Saturday, April 03, 2010


It seems somehow anticlimactic that Culture Industry's 750th post is literally a placeholder – a kind of busy, hasty, "I'm not dead yet." It's been a gruelling semester. Conferences & lectures here and there, longish stretches of solo parenting. This past week has been the girls' spring break, which meant lots of juggling back and forth, last-minute favors called in from babysitters, etc. And now J. is away having a marvelous time in Chicago at the Shakespeare Association of America, while I'm left with the responsibility of replacing a bunch of busted home electronics, planning an Easter dinner of sorts, and generally keeping the premises from going up in smoke.

Forrest Gander just wound up a stretch at Our Fair University as the Generous Benefactor Visiting Writer. Gave a nice talk on translation Tuesday & a lovely reading last night, and by all accounts ran a provocative & very fruitful intensive workshop. A very nice man, something which doesn't always go along with being a very good poet.

The postperson & Mr/Ms UPS have been good to me lately. Michael Heller's latest collection of poems, Beckmann Variations and Other Poems, turned up in the box the other day – I can't wait to read this one, if only to see whether he's been able to top the magnificent Eschaton from last year. Today the brown truck dropped off Bob Archambeau's long-awaited Laureates & Heretics: Six Careers in American Poetry; okay, I'll admit to having blurbed this one, so you know I recommend it.

I fired off an email to Cambridge University Press the other week:
Dear Cambridge University Press:

Several years ago I purchased a copy of David Loewenstein's Representing Revolution in Milton and His Contemporaries: Religion, Politics, and Polemics in Radical Puritanism (CUP, 2001, ISBN 0-521-77032-7). I don't remember where I bought it -- either at a bookstore in New York City or from a vendor at a conference; at any rate, I recall investing a rather large amount of money in it, something like sixty dollars. (And no, I have not retained a receipt from when I purchased the book. There is only so much paper one can save.)

The book sat on my shelf among my Milton titles until a few weeks ago, when I began reading it in preparation for the Milton course I'll be teaching this coming Fall semester. The first few chapters are just fine: informative, if rather blandly written. So, in anticipation of Professor Loewenstein's insights into the political resonances of Paradise Lost, I leapt forward to the Milton material in the second half of the book. You can imagine my discomfiture to find that throughout a rather long section of the book, a significant number of the pages are entirely blank! To be precise, where pages 180-1, 184-5, 188-9, 192-3, 196-7, 200-1, 204-5, and 208-9 ought to be, there are only clean swatches of utterly white paper. While nothing really surprises me anymore, I have a hunch that Professor Loewenstein is not the sort of scholar who indulges in radically postmodern formal games; this is, in short, a defective copy of the book, and at the moment mostly useless to me.

How can I go about replacing this beautifully bound but internally flawed Cambridge UP production? I would be more than happy to post the book your way, so that the folks around the office can admire its "write your own Milton criticism" approach, if in turn you'd post me a copy that includes the missing swatches of Professor Loewenstein's analysis.

Yours truly,
Lo & behold, CUP has done the right thing; in my university mailbox yesterday, I found a brand spanking new copy of said volume, this one with all of its pages printed on. If anyone wants a nicely bound CUP book to play Tom Phillips or William Blake with, drop me a line (& some postage).

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