Given my aversion to the word "blog" it's perhaps fitting that convention requires me to use it to inaugurate and label this space of occasional commentary. For this is a space that I would expect to be mostly about words. My general plan is to use this area to post what I might call experiments in micro-criticism. That is, little bits of writing about various texts and events that occupy what's left of my mind at a given time. In specific, I'm thinking of using this for bits of writing about single words that catch my fancy (we might call it, then, a "Wordbook"), or perhaps phrases ("Phrasebook"). More generally, then, a "Workbook."

I've written a few essays here and there about single words, or even single letters. I like writing about small things, and the bits of writing I want to post here will, I hope, themselves be small.

Wordbook: Fake News and Humanities Education

August 12, 2018

Tags: Fake news, humanities education, Lorenzo Valla, Sam Spade

From the "Berkeley Blog," August 14, 2018

In 1440 the Italian scholar Lorenza Valla dropped a bombshell by completing a study of a old Latin document. The document, presumed to have been written in the fourth century, "proved" that the Western half of the Roman Empire had been given to the Catholic Church by the Emperor Constantine, following his miraculous recovery from an illness. For centuries the “Donation,” as it was called, had given documentary authority to the Church’s political domination of Western Europe. The only problem was that it was a fake. (more…)

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Selected Works

In Progress
A list of forthcoming articles and of books I'm writing.
Literary History/Political Theory
Literary Criticism/Diplomatic History
Fiction/Translation
A translation of selections from the writings of the heretic, scientist and libertine Cyrano de Bergerac.
Literature/Philosophy of History

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