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Moving Pictures: The Making of Letters to Sofija

: Mullan, Robert.

In 2011, Englishman Robert Mullan began an almost impossible film project: namely, to finance and shoot a film in 3 languages -Lithuanian, Russian and Polish- neither of which he could read, write or speak. He realized that the project would entail him shooting with Lithuanian actors, in various cities in Lithuania and Russia, and that he would then be preparing the film with English subtitles. But he was undeterred. The project had begun when, while working in Kaunas as a volunteer university lecturer in psychology, he discovered the relatively unknown Lithuanian artist and composer, Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis. This man produced over 300 paintings and sketches, composed over 300 musical pieces (including two symphonic poems), fought for the independence of his small nation from the control of imperial Russia, fell in love with a fellow activist and then died, tragically, at the young age of 35. So began the project. Mullan decided to keep a diary, not only to record day-to-day events and thoughts, but also to provide a guide as how not to finance and produce a feature film. The diary includes both amusing and less funny moments. For example, the crew’s encounter with Russian border guards as they entered the country to shoot some scenes in St. Petersburg; the endless problems with the translation of the script; endless arguments with co-producers; the endless quest for money and the continuing belief that funds would run out before the completion of the film; an unexpected diagnosis of cancer; magnificent music and startling paintings. The film was finally completed, edited in London and shown in Vilnius, Chicago and London. It is now about to be distributed internationally. Read more…

Peace Fire: Fragments from the Israel-Palestine Story

: Casey, Ethan; Hilder, Paul.

Events in the Middle East have rushed forward so dizzyingly since mid-2000 that even close observers could be pardoned for losing track, not to mention hope. In this book, 107 contributors offer individual perspectives on the deepening crisis in Israel-Palestine, providing a ground-level understanding, from every angle, of the collapse of peace. “Peace Fire” aligns the chronology of recent history with personal diaries alongside thoughtful analyses – some passionate, others disinterested (and a few that have already been proved wrong) – and weaves together the intemperate opinions, anger, hatred and confusion of the crisis. It spreads out from personal experiences of tragedy, conflict and hope at the epicentre to touch on the alarming global ripple effects, with contributors ranging from those on both sides directly affected to expert observers around the world. “Peace Fire” is a collective diary of the Israel-Palestine conflict in its greatest crisis for 35 years. The recent maelstrom on the West Bank has dominated the world’s newspapers but left people feeling powerless and uncomprehending. This book, edited by Ethan Casey and Paul Hilder, shows what is driving the crisis and whether there’s a way out of the abyss. Read more…

The Undiscover’d Country: New Essays on Psychoanalysis and Shakespeare

: Sokol, B. J.

This collection of essays, drawing together new material from four countries, challenges many of trends in Shakespeare studies. The discussions of Shakespeare’s plays and poems in this collection, by a range of academics, practising psychotherapists and the theatre director Jonathan Miller, discover many kinds of reference beyond the text: intuitable meanings, symbolisms inspired by the dark – undiscover’d – side of human relations, and characterizations of individual, and group identities. The authors are especially interested in the dynamics of emotional life. They variously bring to bear on Shakespeare’s texts knowledge of theatrical practice, social history, anthropology, theology, political history, art history and other disciplines. Edited by B.J. Sokol. Read more…

Black Athena: Linguistic Evidence v. III: The Afro-Asiatic Roots of Western Classical Civilisation

: Bernal, Martin.

Could Greek philosophy be rooted in Egyptian thought? Is it possible that the Pythagorean theory was conceived on the shores of the Nile and the Euphrates rather than in ancient Greece? Could it be that Western civilization was born on the so-called Dark Continent? For almost two centuries, Western scholars have given little credence to the possibility of such scenarios. In Black Athena, an audacious three-volume series that strikes at the heart of today’s most heated culture wars, Martin Bernal challenges Eurocentric attitudes by calling into question two of the longest-established explanations for the origins of classical civilization. The Aryan Model, which is current today, claims that Greek culture arose as the result of the conquest from the north by Indo-European speakers, or “Aryans,” of the native “pre-Hellenes.” The Ancient Model, which was maintained in Classical Greece, held that the native population of Greece had initially been civilized by Egyptian and Phoenician colonists and that additional Near Eastern culture had been introduced to Greece by Greeks studying in Egypt and Southwest Asia. Moving beyond these prevailing models, Bernal proposes a Revised Ancient Model, which suggests that classical civilization in fact had deep roots in Afroasiatic cultures. This long-awaited third and final volume of the series is concerned with the linguistic evidence that contradicts the Aryan Model of ancient Greece. Bernal shows how nearly 40 percent of the Greek vocabulary has been plausibly derived from two Afroasiatic languages – Ancient Egyptian and West Semitic. He also reveals how these derivations are not limited to matters of trade, but extended to the sophisticated language of politics, religion, and philosophy. This evidence, according to Bernal, confirms the fact that in Greece an Indo-European people was culturally dominated by speakers of Ancient Egyptian and West Semitic. Provocative, passionate, and colossal in scope, this volume caps a thoughtful rewriting of history that has been stirring academic and political controversy since the publication of the first volume. Read more…

In Nicaragua

: Kovel, Joel.

Joel Kovel’s reflections – personal, candid and touching – on Sandinista Nicaragua. Amongst issues discussed are: the position of women, gender relations, the empowering role of liberation theology and the struggle to develop an adequate mental health service. Read more…

Ideas from France: Legacy of French Theory – Institute of Contemporary Arts Documents

: Appignanesi, Lisa.

This collection charts the rise of French ideas as they have influenced British culture. It offers a guide to the history of structuralist and post-structuralist concepts in philosophy, literature, Marxism  feminism, history and psychoanalysis. The book grew out of a discussion series and conference held at London’s ICA following the death of Michel Foucault. The contributors assess the current state of cultural theory in France and its influence in Britain. Edited by Lisa Appignanesi. Read more…

Black Athena: The Afro-Asiatic Roots of Western Classical Civilisation

: Bernal, Martin.

Could Greek philosophy be rooted in Egyptian thought? Is it possible that the Pythagorean theory was conceived on the shores of the Nile and the Euphrates rather than in ancient Greece? Could it be that Western civilization was born on the so-called Dark Continent? For almost two centuries, Western scholars have given little credence to the possibility of such scenarios. In Black Athena, an audacious three-volume series that strikes at the heart of today’s most heated culture wars, Martin Bernal challenges Eurocentric attitudes by calling into question two of the longest-established explanations for the origins of classical civilization. The Aryan Model, which is current today, claims that Greek culture arose as the result of the conquest from the north by Indo-European speakers, or “Aryans,” of the native “pre-Hellenes.” The Ancient Model, which was maintained in Classical Greece, held that the native population of Greece had initially been civilized by Egyptian and Phoenician colonists and that additional Near Eastern culture had been introduced to Greece by Greeks studying in Egypt and Southwest Asia. Moving beyond these prevailing models, Bernal proposes a Revised Ancient Model, which suggests that classical civilization in fact had deep roots in Afroasiatic cultures. This long-awaited third and final volume of the series is concerned with the linguistic evidence that contradicts the Aryan Model of ancient Greece. Bernal shows how nearly 40 percent of the Greek vocabulary has been plausibly derived from two Afroasiatic languages – Ancient Egyptian and West Semitic. He also reveals how these derivations are not limited to matters of trade, but extended to the sophisticated language of politics, religion, and philosophy. This evidence, according to Bernal, confirms the fact that in Greece an Indo-European people was culturally dominated by speakers of Ancient Egyptian and West Semitic. Provocative, passionate, and colossal in scope, this volume caps a thoughtful rewriting of history that has been stirring academic and political controversy since the publication of the first volume. Read more…

Witches: A Psychoanalytic Exploration of the Killing of Women

: Heinemann, Evelyn.

In this topical study the author argues that the naming and persecution of women as witches in the 16th and 17th century resulted from the powerful unresolved psychic conflicts of their persecutors. The historical and social contexts in which trials took place are examined for evidence of how attitudes and beliefs of the time came to play their part in the extraordinary development of this persecutory phenomenon. Evelyn Heinemann asserts that the witch phenomenon is an example of the potential for destructiveness by the human imagination and shows the necessity of understanding unconscious processes in social phenomena today. The dark forces and process identifiable in the past continue to find expression in the demonization and persecution of men and women today. This book will be of interest to psychoanalysts, sociologists, social historians and women everywhere. Read more…

Sodom and Gomorrah: On the Everyday Reality and Persecution of Homosexuals in the Middle Ages

: Hergemoller, Bernd-Ulrich.

Bernd-Ulrich Hergemoller provides an account of the lives, suffering and everyday reality of homosexual men in Europe between AD 500 and AD 1500. The author begins by tracing the development of criminal law from the Romans to the beginnings of modern Europe, and goes on to explore the differences and similarities in approaches towards homosexuality in past cultures. Legal cases in Germany and Italy are reviewed and the first English language translation of 15th century documents relating to same-sex trials in Cologne provide insight into prevailing attitudes. Read more…

Before Words

: Benedetto, Antonio

Psychoanalysis has continuously been applied to the exploration of creativity and artistic genius, but up to now, this has not produced its own systematic body of knowledge. The traditional psychoanalytic approach to art is to attempt to decode it, in order to capture its hidden meaning. But in this book, the author explains that it is through the arts, we discover important aspects of ourselves. Antonio Di Benedetto argues for a completely new approach.. By employing analytic receptivity to listen to the aesthetic object and what it has to say, art becomes the interpretative key instead. Furthermore, the author shows how the arts can inspire psychoanalysis, helping it to recover its intuitive and poetic roots and providing forms, images and sounds to best represent fleeting introspective moments and pre-verbal insight. To illustrate these pre-symbolic aspects of introspection, the author examines well-known aesthetic masterpieces; the frescoes of the Loggia of Psyche in Rome, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and Six Characters in Search of an Author, by L. Pirandello. Of these, Antonio Di Benedetto considers music to be the artistic form best suited to refine the analyst’s capacity to listen to the affective component of unconscious communication. Read more…