Lazarus

From about 105 BC to 14 AD the Roman state experienced wars, revolts and invasions perilously close to the city of Rome. Invasions of German tribes, riots in the city, rebellion by Latin allies, the bloody dictatorship of Sulla, revolt of the gladiators, the conspiracy of Catiline, the takeover of political power by a triumvirate … More Lazarus

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Reading matters

I’m a great admirer of Somerset Maugham, though I’ve only read his short stories and Of Human Bondage. I’m reading the stories now for the second time and find them even better than I remembered. I picked up another title by Maugham, called Books and You. Maugham here sets out to define one of the … More Reading matters

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Phrases from stories

The famous science fiction writer, scientist and polymath Isaac Asimov wrote a little book in 1961 called Words from the Myths. When you read it you see how pervasive the influence of classical Greek and Roman literature has been on our culture. Today we think of ourselves as living in a scientific age, but the … More Phrases from stories

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Politically correct?

‘Politically correct’ is one of those phrases used in different ways for different purposes, and so potentially meaningless. I find it sinister. I file it with ‘euphemism’, ‘censorship’ and ‘hypocrisy’ in my lexicon. Ignore its use in school or academic circles, where it has no effect on students but makes teachers feel happy and useful. … More Politically correct?

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Inspiration

Have you ever noticed how all religions have a bias towards monarchism (and its excess, despotism)? Democracy is not an option in religion. God is the Lord, the King, and we his subjects, under the rule of his ministers. It’s a system that evolved in Europe under feudalism, and preserves feudal forms. That doesn’t seem … More Inspiration

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