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This volume looks at the ancient heritage of Greek philosophy and Mesopotamian astronomy and examines the history of map-making, coastal and celestial navigation and astronomy from 1487-1727.
Spain’s greatest living poet, Pere Gimferrer (b.1945) has written more than thirty books spanning verse, fiction, essay, and criticism. His earliest writings appeared in Spanish. In 1970 he began publishing in Catalan, and has alternated between the two languages since (with occasional forays into French and Italian). The present collection, the first book-length publication of Gimferrer’s Catalan poetry in English, brings together work from all phases of his career. His poetry is a marvel of syncretism: Billie Holiday, the medieval polymath Ramon Llull, Ezra Pound, and the artist Tàpies all appear in his pages. His style draws equally on modernism, on Galician-Portuguese love lyrics, on Góngora and on the Valencian metaphysical poet Ausiàs March. Rounding out the volume is a selection from the Dietari, an artistic diary that outlines his poetics and his sense of the artist’s vocation through a series of meditations on Casanova, Octavio Paz and others.
Populism may come across as little more than an extreme form of national belonging––nationalism run wild so to speak––a case for national psychologists or a kind of collective pathology. However, as so often, appearances are deceptive. “Paradoxes of Populism” argues that the far-from-random similarities with ordinary manifestations of nationalism should be approached not as a venture into the classical structures of nation-states and identities, but as a disruptive and destabilizing consequence of some of the constituent elements of sovereign nation-states becoming eroded and prised apart by contextual global processes and their agents. Hence, populism in all its varieties––and there are many, as the book demonstrates––is riddled with even more paradoxes and inconsistencies than mainstream nationalism itself––confusing causes and appearances, realities and fantasies, and turning the world inside out. The age of populism is truly the Second Coming of nationalism, and it has come with a vengeance. Its advent, however, happens in the background of real problems for millions of ordinary people in liberal-democratic states. This book sets out to engage with these real-world challenges as well as their political and cultural interpretations in the populist fantasia.
Lo Somni (The Dream) is a dream allegory divided into four chapters or books. It was written ca. 1399 and is considered Bernat Metge’s best work. It is extremely innovative within the context of Catalan (and Iberian Peninsular) literature of the 1300’s. It consists of a dialogue between Metge-the-character and several participants (in fact the book is a dialogue between Metge and the Classical and Biblical tradition) on the topics of the immortality of the soul, the essence of religion and the dignity and moral essence of the human being. In addition to using many Classical and medieval literary sources, Lo Somni can be considered one of the first (if not the first) Humanist books to be ever written in the Iberian Peninsula. Metge wrote Lo Somni supposedly while in prison (house arrest?) following a dubious accusation about his involvement in the death of King Joan I. Metge wrote this work as a personal defense to exonerate himself and as an attempt to gain the confidence of the new King Martí l’Humà and his wife Queen María de Luna. Lo Somni ends when Metge-the-character is awaken from his dream. This foundational work also touches upon political themes pertaining to the Crown of Aragon, literary fashion and reception of Italian humanist works at the court, as well as on matters of fashion, cultural customs, taste and style.
In this elegant, erudite, but entertaining book, Paul Strathern, the award-winning novelist and expositor of complex ideas, unravels the dramatic history of chemistry through the quest for the elements. Framing this history is the life story of the nineteenth-century Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleyev, who fell asleep at his desk and awoke after conceiving the periodic table in a dream--the template upon which modern chemistry is founded and the formulation of which marked chemistry's coming of age as a science. From ancient philosophy through medieval alchemy to the splitting of the atom, Mendeleyev's Dream is the true story of the birth of chemistry and the role of one man's dream.

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