Category Archives: Arts & Humanities

Arts & Humanities

Report finds increase in attempts to ban books | KPBS Public Media

By Jade Hindmon / KPBS Midday Edition Co-Host, Andrew Bracken / Producer, KPBS Midday Edition

Published September 19, 2022 at 4:03 PM PDT

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A new report from the American Library Association found a rise in the number of book banning attempts throughout the country. To help counter the trend, libraries this week are commemorating Banned Books Week, whose 2022 theme is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

Tarryn Mento/KPBS
Downtown San Diego’s public library is shown in this undated image.

“I should say, it doesn’t stop with just banning books. What we’re seeing across the country is they’re banning voices, modern voices, librarians, teachers,” said Patrick Stewart, CEO of the San Diego Public Library Foundation. “It’s gone beyond just the banning of a book, or a certain piece of literature or textbook.”

Stewart joined San Diego Public Library director Misty Jones on Midday Edition Monday to talk about their reaction to the report’s findings.

“It’s disheartening,” Jones said. “It is seeing just the increase in the number not only of challenges, but the extent and the links to what people are going for, these challenges going before school boards, the personal attacks on librarians and teachers for doing their job.”

Many of the books being targeted involve topics on race and sexuality.

Source: https://www.kpbs.org/news/local/2022/09/19/report-finds-increase-in-attempts-to-ban-books

Imaginary Histories: How Tolkien’s Fascination with Language Shaped His Literary World ‹ Literary Hub

Damien Bador on the Origins of a Fantasy Classic

By Damien Bador, April 8, 2021

JRR Tolkien disliked novels that tended toward autobiography, though he did not dispute the fact that an author has no choice but to use his or her own experiences in writing fiction. The Lord of the Rings is most assuredly not an allegory for the 20th century, nor are any of his protagonists a reflection of Tolkien himself. Yet, if there is a domain inextricably intertwined with the life of our author, it is linguistics: comparative philology, to be precise.

From article…

For Tolkien, language and literature necessarily go hand in hand; this is the only way to ensure proper understanding of a text, particularly in the case of ancient texts. Tolkien conveyed this point of view in his analysis of Beowulf, published in The Monsters and the Critics: And Other Essays, which combined philological rigor with literary appreciation at a time when critics generally saw the epic poem merely as a source of historical information distorted by myth.

The importance of language is easily discernible in Tolkien’s obsession with finding the perfect turn of phrase, even if it meant reworking certain sentences countless times. His preoccupation with linguistic detail also found its way into his stories themselves, focusing on the languages spoken by the various characters. No one who has read The Lord of the Rings can fail to have been struck by the passages in Quenya or Sindarin, the two main Elvish languages, and in perusing the novels’ appendices, it becomes clear to the reader that these are true languages, each with its own specific grammar and vocabulary, and that Tolkien also paid close attention to the evolution of these languages, and to their relationships to one another.

Source: https://lithub.com/imaginary-history-how-tolkiens-fascination-with-languages-shaped-his-literary-legacy/

American boys and men are suffering — and our culture doesn’t know how to talk about it | Salon.com

Author Richard Reeves explains why he thinks terms like “toxic masculinity” are “profoundly unhelpful”

By Mary Elizabeth Williams, Senior Writer, Published September 16th, 2022, 4:00PM (EDT)

Sad Boy (Getty Images / Sian Cox / EyeEm)

Our men and boys are in trouble. In the U.S., nearly four times more likely than women to die by suicide. They have more emergency department visits and deaths due to overdoses.

They are less likely to receive treatment for mental health issues. They have a lower rate of participation in the workforce. They are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and autism. They are more likely than females to drop out of high school, and the ones who do go on to college are less likely than their female peers to graduate. They are barraged with constant and conflicting messages about what it means to be a man, and the consequences of failing to live up to other people’s ideas about modern masculinity can be severe. And all of this is difficult to talk about because the simultaneous culture of misogyny and the war on women’s rights is so intense, it has created a zero sum game expectation around our basic humanity.

But acknowledging the crisis in males takes nothing from the ground women are fighting to gain. And accepting that gender is only one element in a social strata that is also incredibly unbalanced around race and class is the only useful way forward for all of us.

In his provocative new book “Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do about It,” Brookings Institution senior fellow Richard V. Reeves peels back the misconceptions that are holding back meaningful gender equity, shows how both liberals and conservatives have made existing divides even worse, and offers simple, practical solutions for a brighter, more balanced future for all of us and our kids.

Source: https://www.salon.com/2022/09/16/american-boys-and-men-are-suffering-and-our-culture-doesnt-know-how-to-talk-about-it/

Chronicling America Reaches 50 States

New Hampshire Joins the National Digital Newspaper Program, Expanding Online Access to America’s Historic Newspapers

By Library of Congress, Release Date: 13 Sep 2022

From article…

Chronicling America, the searchable online database of historic American newspapers, will soon include digitized newspapers from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and housed and maintained online at the Library of Congress, Chronicling America offers free online access to 19.9 million pages of newspapers published in the United States between 1777 and 1963.

NEH recently awarded its first grant award to a National Digital Newspaper Program partner for the state of New Hampshire, ensuring access to significant newspapers from the entire United States. Dartmouth College will serve as the New Hampshire state hub, partnering with the New Hampshire State Library, the New Hampshire Historical Society, and the University of New Hampshire Library to identify historical newspapers that reflect the state’s political, economic, and cultural history for inclusion in Chronicling America.

Among the first newspapers to be digitized and added to the online repository are the New Hampshire Gazette, the first newspaper known to be printed by an enslaved person; The Dartmouth, founded in 1799 as the Dartmouth Gazette, the nation’s oldest school newspaper; and Among the Clouds, a newspaper printed on top of Mount Washington between 1889 and 1917.

Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…

Source: https://newsroom.loc.gov/news/chronicling-america-reaches-50-states/s/adfebd2e-eb78-4688-ba71-402f9404c1eb

Benjamin Franklin’s literary legacy lives on in country’s longest-running lending library | PBS NewsHour

Benjamin Franklin’s literary legacy lives on in country’s longest-running lending library | PBS NewsHour

By Pamela Watts, Sep 12, 2022 6:25 PM EDT

From article…

Source: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/benjamin-franklins-literary-legacy-lives-on-in-countrys-longest-running-lending-library#audio