Book Review: Descending into the Lonely Spiral of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

book review the bell jarThe Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath’s shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity. Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies.

A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic. (Goodreads)


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Book Review: A Return to the Absolute via Quentin Meillassoux’s After Finitude

book review after finitude After Finitude by Quentin Meillassoux

The exceptional lucidity and the centrality of argument in Meillassoux’s writing should appeal to analytic as well as continental philosophers, while his critique of fideism will be of interest to anyone preoccupied by the relation between philosophy, theology and religion.

Meillassoux introduces a startlingly novel philosophical alternative to the forced choice between dogmatism and critique. After Finitude proposes a new alliance between philosophy and science and calls for an unequivocal halt to the creeping return of religiosity in contemporary philosophical discourse. (Preface, Alain Badiou)


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Book Review: Understanding the Modern World through Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents

civilization-and-its-discontentsCivilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud

Civilization and Its Discontents is one of the last of Freud’s books, written in the decade before his death and first published in German in 1929. In it he states his views on the broad question of man’s place in the world, a place Freud defines in terms of ceaseless conflict between the individual’s quest for freedom and society’s demand for conformity. 

It stands as a brilliant summary of the views on culture from a psychoanalytic perspective that he had been developing since the turn of the century. It is both witness and tribute to the late theory of mind—the so-called structural theory, with its stress on aggression, indeed the death drive, as the pitiless adversary of eros. (Goodreads)


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Book Review: Embarking on a Sojourn through F. Sionil Jose’s Viajero

Viajero: A Filipino Novel by F. Sionil Jose viajero-f-sionil-jose

Viajero is a novel of history of the Philippine Islands and their people long before the Spaniards came. It is also the story of the Filipino diaspora as seen by an orphan who is brought by an American captain to the United States in 1945. 

Through the eyes of Salvador dela Raza unfolds the epic voyage of the Filipino, from the earliest contact with China through Magellan’s tragedy in Mactan, onto the heroic voyage of the galleons across the Pacific.  Viajero concludes with the movement of Filipino workers to the Middle East, and the travail of Filipino women in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo. (Goodreads)


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