Earthly Immortalities: How the Dead Live on in the Lives of Others

“The issue of identity, whether living or posthumous, remains pivotal to any discussion of memory. With death, rebirth. Through extinction, individual identity metamorphoses from a singular material form to the plural – as Moore writes, “social immortality is bestowed in and through our collective commemoration.” The real question is this: does death strip the spirit of its humanity? Can a spirit be human, or is humanity a quality kilned and housed in the body? Could humanity in itself be a thing independent of and accessed by the body?”

– from my review of Earthly Immortalities, out today

Future Cities: Architecture + the Imagination

“The imagination is politicised by definition (‘as a faculty that only flourishes when set free, it inherently resists … subjugation’), and in the anarchy of this spirit is its potency and efficacy. Using the works of Dickens as an example in our understanding of, and feeling for, the city of London, Dobraszczyk observes that the carnivorous global scale of urbanisation has rendered cities impossible to comprehend without an overriding fictional projection. “

from my review of Future Cities: Architecture and the Imagination, out today

Lethal White / Robert Galbraith

I’ve just had the rather odd experience of discovering that my review of the latest Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling was actually published last year, which is why I’m posting now:

” The novel has been described as Dickensian, but is actually more like Victor Hugo in its radical intent. Dickens was gentler, more amusing and significantly more susceptible to the ornate lyricism of Victorian Romanticism, whereas Rowling, an outwardly respectable matron, is a punk rocker at heart. She wants to smash the system. “

– from my review of Lethal White @

Darkness: A Cultural History – review

“The Romantics expanded this limited understanding, effectively arguing that the ‘deep, dramatic contrast of light and shade has long been a means of suggesting depth’ – that is to say, spiritual beauty … Edmund Burke and his veneration for the incomprehensible in relation to the Divine; Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his love of the poetic supernatural; Emily Bronte and her stark and sweeping landscapes of darkness, literal and figurative.”

– from my new review in The Weekend Australian, out today.

Sex in the World of Myth // David Leeming

“Rather than as what Leeming calls ‘an instrument of love or even procreation’, the erect penis has always been perceived by misogynists as a weapon, something with which to hurt or assert dominance over the female. Size thus becomes synonymous with masculinity, cruelty and power, a world away from the sexual template of the mutual, integrated pleasures depicted in Sumerian myths or the Song of Songs.”

– from Patriarchal Passions, by Antonella Gambotto-Burke