“Satisfying food for thought on the ever-changing dynamics of men and women as they interact and go about their individual lives” (Kirkus Reviews) as cultural commentator Stephen Marche examines contemporary male-female relations—with the help of his wife, writer and editor Sarah Fulford. One morning in New York City, Stephen Marche, then a new father and tenure-track professor, got the call: his wife had been offered her dream job…in Canada. Their decision to prioritize her career over his and move to Toronto sheds new light on the gender roles in their marriage (and in the world around them). As Marche provocatively argues, we are no longer engaged in a war of the sexes, but rather stuck together in a labyrinth of contradictions. And that these contradictions are keeping women from power and confounding male identity. The Unmade Bed is a deeply researched, deeply personal exploration into the moments in everyday life where women and men meet. After all, within offices and homes, on the street, online, and in bed, we constantly ask ourselves: What are we expected to sacrifice? Is it possible to be equal? As he attempts to answer these questions, Marche explores the issues that define our modern conversations on gender, from mansplaining and sexual morality to parenthood and divisions of the domestic sphere. In the process, he discovers that true power remains shockingly elusive for women while the idea of masculinity struggles in a state of uncertainty. The only way out of these mutual struggles is together. With footnote commentary throughout the book from Marche’s wife, The Unmade Bed is a “compelling” (The Globe and Mail, Toronto), uniquely balanced, and honest approach to the revolution going on in our everyday lives—a thought-provoking work of social science that is sure to be a conversation starter.
Sappho, in the words of poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909), was “simply nothing less – as she is certainly nothing more – than the greatest poet who ever was at all.” Born over 2,600 years ago on the Greek island of Lesbos, Sappho, the namesake lesbian, wrote amorously of men and women alike, exhibiting both masculine and feminine tendencies in her poetry and life. What’s left of her writing, and what we know of her, is fragmentary, and thus ever subject to speculation and study. The Shipwreck Sea highlights the love poetry of the soulful Sappho, the impassioned Ibycus, and the playful Anacreon, among other Greek lyric poets of the age (7th to 5th centuries BC), with verse translations into English by author Jeffrey Duban. The book also features selected Latin poets who wrote on erotic themes – Catullus, Lucretius, Horace, and Petronius – and poems by Charles Baudelaire, with his milestone rejoinder to lesbian love (“Lesbos”) and, in the same stanzaic meter, a turn to the consoling power of memory in love’s more frequently tormented recall (“Le Balcon”). Duban also translates selected Carmina Burana of Carl Orff, the poems frequently Anacreontic in spirit. The book’s essays include a comprehensive analysis with a new translation of Horace’s famed Odes 1.5 (“To Pyrrha”), in which the theme of (love’s) shipwreck predominates, and an opening treatise-length argument – exploring painting, sculpture, literature, and other Western art forms – on the irrelevance of gender to artistic creation. (No, Homer was not a woman, and it would make no difference if she were.) Twenty full-color artwork reproductions, masterpieces in their own right, illustrate and bring Duban’s argument to life. Finally, Duban presents a selection of his own love poems, imitations and pastiches written over a lifetime – these composed in the “classical mode”, which is the leitmotif of this volume. The Shipwreck Sea is a delightful and continually thought-provoking companion to The Lesbian Lyre, both books vividly demonstrating that classicism yet thrives in our time, despite the modernism marshaled against it.
At the heart of our current moment lies a universal yearning, writes David Zahl, not to be happy or respected so much as enough--what religions call "righteous." To fill the void left by religion, we look to all sorts of everyday activities--from eating and parenting to dating and voting--for the identity, purpose, and meaning once provided on Sunday morning. In our striving, we are chasing a sense of enoughness. But it remains ever out of reach, and the effort and anxiety are burning us out. Seculosity takes a thoughtful yet entertaining tour of American "performancism" and its cousins, highlighting both their ingenuity and mercilessness, all while challenging the conventional narrative of religious decline. Zahl unmasks the competing pieties around which so much of our lives revolve, and he does so in a way that's at points playful, personal, and incisive. Ultimately he brings us to a fresh appreciation for the grace of God in all its countercultural wonder.