The real Cyrano de Bergerac was a dueling libertine with a wide-ranging imagination. He died at 36, either of fever or by Jesuits. 

Is it wrong for male critics to review the new Marvel movie, Captain Marvel, whose main character is a woman? Uh, no: “Critics review all sorts of material by and about people who don’t necessarily match their demographics. Quality is quality. Critics can, or at least should, be able to recognize it, regardless of whether they have a Y chromosome.”

Where eagles fly: “To get a sense of how much ground an eagle can cover in one day, a 2012 study by the group British Birds indicates that they can fly up to 220 miles (355 km) in one day and are constantly on the move between migration, breeding, and wintering.”

The Académie Française, founded in 1634 “to protect and promote the French language,” is composed of 40 “immortals”—novelists, professors, critics. Four vacancies opened in 2016, but they still haven’t been filled. In three separate votes, no one has received the majority necessary to be elected. Why?

The MacArthur Foundation has a new president.

Netflix will adapt Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude for the screen. Why not read about that time when Mario Vargas Llosa punched García Márquez, which seems to have a hundred different explanations.

An orthodox Jewish reading of the Pentateuch: “Both Christian and Jewish readers will find Soloveitchik’s Pentateuch commentary accessible. This compilation of thousands of comments on the Five Books of Moses was curated from published writings, transcribed lectures, and classroom notes. Arnold Lustiger, a yeshiva-trained scientist who edited several volumes of Soloveitchik’s transcribed lectures as a labor of love, released the Genesis volume in 2013; Deuteronomy appeared in July 2018. Some of the material repeats traditional interpretations, but many annotations contain challenging, even disturbing insights that compel the reader to engage the deep implications of the human confrontation with the divine. Two leading themes recur throughout the commentary: God’s summoning of ‘majestic’ man to partnership in creation, and God’s consoling of ‘covenantal’ man in his humility and distress. These ideas are well grounded in Scripture and classic Jewish sources. Soloveitchik adds a new dimension—an original phenomenology of religious consciousness.”

Essay of the Day:

Does John Ruskin still matter? Alan Jacobs argues he does in Comment:

“The essential task of Ruskin’s life was the prophetic discernment of the right and wrong, the healthy and unhealthy, forms of human making, which for him was the most essential kind of human labour. Ruskin always thinks theologically, and what he most consistently thinks theologically about is what Thomas Hughes calls the ‘human-built world,’ which comprises both what we usually call technology and what we usually call art. Ruskin’s exploration of how humans respond to the given world through making, when properly understood, reveals him as a kind of predecessor to twentieth-century figures like the German philosopher Martin Heidegger—but with a warmth and a passion and an eloquence that set him quite apart from the notoriously inscrutable Heidegger.”

Read the rest.

Photo: Strasbourg

Poem: Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, “Flannery’s Quandary”   

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