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You guys are keeping up an impressive rate of publication these days. Well done.

My reading is suffering from the Tristam Shandy paradox.

Hmmm....A great literary critic once said about an even greater (Romanian) poet, George Bacovia, the patron of the town where I was born, that he is but a somewhat unfinished - and "Moldavian", i.e. darker and more pessimistic - version of Baudelaire's melancholic symbolism...(This sharp opinion was expressed in half a page out of a "History..." of a few thousand pages). But, later on, another literary critic said that Bacovia is actually the best expression of symbolism in Romanian poetry. Still later on, yet another critic praised him as genius ahead of his times, the creator of a new poetic genre, post-symbolism....The moral: I think it's best for everyone just to read the books and make their own mind about them.

I dunno, Bogdan, putting the work of others in perspective is an important scholarly job. I mean, that's why we have intellectual history, isn't it? It's fine to say "read the original." But the original can be made more meaningful by a skilled interpreter. Besides, poetry is self contained in a way that scholarship is not. A good poem has its effect (illumination, beauty, pathos, whatever) when you read it. Period. It is a sort of side point that a given poem may have emerged from such-and-such a milieu and influenced later poetry in such-and-such a way. Scholarship is not self contained in the same way. Most scholarship should refer to ongoing scholarly traditions and the current state of thinking in one or more fields. The point of a poem is the poem, not the field. The point of good scholarship is generally tied to the state of the field.

The book by Boettke and Aligica does not let me switch off my brain in favor of their judgment, but it may help me see what the Ostroms are really all about and why they matter. I think Boettke and Aligica deserve warm congratulations for a fine achievement.

I wasn't passing a judgement on the book - I'll have to read it first. Surely, there's value in writing an essay on a book or an exegesis or a critique or a textbook etc. But all books are a reflection of a reflection of a reflection and so on. The value of each one consists in the difference from the original reflection of the reflection of the reflection...Wilhelm Dilthey, for instance, wrote a magnificent biography of Schleiermacher, but, even if that might doubtebly have been his aim, it does not reflect neither Schleirmacher's thinking or, even less, his life, his "real" life. It is something else, only a pretext for an original reflection of a reflection and so on. Whence its value. Similarly, how later physicists reflected on Newton's system, or on that of Descartes, is not how they reflected on it. Whence the difference. I actually do believe that every book, like any system of thought, is in a non-trivial and abstract sense self-contained. This doesn't mean that there is no link with the works of the past or other traditions, on the contrary! And, despite appearances, poets, especially great poets, are most aware of the work and life of others, poets, philosophers, artists, common people, even scientists although they don't use tons of footnotes or bibliographic lists to show that, In the end, as one philosopher said, books, like men, have their own destiny. That's why I, personally, am skeptical of any book that pretends to convey a better understanding of another book (including textbooks, however necessary - I actually always had difficulties of understanding with them). If it is a good book, this is exactly what it cannot really achieve! And if it's a bad book, well then obviously it was not up to the task it set itself. Anyway, as I said it's not a judgement of the book, just a musing.

Besides, poetry is self contained in a way that scholarship is not. A good poem has its effect (illumination, beauty, pathos, whatever) when you read it. Period.

If only this opinion was held by actual literary critics. . . This thinking has not been current in literary criticism since the early 1960s at least. This point is the central premise of the New Critics, who have been maligned by the hit-parade of post-structuralist, semiotic, Marxist, feminist, post-colonialist, New Historicist, and even by the one man school of Harold Bloom both in his deconstructive and neo-formalist phases.

Our understanding of an author's biography, of his relationship and indebtedness to previous poets, his engagement with contemporary political and religious questions and institutions, are secondary to the act of close and careful reading, which more often than not yields the answer that poetry's *only* meaning is sublimity, and that "the making strange of language" through the act of defamiliarization (Shlovsky) is an end in itself.

Whether the revolution will be successful or not, and what that means for the fate of the various characters, is left up in the air until the very end, and the last one hundred or so pages are particularly enthralling, emotionally and physically brutal and forcefully written.

If there's one criticism to level at the book, its the way the novel refuses to give us an insider's perspective on Tecan.

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