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The Noosphere Gazette: On Peter B. Kaufman’s “The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge”

Peter B. Kaufman’s rigorous and eloquent new book, The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge, traces the history of this dream of open access to knowledge. It “begins with torture and ends with a vision of another violent civil war. There’s some gun violence, some beheadings, tanks rolling over people, something for everyone.” A recurring problem is the concentration of power. “Archive,” as Kaufman points out, derives from “rule” or “govern,” in the “archon,” the seat of power. Governance and trading require knowledge, so in that sense all economies have been information economies, with all the associated pitfalls. Thus, release of closely guarded information into the public commons is a source of mortal danger to those in power. Read more

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Ethel Carnie Holdsworth: campaigners push to revive fame of working-class novelist

Ethel Carnie Holdsworth wrote in 1914 that “literature up till now has been lopsided, dealing with life only from the standpoint of one class”. Now the Lancashire mill worker and author, a forgotten name who is believed to be the first working-class woman in Britain to publish a novel, and who in her heyday outsold HG Wells, is set to be celebrated with an alternative blue plaque and a return to print. Read more

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The 2021 Booker Prize longlist announced

  • A Passage North, Anuk Arudpragasam (Granta Books, Granta Publications)
  • Second Place, Rachel Cusk, (Faber)
  • The Promise, Damon Galgut, (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, PRH)
  • The Sweetness of Water, Nathan Harris (Tinder Press, Headline, Hachette Book Group)
  • Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber)
  • An Island, Karen Jennings (Holland House Books)
  • A Town Called Solace, Mary Lawson (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, PRH)
  • No One is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • The Fortune Men, Nadifa Mohamed (Viking, Penguin General, PRH)
  • Bewilderment, Richard Powers (Hutchinson Heinemann, PRH)
  • China Room, Sunjeev Sahota (Harvill Secker, Vintage, PRH)
  • Great Circle, Maggie Shipstead (Doubleday, Transworld Publishers, PRH)
  • Light Perpetual, Francis Spufford (Faber)

Read more

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Reese Witherspoon picks ‘The Paper Palace’ by Miranda Cowley Heller for July’s book club

Witherspoon’s take: “I was totally immersed in the fast-paced narrative that seamlessly wove together past and present. And all the beautiful details in this book are enough to pull at your heartstrings… every sentence is so vivid and luxurious you feel like you’re transported to a lakeside retreat in Cape Cod with a family you have known forever. I think you will love this one!” Read more

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Samuel French Names Heidi Schreck Honorary Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival Playwright

Established in 1975, the Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival aims to introduce the next generation of great playwrights. Writers internationally are invited to submit short works, which are traditionally performed in rep at an Off-Broadway venue. This year’s festival will be evaluated through readings only, with winners set to be announced August 12 at 4 PM ET at a free online event. Read more

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