River of ink : literature, history, art

by Christensen, Thomas, 1948-

Format: Print Book 2014
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction PN50.C525 2014
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  PN50.C525 2014
With its title harkening back to the sack of Baghdad in 1258--when the Tigris ran black with the ink of books flung into the water by Mongol invaders-- River of Ink is a collection of essays that range widely across time and cultures to illuminate the role of literature and art throughout history. Christensen draws from a panoply of subjects, from the writings of prehistoric Chinese cultures known only through archaeology to the heroic efforts of contemporary Afghanis to keep the legacy of their ancient culture alive under the barrage of endless war.

Christensen's encyclopedic knowledge of world art and vast understanding of literature allows him to move easily from a discussion of the invention of moveable type in Korea, to Johannes Kepler's search for the harmony of the spheres, to the strange journey of an iron sculpture from Benin to the Louvre. Other essays cover the Popol Vuh of the Maya as exemplum of translation, the pioneering explorations of the early American naturalist John Bartram, and the balletic works of Louis-Ferdinand CĂ©line.

It is Christensen's gift to see the world whole, to offer a wealth of connections vital for us as citizens of a rapidly globalizing world.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In these 30 essays, Christensen (1616: The World in Motion), a proud generalist and non-academic, addresses a slew of disparate subjects-Taoism and its influence on Chinese art, Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno, the roots of modern Turkish politics-and proves himself to be voracious reader who can clarify the present with knowledge of the past, accessibly summarize a subject, and share a fine story. Organized geographically, Christensen's essays ramble freely across cultural borders, from West Asia and Africa, to Latin America and Europe. Along the way, he calls our attention to several interesting figures, such as Eva Peron, the wife of Argentina's former president, Juan Peron; Malik Ambar, an Ethiopian slave who rose to the office of prime minister in India; and Sadakichi Hartmann, the critic, poet, and art historian who is credited with introducing haiku to the U.S. These pieces demonstrate Christensen's interests and learning, but not they're not always insightful-they rely heavily on what others have written, and a few seem to end abruptly before a point is made. Nevertheless, it would be difficult to read the book without learning something new. Photos and illus. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Literature and history.
Arts and history.
Literacy -- History.
Printing -- History.
Books and reading -- History.
Intellectual life -- History.
Literature and society -- History.
Arts and society -- History.
World history.
Publisher Berkeley :2014
Language English
Description xi, 365 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (page 367) and index.
ISBN 9781619024267
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