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Grab a Lifeboat
The still-unfolding story of the Costa Concordia, the Italian cruise ship run aground off the coast of the Tuscan island Giglio, has reminded us of dangers, and remedies, nearly as old as seafaring itself. Reports of the thousands of passengers' struggle to escape made us think of John Stilgoe, whose book Lifeboat is the definitive study of one of the fixtures of survival at sea. Stilgoe took a few minutes from his duties as Lois Orchard Professor in the History of Landscape at Harvard to answer our questions about the sinking ship and the enduring role played by the smaller boat you never thought you'd have to use.
UPCC Opens Its Doors
The University of Virginia Press is among a group of 70 scholarly publishers that are participating in the University Press Content Consortium (UPCC), which offers readers a new way to locate and browse e-books. You will find e-book editions of many of Virginia's most recent titles here.
A Tip for that Wild Boar
For those of you who would like to start the new year with a different sort of dish, Golden-Bristled Boar author Jeffrey Greene passes along the following recipe for Jabalí en adobo, which serves 6 to 8 as part of a selection of tapas.
A reading of Joseph Donohue's new translation of Oscar Wilde's one-act tragedy Salomé was staged at Charlottesville's Live Arts theater on December 2, 2011. This clip comes at a crucial moment in the play's action, when Salomé, having danced for her stepfather Herodias, reveals to him what the price will be.
Belzoni Was Here
Because it had been too long since we'd been on a trip, and because we're not always busy selling books, we decided to go to London this past summer. Naturally we ended up at the British Museum. We knew that Giovanni Belzoni (1778-1824), subject of a new biography by Ivor Noël Hume, had brought back from Egypt many of the museum's most prized artifacts, including the bust of Ramesses II. What we were not prepared for was the sight of Belzoni's name actually carved into those works (as the vacation photo to the left shows).
Aside from coming up with possibly the greatest haul of Egyptian artifacts ever to reach the West, Belzoni is perhaps most famous for sparking controversy among critics who feel this former circus "strong man" was more vandal than archaeologist. The Wall Street Journal notes this same contradiction in their new review of the Noël Hume biography : " in this entertaining and graceful account of Belzoni's adventures, Mr. Hume opens a window on the raffish days of early Egyptology, when an Italian giant towered over his competitors."
Salomé at Live Arts
Join the University of Virginia Press and Joseph Donohue at Live Arts on Friday, December 2nd at 7:30 pm for a staged reading of this new translation of Salomé, directed by UVA Department of Drama Professor Kate Burke.
Rotunda, the University of Virginia Press's electronic imprint, has added a digital edition of The Papers of Alexander Hamilton to its American Founding Era collection. Among the founding fathers, Hamilton is perhaps the most controversial, both in his own time and in history. With the release of this important new resource, we talked with historian Mary-Jo Kline, who served as a consultant on the digital edition.
The American Experiment
Who believes in American Exceptionalism? Alexis de Tocqueville, for one. Tocqueville felt that traveling to America would reveal the secret of the modern world, in which democracy and equality were destined to rule.
Whetters and Cutters
The wild boar appears to us as something straight out of a myth. But as Jeffrey Greene learned, these creatures are very real, living by night and, despite shrinking habitats and hordes of hunters, thriving on six continents. Greene takes us on a journey filled with wonders and discoveries about these majestic animals the poet Robinson Jeffers called “beautiful monsters.”
"The Golden-Bristled Boar is an elegant book that looks at the landscape and ecology of what would seem to be our most inelegant natural neighbor."—Robert Sullivan Jr.