‘EU’ Category

  1. Buch, East Berlin

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    March 21, 2017 by AK

    The “sleepy German suburb” of Buch – a hotbed of rightwing nationalism according to the New York Times – reminds me of a middle-class Moscow residential area, only cleaner, greener, lower-rise and more orderly (note the neatly parked cars). I can understand why some residents fear that new tenants might be not so keen on …
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  2. Essential skills for dictators

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    March 20, 2017 by AK

    Thomas Mann wrote in his 1939 essay Brother Hitler: And then he — who had learned nothing, and in his dreamy, obstinate arrogance never would learn anything; who had neither technical nor physical discipline, could not sit a horse, or drive a car, or fly a plane, or do aught that men do, even to …
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  3. “Far right news sites entirely in Cyrillic script”

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    February 27, 2017 by AK

    About two weeks ago, Mark Townsend wrote in The Guardian: Another Briton said to have had an influential intervention in the US elections is 52-year-old Jim Dowson, a Scottish Calvinist who founded the far right, anti-Muslim party Britain First. Dowson, from a hub in Hungary, set up a network of US-focused websites and Facebook groups with …
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  4. Zhukovsky’s note from February 1821

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    February 22, 2017 by AK

    I’ve come across an English translation of Zhukovsky’s comment on his 1821 poem, Lalla Rookh – not a Russian version of Thomas Moore’s long work but a lyrical essay on beauty and imagination. The brief prose note complements the poem. The book is Russian Romantic Criticism: An Anthology compiled by Lauren G. Leighton, who taught Russian literature …
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  5. Adam Shatz’s violent fantasies

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    February 18, 2017 by AK

    Adam Shatz, a contributing editor at The London Review of Books, writes on his blog: Many, perhaps most of us who live in coastal cities have found ourselves having criminal thoughts and violent fantasies since 9 November. Some involve Trump and Steve Bannon… still others involve the fabled white working class that is supposed to have …
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  6. Viktor Orbán on the “greatest human value”

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    February 4, 2017 by AK

    “A is wrong, B is meaningless, C is unproven, E does not follow from D” is my typical reaction to a typical post on Crooked Timber, but I visit the blog every other day. I am rewarded with occasional pearls or a humbling experience, such as today’s. Discussing Ernest Gellner’s view of civil society, Henry Farrell wrote of …
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  7. What if they were perfect liberals in 1996?

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    January 12, 2017 by AK

    Seán Hanley of University College London and James Dawson of King’s College and Queen Mary University, London, published a long piece on Poland in Hungary in Foreign Policy (reprinted in the Chicago Tribune) earlier this month – an interesting article, definitely worth reading despite the unwarranted claims in its title and subtitle. The Tribune‘s title …
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  8. “The spirit of pure beauty does not live with us…”

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    January 3, 2017 by AK

    I doubt that Zhukovsky was deeply taken in by Thomas Moore’s oriental romance, with the likely exception of the Peri poem. But the “Lalla Rookh” fête in Berlin undoubtedly made a lasting impression on him, as if a furtive draft from some ethereal world had followed Princess Alexandra into this – as if, briefly reincarnated as an …
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  9. Lalla Rookh in Berlin, January 1821

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    December 28, 2016 by AK

    Schumann’s second oratorio, Der Rose Pilgerfahrt (The Pilgrimage of the Rose, 1851) is firmly set on European soil: it begins with elves in a round dance on Midsummer hearing a quite, plaintive voice, the voice of the Rose. In contrast, Das Paradies und die Peri (1843) is errantly Oriental, flying the listener from India to …
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  10. Vlad: the Omnipotent Cat

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    December 17, 2016 by AK

    Ivan Krylov published The Mouse and the Rat in 1816. My rough translation follows, without the last quatrain, or the “moral” of the fable. “Dear neighbor, have your heard the good rumors?” Said Mouse to Rat, running in. “They say the cat has fallen into the lion’s claws? It’s time for us to have some rest.” “Don’t rejoice, …
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