Archives for September 2016

Museum of Art’s ‘Richly Stimulating’ Portrait Exhibition Asks Questions of Identity (Boston Globe)

Marsden Hartley (1877–1943), "One Portrait of One Woman," 1916, oil on composition board. Collection of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, bequest of Hudson D. Walker from the Ione and Hudson

Marsden Hartley (1877–1943), “One Portrait of One Woman,” 1916, oil on composition board. Collection of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, bequest of Hudson D. Walker from the Ione and Hudson

Boston Globe art critic Sebastian Smee recently visited the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and its This is a Portrait If I Say So exhibition, writing that it is “richly stimulating” in his review “Questions of Identity at Bowdoin.”

“The Bowdoin show makes us rethink not only portraiture but identity,” writes Smee. “What makes a self? Is it, in fact, a function of identity, in the contemporary sense of ‘identity politics’? Or is it something more slippery, layered, sly, and unknowable?” Read the Boston Globe review in its entirety.

Book Examines Life and Poetry of Former Bowdoin Instructor Philip Booth (Kennebec Journal)

Philip Booth at Bowdoin. 1949

Philip Booth at Bowdoin. 1949

A recently published book introduces the reader to the life and “widely admired poetry” of Philip Booth. Born in New Hampshire in 1925, Booth taught English at Bowdoin from 1949 to 1950, before going on to teach at Dartmouth and Wellesley. He took a position in the early 1960s at Syracuse University, where he co-founded the prestigious creative writing program.

Writing in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, Dana Wilde said “there should be more books like Jeanne Braham’s Available Light, which he described as a “readable little volume.” Wilde said the book focuses particularly on Booth’s deep ties to the town of Castine, on the Maine coast, where he spent much time and had strong family ties. Philip Booth died in 2007.

Who Tells Better Stories—the Americans or the Brits? (The Atlantic)

Books stackedThumbThe Atlantic looks at why Great Britain has produced so many classic children’s books that fall into the realm of fantasy, like The Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie-the-Pooh, Peter Pan, The Hobbit, James and the Giant Peach, Harry Potter, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Meanwhile, the children’s classics in the US tend to focus on moral realism. Think Little House in the Big Woods, The Call of the Wild, The Yearling, Little Women, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Even US fantasies, like The Wizard of Oz, arguably end on a moral lesson.

“It all goes back to each country’s distinct cultural heritage,” writes Colleen Gillard. The British are more connected to their pagan folklore, while Americans are defined by a Protestant work ethic. But psychologists say that fantasy, “the established domain of British children’s literature,” is critical to childhood development, helping children work through their anxieties about the adult world. Read more about The Atlantic’s comparison of British and US children’s literature.

The ‘Bad’ Election Map and Why It’s So Useless (Vox)

Map US128

The maps we see over and over again every election season are flawed, say Vox‘s Soo Oh and Liz Scheltens. They explain how geographical accuracy has been prioritized over electoral importance.