[Humanist] 27.451 depths & heights

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Oct 20 09:59:09 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 451.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2013 08:51:11 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: the depths and the heights

The latest London Review of Books, 35.20 for 24 October, spans the 
distance from Hell to Heaven. The former is detailed for UK higher 
education by Stefan Collini, in "Sold out", 
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n20/stefan-collini/sold-out. Read this, if you 
do, when you are in an impenetrably cheerful frame of mind. Then weep. 

The latter is depicted by Colin Burrow in "Burning love", a review of 
Clive James' translation of the Divine Comedy -- this unfortunately not 
accessible for free. James' translation does not receive Burrow's 
complete approbation, but then as Burrow writes, none can. His 
description of Dante's poem is truly wonderful -- enough, I'd imagine, 
to motivate someone to devote his or her life to its study, others (like 
me) almost to break their pens and become an eremite. But there is one 
bit of the review that will please many of those here with geeky 
tendencies (again like me). Writing of Dante, Borrow says,

> If he were alive today he might be a writer of metaphysical SF, with
> a beard and high principles, who spends his evenings debugging
> freeware for Linux.

And then there's the bit we will recognize but may not feel so 

> But the other great quality of Dante (distinguishing him from the
> average freeware debugger) is his phenomenal social tact.

Now in danger of typing out the entire review I had better quit and 
leave you to search out a copy of the LRB, once you finish weeping over 
the fate of UK higher education. 


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London, and Research Group in Digital
Humanities, University of Western Sydney

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