"Keun’s prose has a sharpness and concision that seems to have resisted the ravages of time, and she distills the extremity of totalitarianism powerfully.."
"For Kundera, the judgment of readers -- past and future -- on the life and mistakes (especially political mistakes) of the artist is a trial."
Essays on History and Literature
"The English Civil War was less a free market in journalism than a freewheeling market."
"Academic research into alchemy’s role in the history of science has become a growth industry in recent decades. Yet many of these scholarly books can prove as inscrutable as the dizzyingly arcane tomes that they’re based on."
"The destructive swath cut by the Luddites—who smashed hundreds of knitting frames that made stockings and later attacked gig mills and shearing frames—posed such a threat to public order that thousands of troops had already been sent to occupy the centers of machine-wrecking discontent in Nottingham and Leeds. "
Byron’s time at Newstead Abbey wasn’t all billets-doux and betrayals, however. An uprising of immense consequence – Luddism – was happening literally tight outside his door as he gallivanted.
"Try to imagine that seven or eight writers of different nationalities write a novel. ... The novel would not be finished soon, but at the same time, ... when it is finished, it will demonstrate beliefs and thoughts that are cultivated from the different cultures and countries. It will bring different opinions, sometimes disagreements."
The conundrum, say these scholars, is how to voice opposition to the actions of the Islamic Republic without being co-opted by those who seek external regime change in Iran through a military attack.