Back to the culture wars then

by Rashmee

Posted on September 14, 2020


The gains from the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement were many. It proved to be a great investment for the Arabs. Not only did they create a vibrant environment of intellectual enquiry, they were able to use their very appetite for Hellenic knowledge as a cultural cudgel against their rivals next door, the Christian Byzantines. Interestingly, Muslim … Continue reading “Back to the culture wars then”

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What was the logic of the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement?

by Rashmee

Posted on September 13, 2020


Why did the second Abbasid Caliph Al Mansur (r.754-775) initiate the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement? He was no scholar but there was a very particular reason to lay claim to the fruits of Hellenic thinking. Al Mansur had an interest in astrology and may have been keen to form a dynastic ideology. This was to be … Continue reading “What was the logic of the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement?”

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Don’t despair over the culture wars. They’re benign compared to 8th and 9th centuries

by Rashmee

Posted on September 10, 2020


Not too long ago, British sociologist Frank Furedi wrote a piece on the culture wars in the US and UK. He asserted that the culture war was historically “set in motion in Western societies by a powerful impulse to detach the present from the past, which emerged at the turn of the 20th century”. He … Continue reading “Don’t despair over the culture wars. They’re benign compared to 8th and 9th centuries”

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The account of Garden Marcus had echoes of Chance, the hero of Jerzy Kosinski’s satire ‘Being There’

by Rashmee

Posted on August 19, 2020


Reading a rather breathless account about Marcus Bridgewater (Garden Marcus on TikTok) and his philosophy of gardening, self-care and life, made me think of Chance, the main protagonist in Jerzy Kosinski’s 1970 novel ‘Being There’. Mr Bridgewater, 33, lives in Texas, loves to garden and has 653,000 TikTok followers.  The New York Times describes him … Continue reading “The account of Garden Marcus had echoes of Chance, the hero of Jerzy Kosinski’s satire ‘Being There’”

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Is it a liberation to give George Eliot back her real name?

by Rashmee

Posted on August 15, 2020


The ‘Reclaim Her Name’ library has reissued 25 novels written by women using male pen names. This time, they’ve used the woman writer’s real name. So George Eliot’s ‘Middlemarch’ has been reissued bearing the author’s real name, Mary Ann Evans. So too George Sand’s ‘Indiana’. If you’re bent on acquiring this version (free downloads available), … Continue reading “Is it a liberation to give George Eliot back her real name?”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK