What We Are Reading Today: Giuliano da Sangallo and the Ruins of Rome

Author: Cammy Brothers

Giuliano da Sangallo (1443–1516) was one of the first architects to draw the ruins and artifacts of ancient Rome in a systematic way. Cammy Brothers shows how Giuliano played a crucial role in the Renaissance recovery of antiquity, and how his work transformed the broken fragments of Rome’s past into the image of a city made whole.
Drawing new insights from the Codex Barberini and the Taccuino Senese — two exquisite collections of Giuliano’s drawings on parchment—Brothers reveals how the Florentine architect devoted enormous energy to the representation of ruins, and how his studies of Rome formed an integral part of his work as a designer. She argues that Giuliano’s inventive approach, which has often been mischaracterized as fantastical or naive, infused the architect’s craft with the sensibilities of a poet and painter. Brothers demonstrates how his drawings form the basis for a reevaluation of the meaning and method of the Renaissance study of ancient artifacts.


What We Are Reading Today: The Currency of Politics: The Political Theory of Money from Aristotle to Keynes

What We Are Reading Today: The Currency of Politics:  The Political Theory of Money from Aristotle to Keynes
Updated 25 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Currency of Politics: The Political Theory of Money from Aristotle to Keynes

What We Are Reading Today: The Currency of Politics:  The Political Theory of Money from Aristotle to Keynes

 Author: Stefan Eich 

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, critical attention has shifted from the economy to the most fundamental feature of all market economies—money. Yet despite the centrality of political struggles over money, it remains difficult to articulate its democratic possibilities and limits. 

The Currency of Politics takes readers from ancient Greece to today to provide an intellectual history of money, drawing on the insights of key political philosophers to show how money is not just a medium of exchange but also a central institution of political rule.


What We Are Reading Today: Cheerfulness: A Literary and Cultural History

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 24 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Cheerfulness: A Literary and Cultural History

Photo/Supplied

Author: Timothy Hampton

Cheerfulness: A Literary and Cultural History tells a new story about the cultural imagination of the West wherein cheerfulness — a momentary uptick in emotional energy, a temporary lightening of spirit — functions as a crucial theme in literary, philosophical, and artistic creations from early modern to contemporary times.  In a conclusion on cheerfulness in pandemic days, Hampton stresses the importance of lightness of mind under the pressure of catastrophe. A history of the emotional life of European and American cultures, a breathtaking exploration of the intersections of culture, literature, and psychology, Cheerfulness challenges the dominant narrative of Western aesthetics as a story of melancholy, mourning, tragedy, and trauma.

 


What We Are Reading Today: The Man Who Understood Democracy

What We Are Reading Today: The Man Who  Understood Democracy
Updated 23 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Man Who Understood Democracy

What We Are Reading Today: The Man Who  Understood Democracy

Author: Olivier Zunz
In 1831, at the age of twenty-five, Alexis de Tocqueville made his fateful journey to America, where he observed the thrilling reality of a functioning democracy.

From that moment onward, the French aristocrat would dedicate his life as a writer and politician to ending despotism in his country and bringing it into a new age.

In this authoritative and groundbreaking biography, leading Tocqueville expert Olivier Zunz tells the story of a radical thinker who, uniquely charged by the events of his time, both in America and France, used the world as a laboratory for his political ideas.


Author Mohammed Alnaas first Libyan to win International Prize for Arabic Fiction

Author Mohammed Alnaas first Libyan to win International Prize for Arabic Fiction
Updated 23 May 2022

Author Mohammed Alnaas first Libyan to win International Prize for Arabic Fiction

Author Mohammed Alnaas first Libyan to win International Prize for Arabic Fiction

DUBAI: Author Mohammed Alnaas, 31, is the youngest author and first Libyan to win the International Prize for Arabic Fiction for his book “Bread on Uncle Milad’s Table.”

The winner was announced on Sunday and Alnaas will be given a $50,000 prize in addition to funding for an English translation of the book.

The Libyan author delves into gender roles and ideas of masculinity in a faraway village of his native country for the book. After getting engaged, Milad’s family life becomes the talk of the village as he indulges in his passion for bread-making while his fiancé works to support the house.

Milad learns of the gossip by the neighborhood and publicly questions traditional gender roles.

Alnaas’s novel won out of six shortlisted novels, and was praised for its complexity and literary flair. 

The book was written in just six months during the lockdown, while Tripoli was under bombardment.

Alnaas revealed that writing “Bread on the Table of Uncle Milad” was his “refuge from insanity” amidst the news of COVID-19 and war.

“The winning novel is written in the form of confessions of personal experience. Its plethora of detail is deftly unified by a gripping narrative,” said Tunisian novelist and previous IPAF winner Shukri Mabkhout, chair of the 2022 judges. This offers a deep and meticulous critique of prevailing concepts of masculinity and femininity and the division of work between men and women, and the effect of these on both a psychological and social level. It falls into the category of novels which question cultural norms about gender. However, it is embedded in its local Arab context and steers away from any ideological treatment of the issues, as such a treatment would be contrary to the way in which fiction can present multiple points of view,” he added.

Born in 1991, Alnaas obtained a BA in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tripoli in 2014 before publishing his short story collection “Blue Blood” in 2020.


What We Are Reading Today: Wildlife of India by Bikram Grewal

What We Are Reading Today: Wildlife of India by Bikram Grewal
Updated 22 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Wildlife of India by Bikram Grewal

What We Are Reading Today: Wildlife of India by Bikram Grewal

The Indian subcontinent is exceptionally rich in wildlife because of its wide variety of habitats and climates, ranging from the ocean to the Himalayas and from the Rajasthan desert to Mawsynram in Meghalaya, one of the wettest places on earth. This diversity supports a huge range of charismatic species, from the iconic tiger to clouded leopards, crocodiles to king cobras, hornbills to eagles. 

The guide begins with an overview of India’s climate and geography, its wildlife habitats and how to enjoy them, and threats to wildlife. The main part of the book includes concise species descriptions of 770 birds, 114 mammals, 72 butterflies and other insects, 54 reptiles, and 54 plants, each accompanied by a photograph. The book concludes with a section on wildlife-watching in the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.