These Flights of Fancy have been assembled from a cache of literary diversions whereby a noted historian has lately kept himself nearly sane, as he puts it, between bouts of scholarly labor. They encompass a broad gamut of prose and verse, variously traditional and innovative in form, largely playful yet wholly serious in contents. Their subjects range from the likes of trees and pussycats, through painting and music, passion and politics, all the way up to metaphysics and beyond (“Time was / When nothing was, not even time”). The author, prompted as a rule by an intriguing opening line out of nowhere, could not himself foretell where any of these flights of fancy was headed. Tales and playlets naturalistic and unnatural by turns, sonnets galore coupling the prosaic with the sublime, Sapphic variations now reflective, now voluptuous, plus a couple of offbeat mini-memoirs for good measure: all blend wit and wisdom, art and artifice, gravity and levity, in a rich feast of words.Rudolph Binion, professor of history at Brandeis University, has taught and lectured the world over while producing numerous landmark books and articles on European politics, society, and culture. He has probed diverse historic personalities, searched out causal mechanisms such as group process and traumatic reliving, and dug deep into European mass phenomena from the Black Death to the eroticization of death, and from the decline of Christianity to the decline of fertility.
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|data pubblicazione: ||Novembre 2009|