John A. Hall's Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography is reviewed in the Prague Post, in an article which celebrates Gellner's humour and argues that in contemporary British academia "anyone as brilliant, obnoxious and interdisciplinary as Gellner would be sacked by academic managers."
They don't make intellectuals like Ernest Gellner anymore.
Gellner (1925-95), a ranging public intellectual in the grand Central European tradition, was raised in Prague's Dejvice district, but when the Nazis marched into the city, he and his family left for London, where they lived in a milieu of other Czech Jews. Gellner's life and work are presented by John Hall in Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography, the fruitful result of Hall's meticulous survey of the tomes of published and unpublished materials that Gellner produced. This is more an appreciation than a critical study of a legacy, but it does a fine job of putting Gellner in his historical context ...
On May 7, what would have been Perec's seventy-fifth birthday, Verso presented a lost classic: The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise, published in English for the first time. Reviewer Jessica Freeman-Slade describes the book's strange provenance in a recent piece for [TK] Reiews:
In 1968 Jacques Perriaud of the Computing Service of the Humanities Research Center in Paris challenged artists to begin using computers in their work. But the challenge was greater than that: to challenge a writer to use the computer's "basic mode of operation as a writing device." Perriaud devised a flow chart—a visual representation of a computer algorithm—that might play out the different narrative options involved in asking one's boss for a pay increase. At that time, Georges Perec was a little-known writer ... What Perec did with Perriaud's challenge both engaged the rules of the challenge and simultaneously tore them down.
On the twentieth anniversary since the release of the Birmingham Six, Gareth Peirce, writing for the Guardian, details their wrongful convictions and the "simplest of stupidities" that secured their release.
On 14 March 1991 the Birmingham Six finally walked free. Today, 20 years on, it is vital to appreciate the horrifying detail of what happened to them, and how the truth was not acknowledged for 16 years. The annihilation of justice for others remains an ever-present spectre.
Assessing the widespread condemnation of the use of torture in extracting confessions following the case of the Birmingham Six, Peirce turns her gaze to the new Muslim suspect community, and asks "if we have, in fact, learned anything at all from our disgraceful past":
In International Women's Week, the Guardian asks 'who are the heroines of literature?' The Books podcast 'Heroines and feminists' profiles Rosa Luxemburg.
Claire Armitstead, literary editor of the Guardian, spoke to self-confessed Rosa Luxemburg "fanette" Susie Orbach, David Edgar and Dr Lea Haro at the launch at the Swedenborg Society about why Luxemburg's work is so personally inspirational for them and its value for society today.
Harriet Walter read a selection of Rosa Luxemburg's letters, ranging from her arrival in Berlin in 1898, to one of her very last to Clara Zetkin before her death in 1918. Included in the selection is a letter that shows Luxemburg to be a critic of the use of political language, revealing her own passionate approach.