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This Week at MHC

Nota Bene

Front-Page News

Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

April 12, 2002

Front-Page News

Darlington’s Rise Darlington’s Fall: A Novel in Verse (Alfred A. Knopf), a recently released novel written entirely in verse by Brad Leithauser, MHC Emily Dickinson Lecturer in the Humanities, just received three rave reviews from national publications. Reviewers praised both the work’s form, the book-length narrative poem, and its content, the story of a fictional nineteenth-century naturalist named Russel Darlington. David Yezzi, in a March 22 review titled “A Story through Time, Told in Rhyme” in the Wall Street Journal, called the novel “witty and elegant.” In “On a Wing and a Verse,” his review in the March 31 Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Levi writes that Leithauser has “allowed himself to fall under the spell of a Midwestern naturalist who dreams great dreams. The result is charming and quite wonderful.” Finally, Michael Lind, in his review titled “Verse in Nature” in the March 31 Washington Post, lauds Leithauser as well. “Brad Leithauser unites his skill as a storyteller with his craft as a poet in this gentle and elegant novel in verse,” writes Lind. “In this tour de force of the poet’s craft, the names of academic disciplines resound with the exotic glamour of epic catalogue, and artful mythological allusion links the new world of science to the classical literary tradition. In Darlington’s Fall, Brad Leithauser proves that the universe of science, no less than the inner life of the individual, can be the stuff of poetry.”

That Sinking Feeling The April 3 Boston Globe featured a review titled “This Armada Had Sinking Feeling from Start” of The Tsar’s Last Armada:The Epic Voyage to the Battle of Tsushima (Basic Books) a recently released book by Constantine V. Pleshakov, a Russian-born and trained historian and MHC visiting assistant professor of Russian and Eurasian studies. The 369-page book focuses on the 18,000-mile voyage to Tsushima of a fifty-ship armada that Russia sent to fight Japan in 1905. It was an attempt to avenge the Japanese attack on the Russian military base at Port Arthur in northern China—the opening clash of the Russo-Japanese War. The Russian ships were ultimately annihilated by the Japanese at Tsushima in a sea battle that has become famous—ranking in fame right up there with Trafalgar and Midway and the destruction of the Spanish Armada in the English Channel in 1588. Writes Globe correspondent Michael Kenney, “In Pleshakov’s telling, the incidents of the voyage are so astonishing and rendered with such attention to colorful detail that the battle is almost an anticlimax.”

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