The provocative novel, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, begins in the year 2060, 40 years after humans first discovered hauntingly beautiful music being broadcasted from the Alpha Centauri system. The world voyeuristically awaits any snippets of news about Father Emilio Sandoz, a priest and the only surviving member of an exploratory mission commissioned by the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, to seek out the origin of these strange broadcasts.
Charles Taylor has recently argued that in modern societies “we tend to see our lives exclusively within the horizontal flow of secular time,” to the point that time “has become a container, indifferent to what fills it.” What Taylor means by “secular time” pertains to both contemporary American and European culture and, as globalization continues, other parts of the world, as will be explained below, as well as the culture of the late-medieval period in Europe.
In the preface to Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire, the character Charles Kinbote urges the reader to refer to his annotations to a poem and to “study the poem with their help, rereading them of course.” Critics who followed this advice soon published labyrinthine notes with annotations of the annotations of the poem, “Pale Fire.” In his review of such criticism, Charles Ross writes of academics: “We are a busy people. Not many can wile away the hours in graduate school trying to construct a grammar of Zemblan. Give the public the solution it wants; then let us reread…a great short essay might have been a better choice than a spiraling critical study.”
Hi! H-I-G-H. I am a middle-aged teacher living most of my waking hours among young adults. After an appendectomy with some complications, I am floating in a thin atmosphere of pain and morphine. But I just had a visitor, and now, as many artists in fugue are wont to do, I’d like to philosophize about her.
The mid-nineteenth century in England was a period of considerable social upheaval produced by widespread economic, political, and technological shifts. The decades following the Napoleonic wars brought repeated class conflicts and economic depressions as well as continual expansion of British imperial interests and increasing industrialization. The 1850s, in particular, were a period of intense social redefinition in England. The widespread introduction of steam power into manufacturing brought about what many have identified as the Second Industrial Revolution.