With the help of Our Final Hour author Martin Rees, Cambridge will soon open a Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. The Centre will investigate the threats posed by “artificial intelligence, climate change, nuclear war and rogue biotechnology.” To my ears, this sounds an awful lot like Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, which was memorably depicted in John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “Violence of the Lambs.”
Why do the British tell the best children’s stories? Perhaps because their culture has remained in touch with its pagan folklore, whereas in the United States, more pragmatic tales of morality, Christian obedience, and bootstrap-lifting rose to prominence. Also, picture books: general good thing for children or roadmap to total the moral collapse of society?
Thanks to the work of archivists at The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, two scholars have unearthed a 1901 play by Edith Wharton called “The Shadow of a Doubt,” reports The Guardian. “After all this time, nobody thought there were long, full scale, completed, original, professional works by Wharton still out there that we didn’t know about. But evidently there are. In 2017, Edith Wharton continues to surprise.” Pair with this reflection on the role of New York City in Wharton’s novels.