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From The Times Literary Supplement, a book review of Anthony Gottlieb's The Dream of Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Philosophy. A sequel to Gottlieb's popular The Dream of Reason, reviewer Jonathan Clark states, "[in] this elegantly written and insightful survey of selected [enlightenment] thinkers...Gottlieb argues for their key role in the formation of the Enlightenment [...] The new science is central to this book, but proves to be a source of contention as well as of common cause."

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Combining form and world: responses to aesthetics, beauty, and politics through 18th and 19th century continental philosophy, by Justine Kolata, founder and director of The Public Sphere, and the co-founder and co-director of The Bildung Institute.

"In a global culture that appears increasingly obsessed with radical individualism...and incendiary political rhetoric, it is hard to imagine that society once cared about the beauty of the soul [...] the beautiful soul is far more than a beautiful idea. In turning towards aesthetics, the philosophers of the German Aufklärung (Enlightenment) did not naively evade political realities. Instead, they offered a holistic theory"

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Rhetorically appropriate moving lights on the Ryerson Image Center in Toronto

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Our rhetoric conference venue this year is the charming Oakham House at Ryerson University. Starts Tuesday May 30. Looking forward to seeing new & old colleagues!
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A reminder of rhetoric's value. Author of the forthcoming Plato on the Value of Philosophy: The Art of Argument in the Gorgias and Phaedrus, Tushar Irani discusses Plato and thinking about "how rhetoric serves the people on whom it operates."

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A review by artist and writer Alexander Adams on a recent three-volume Kafka biography by Reiner Stach (trans. Shelley Frisch). The book is based on newly-discovered sources of Kafka’s life. Alexander Adams writes, "Stach . . . observes that while there are mountains of academic, theoretical and literary overviews of Kafka, there are few biographies." Possibly important here is a fresh biography on Kafka, a writer with works that unveil real tensions in life but through narratives of the fantastic. In other words, biographies like this might open conversation about the process of creativity among unreal prose made within the stress of real historical times.

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In the March 2017 Literary Review, Catherine Fletcher's "Florence & the Machinator" reviews Erica Benner's "Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli’s Lifelong Quest for Freedom." In this book, Benner attempts to undo long-held misconceptions about Machiavelli. In response, Catherine Fletcher writes, "But has Benner shattered a historical myth or simply created a new one?" Of interest here is the rhetorical impossibilities present in narrative semiotics.

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Regarding affect and rhetoric, here is a book review of Joe Moran's "Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness" by Megan Garber, staff writer on culture at The Atlantic. Garber writes, "Shyness, that single emotion that encompasses so many different things—embarrassment, timidity, a fear of rejection, a reluctance to be inconvenient—is, despite its extreme commonality, also extremely mysterious. Is it a mere feeling? A personality-defining condition? A form of anxiety?"

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On Megan Marshall's new Biography of Elizabeth Bishop (Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a review from poet Troy Jollimore ("Syllabus of Errors: Poems" from the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets, which is available through Amazon.com and Princeton UP).

Of particular interest here is the exploration of creative anxiety. Rather than pure self confidence in her poetic greatness, Bishop--in her full poetic powers--can still experience inadequacy among her peers. Jollimore writes: "Although proud of her perfectionism, which she claimed to have learned from her friend and mentor Marianne Moore, Bishop at times agonized over the slenderness of her oeuvre."

A question can come from this: how much can our social spaces impact our aesthetic identities?

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Should there be a metrics of finance or a prosody of money? What explains the lack of poetic language about economic plights? Aaron Giovannone, author of The Loneliness Machine, explains.
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