“Grim was the world and grey last night / The moon and stars were fled.” It looks like even J.R.R. Tolkien might have been a an angsty teen. Two previously unseen poems by the legendary author have been found in a forgotten annual printed by a small primary school in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in 1936. For another Tolkien-related blast from the past, here is W.H. Auden’s review of The Return of the King, book three of the Lord of the Rings series.
In the latest Baffler, Evgeny Morozov argues that Silicon Valley, in typical fashion, has taken to “hacking” our language. Old, trusted words don’t mean what they used to mean, and complex ideas have been stripped of subversive implications. “Complexity,” he writes, “is not particularly viral.”
Granta posts Salman Rushdie’s 1984 essay ‘Outside the Whale’ - a response to an essay by George Orwell about the political role of the artist: “If writers leave the business of making pictures of the world to politicians, it will be one of history's great and most abject abdications.”
It goes without saying that a man dubbed “the father of modern conservatism” might stir up contentious debates. In his heyday, Edmund Burke was so renowned as a thinker that his detractors tried to place him at the center of conspiracy theories. In a new biography, Jesse Norman tackles Burke’s thought in its entirety -- a task which, in Charles Hill's view, is nothing if not un-Burkean.