In This Review

By The Committee on Intellectual Correspondence
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1997, 32 pp

There is a paradox in the international cultural world today, write the editors of this slender but important newsletter. Art and architecture are truly global, national cuisines are everywhere, but literature, history, and political and social analysis are more parochial than they have been in decades. Fifty years ago, intellectual conversations begun in Europe would travel to India or America and vice versa. Today, we know very little about the novels and debates of other lands, particularly non-English speaking ones. Two American, two German, and two Japanese scholars have set about to help create an international intellectual conversation -- and they succeed admirably. Their newsletter comprises a series of well-written reports on fascinating but often little-known intellectual trends, debates, essays, books, and personalities in America, Europe, and Japan. We learn of French arguments about the avant-garde, the feminist tradition in Japanese literature, and the controversy over Paul Samuelson's classic textbook, Economics. One only hopes that the Newsletter will broaden its scope to encompass more of Asia and quicken its frequency from a semiannual to a quarterly schedule.