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New Book By Steve Horwitz

stevehDana Professor and Chair of the Economics Department Steve Horwitz has just published. a book.  It is from Palgrave Macmillan and is titled Hayek’s Modern Family:Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions. A description of  Dr. Horwitz’s work from Palgrave MacMillan places the book within the scholarship on The Publisher’s description of the book places it within a context of scholarship on the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek:

Scholars within the Hayekian-Austrian tradition of classical liberalism have done virtually no work on the family as an economic and social institution…Horwitz argues that families are social institutions that perform certain irreplaceable functions in society. These functions change as economic, political, and social circumstances change, and the family form adapts accordingly, kicking off the next wave of developments in the social structure. In Hayekian terms, the family is an evolving and undesigned social institution. Horwitz offers a non-conservative defense of the family as a social institution against the view that either the state or “the village” is able or required to take over its irreplaceable functions.

Congratulations to Steve on his book, one that speaks to concerns and questions shared by a great many people.


New Book By Bob Thacker

ThackerProfessor of English and Canadian Studies Bob Thacker has published a new book, Reading Alice Munro, 1973-2013. Bob has published a book length biography on Munro, Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives: A Biography, and has edited numerous collections of Munro’s work.  Corry Baldwin, one of the editors of Bob’s new book, wrote this overview of the book and of the work Bob has done on Munro:

 As a literary critic, Robert Thacker is in the unique position of having the trajectory of his professional life mirror that of the subject of his critical focus: Alice Munro. Thacker encountered Munro’s writing in 1973 as he was beginning his academic study, reading a recently published story of Munro’s in an issue of the Tamarack Review.   Munro herself was still early into her writing career. Thacker quickly made the writings of Munro the focus of his own critical writing, tracking her career as she became one of the most respected writers of her generation.

In Reading Alice Munro, Thacker collects much of this critical writing. The essays are chronological, and contextualized within the critical-literary times in which they appeared.

 It is this contextualization and framing that makes Reading Alice Munro more than just a collection of one critic’s writings. They do more than trace the career of a critic, offering a window into the development both of Munro’s career and of Munro criticism itself. Reading Alice Munro provides the reader with a unique perspective on the growth of critical attention given to Munro throughout her career—as well as on what Thacker regards as the often inadequate quality of this critical attention.

 For although she is admired as a writer, Munro, Thacker argues, has not been given the serious critical attention she deserves. Thacker pushes for more widespread critical appraisal of Munro’s writing, and offers his own critical commentary and assessments along the way. Foremost are the critically significant ways in which Munro blurs the distinctions between fiction and biographical writing. Thacker argues for the importance of taking these biographical influences into account, and to this end advocates the use of the extensive yet underused Munro archives at the University of Calgary.

 The essays in Reading Alice Munro recreate, as Thacker says, “moments in literary history,” and offer “a cogent record” of the emergence of a major literary figure. They are also a record of a life in Munro criticism.

On Libraries, on the Internet

Well with summer blogging done, and autumn underway, time to go back to FODYLL blogging.  One of the things I’d like to do this fall is to link to stories, old and new near and far, about libraries and bookstores that one might find our “surfing” online.  Traversing digital magazines, walking up twitter steps…many of these are going to be harvested from Odyssey Online the “once upon a time” blog of the SLU Libraries, which while not being updated, can still be found here.  Once such article was on the birth of a bookstore–Parnassus Books in Nashville Tennessee, and the store’s proprietor, Ann Patchett.  It’s a bucking the trend of bookstores withering on the vine… and more good news, the store is alive and well!

Summer Commonplaces 50, Rereading

With this post we conclude the Summer Commonplaces series…a good summer to read. To conclude, two books on rereading, on going back and reading again at another life stage.  Patricia Meyer Spacks is particularly eloquent on what it means to retraverse a book…many candidates here for just such an adventure, and of course, with the geography of any readers life, many places to revisit with eyes wide open…

  • On Rereading Patricia Meyer Spacks Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011
  • Rereading Matei Calinescu New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993

Summer Commonplaces 49, Woody Allen

…who, along with his career making films, once debated William Buckley

Summer Commonplaces 48, William F Buckley

…who, along with founding and editing the National Review, once debated James Baldwin


Summer Commonplaces 47, James Baldwin

Summer Commonplaces 45, First Year Students

…first year students arrived at SLU yesterday, for matriculation…

Summer Commonplaces 44, Max Beerbohm

…the author of Summer Commonplaces is off for a few days for minor surgery.  Who better to read when stuck home than Max Beerbohm (his book Zuleika Dobson, noted here, is one of the great books about life at university…). This thread will resume next week with one last week of summer blogging…

Summer Commonplaces 43, Football II