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The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill came under strong criticism last night from a range of voices at a West London event on dealing with trauma from the conflict. Former Irish army officer, Senator Tom Clonan, described the... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
The Warden is an 1855 novel by Anthony Trollope. The title character, Septimus Harding, heads a hospital which supports a dozen retired workingmen, but whose charitable income has swollen over the centuries and now provides him with a very comfortable living. Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2022 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Life of Charlemagne or Life of Charles the Great (Latin: Vita Karoli Magni) is a biography of the great Frankish ruler and founder of the Holy Roman Empire. It was completed some time between the death of its subject in 814 CE and the death of its author in 840. Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2022 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Chronicles (French: Chroniques) of Jean Froissart are a prose history centred on the first part of the Hundred Years' War between England and France but incorporating developments across Western Europe between the 1320s and the end of the Fourteenth Century. Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2022 at Tom's Learning Notes
Last month's MI5 action alert on Chinese influence seems to have prompted some follow-up in the press in recent days. This week's (paywalled) Sunday Times had this: Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
I noted earlier this week that the opposition was attempting to make an issue of Russian donations to the Conservative Party in Monday's parliamentary debate on foreign political interference. Labour attempted this previously in the wake of the Skripal affair,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
Following last week's MI5 alert about an alleged Chinese interference operation at Westminster, Home Secretary Priti Patel made a statement to the Commons on Monday on foreign interference in British politics. Patel told MPs that such alerts would be more... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
The Confessions is an autobiographical work by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, written between 1765 and 1770. The first volume was published in 1782, four years after his death, while a second appeared in 1789. The work was the first secular autobiography inaugurating a form which was soon widely imitated. Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Sacred Books of the East is a collection of Asian religious texts translated into English under the Editorship of Max Müller between 1879 and 1910. Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
Emile, or On Education (French: ) is a 1762 work by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, describing the education of its eponymous hero from infancy to manhood. This proved to be a powerful device for expounding Rousseau's ideas about human nature. The work was banned in France and Geneva because of the heterodox religious views expressed in the section known as The Profession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar. Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
A Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences (French: Discours sur les sciences et les arts) is a 1750 essay by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It was originally composed in response to a competition announced by the Academy of Dijon,asking whether the restoration of the arts and sciences had contributed to the purification of morals. Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
Candide (French: Candide, ou l'optimisme) is a 1759 satirical novella by Voltaire. It's eponymous hero is a young man who lives a sheltered existence on his uncle's estate under the tutelage of Doctor Pangloss, a philosopher who subscribes to Leibniz's dictum that 'all is for the best, in the best of all possible worlds.' Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Philosophical Letters or Letters on the English (French: Lettres philosophiques) is a 1733 work by Voltaire, revised in 1778, composed as a series of letters reflecting on his sojourn in England from 1726 to 1728. Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Persian Letters (French: Lettres persanes) is a 1721 epistolary novel by Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesqueieu. The work contains the correspondence of Usbek and Rica two fictional Turkish travellers on a visit to Europe from 1711 onwards, a form which provides a vehicle for much satire of contemporary Western society. The travellers' penetrating observations on the people they encounter contrast with Usbek's disastrous relations with his own harem, to provide a sombre commentary on the difficulty of achieving self-knowledge. Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Spirit of the Laws (French: De l'esprit des lois) is a 1748 political treatise by Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. Setting out to explain the principles underlying the laws of different nations, Montesquieu was innovative in considering natural factors such as climate, although this sometimes led him to pernicious conclusions, such as his belief that slavery was more tolerable in tropical regions. Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Art of Poetry (Latin: Ars Poetica) is a poem by Horace, originally included in the second volume of his Epistles, published in 14 BCE and sometimes known as the Epistle to the Pisos (Latin: Epistula ad Pisones). Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Heroides or Epistulae Heroidum (Letters of Heroines) are a collection of Latin elegaic poems by the Roman poet Ovid, written around the end of the First Century BCE. Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Art of Love (Latin: Ars Amatoria) is a Latin didactic poem by Ovid, written about 1 BCE. It's first two books offer advice on seduction for men, while the third is adressed to women. Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Mother-in-Law (Latin: Hecyra) is a Latin comedy by Terence. It's first performance in 165 BC was a falure, as the crowd halting the performance in favour of a boxing match. Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Girl from Andros (Latin: Andria) is a Latin comedy by Terence, first produced in 166 BCE. The plot centres on a young Athenian, Pamphilus who attempts to evade an arranged marriage, with the help of his cunning slave Davus, in order to be with his lover, the apparently low-born Andrian girl, Glycerium. Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
Amphitryon (Latin: Amphitruo) is a latin comedy by Plautus, probably written in the early second century BCE. It his only play on a mythological theme, centring on the god Jupiter's seduction of Alcmena, the virtuous wife of Amphitryon, Merury's attempts to conceal the liaison, and the resulting birth of Hercules. Later adaptations inspired by the plot include versions by Dryden and Molière. Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Rope (Latin: Rudens) is a Latin comedy by Plautus, written in the late third century BCE. Set in Cyrene in North Africa, it is one of the best regarded of his surviving plays. The story centres on the girl Palaestra, who is in thrall to the pimp Labrax, until their shipwreck off the coast initiates a sequence of events which will reveal her true identity. Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Braggart Soldier (Latin: Miles Gloriosus) is a Latin comedy by Plautus. Based on a lost Greek original, it was probably written towards the end of the third century BCE. Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
Pseudolus is a Latin comedy by Plautus, originally produced in 191 BC. The title character is a slave whose master's son is in love with a girl who is to be sold to a Macedonian soldier. The play was probably based on an unknown Greek model, and its characters feature many stock types from the New Comedy. Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Epistles (Latin: Epistulae) of Horace are two volumes of poems of which the first was probably published in 20 or 19 BCE. They are written in the form of letters, and critics have long debated whether this is simply a literary device, or reflects some genuine correspondence. In Epistle 1, Horace claims to have abandoned lyric poetry for philosophy, and a strong element of epicureanism pervades the work, informing many memorable sayings. Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes