Book review: A Genealogy of the Verse Novel

The release of A Genealogy of the Verse Novel late last year brings a welcome addition to verse novel research. Catherine Addison, an academic in the Department of English in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Zululand, South Africa, has already published several articles on this area of research in recent years, and here brings to the table a significant scholarly contribution. Continue reading


Book review: Behind the Words: The FCO, Hegemonolingualism and the End of Britain’s Freedom

In this book, the author laments the decline of the use of Standard English in the Foreign Office in the quest for diversity or the misapprehension that it is somehow connected to ‘class’. Using original texts, the book demonstrates how FCO English has deteriorated in the last thirty years, owing to a combination of political correctness, globalisation, the proliferation of emails, Twitter, Blairism, and, most especially, management speak (the author gives some toe-curling examples of the latter). Mallinson claims this lack of clarity is to blame for Britain’s failure to get its message across, which goes hand in hand with its diminishing influence in the world.

Password Magazine (41), p.22.

Behind the Words: The FCO, Hegemonolingualism and the End of Britain’s Freedom is available in a newly issued paperback from Cambridge Scholars for only £29.99. Please click here to purchase it.

Book Review: Metonymy and Word-Formation: Their Interactions and Complementation

The book Metonymy and Word-Formation: Their Interactions and Complementation  by Mario Brdar examines numerous ways in which metonymy and word formation interact and complement each other. They both play a very important role in enriching vocabulary. However, both processes have been marginalized to some extent: word-formation in grammar and metonymy in cognitive linguistics. Continue reading

Giacomo Meyerbeer: A Critical Life and Iconography

This reviewer suspects that most Meyerbeer ‘opera buffs’, will be familiar with a basic outline of his life and the dating of the openings of his main grand operas. The author goes further and embraces much of Meyerbeer’s less well known music. But there is so much more in this very fine biography, whose scholarship is immediately apparent from Letellier’s consideration of his sources. This is a Critical Life, which has to take account of the music for which he dedicated his life, but also the man.

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Book Review: Reflections on Contemporary Values, Beliefs and Behaviours

This book is a collection of episodes that the author has encountered through his time, prompting his readers to enquire into every aspect of life. He gives ample evidence for his actions and opinions by providing numerous references. He brings forth his views vividly, giving adequate evidence while recording his personal experiences and presenting them to the reader. Though the book appears at first glance to be heavy reading because of the abundant references in each chapter, the author has brought out a very delicate subject lucidly and in such a way that even a layman can understand. Those who want to read more about this subject may peek into the references he has given, which will enable them to do their own research into the topic. Continue reading

Book Review: Reflections on Contemporary Values, Beliefs and Behaviours

This is an impressive book covering a very wide range of topics, although the links between them are not always apparent. However, the recurring theme is the demand that we think about these issues and do not allow ourselves to lead the ‘unthinking life’. The author asks that we lead the kind of life he did, which was to demand that those who preach obscurantism, masquerading as deep insights or beliefs, should not go unchallenged but be required to justify themselves and not retire behind the smokescreen of a comfort zone of belief, be it metaphysical or religious. Continue reading

“And There’ll Be NO Dancing”: Perspectives on Policies Impacting Indigenous Australia Since 2007

“Sexual abuse of children is inexcusable. So why is there such a fuss about a state intervention? Should we shut up and do nothing just because there is racism? No child or woman must be molested, irrespective of who the perpetrator is!” Thus my recollection of what one of my Scottish colleagues said in an informal conversation about the 2007 Northern Territory Intervention, a set of legal and political measures intended to curtail domestic violence in Indigenous Australian communities. “Yes”, I replied, “race should not be an issue when talking about crime”. Not least because domestic violence happens everywhere, including Scotland. I would not have heard anyone talking about a specifically Scottish, White or European propensity for domestic violence. Yet there is abundant talk about Black violence. Generalisation is the hallmark of racialisation. Blackness is scripted as inherently violent—a tenacious trope deriving from colonial concepts of ferocious animalism (e.g. Eze 2000; Nederveen-Pieterse 1990). Blackness is juxtaposed with Whiteness, the latter being normalised as non-violent and civilised, thus becoming the final arbiter of Indigenous destinies. Perceptions of racialised violence justify intervening not merely in matters of domestic violence but also in Indigenous life and sovereignty—hence to take far-reaching measures for the sake of securing a seemingly non-violent whitened social order; or put succinctly, to save Indigenous children in order to erode Indigenous sovereignty. “You should read And There’ll Be NO Dancing,” I told my colleague. It discusses such readings of Indigenous sovereignty and the various forms of racialisation ensuing from the Intervention.

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