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Publications Range From Beethoven to Zoroastrian Texts

By Ella A. Hoffman and Tina Wang, Crimson Staff Writerss

Professor Emeritus Stanley Cavell recently published the book Cities of Words: Pedagogical Letters on a Register of Moral Life, which marries moral philosophy and classic Hollywood comedies to fashion a new philosophy of looking at life and learning to live with oneself.

Cavell traces the notion of perfectionism, which first emerged in Socrates’ “just city,” though the work of the great philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Nietzsche and John Rawls, and through the literature of such writers as Shakespeare.


In the summer of 2003, Betsey A. Robinson, assistant professor of the classics and assistant professor of the history of art and architecture, returned to Greece to continue her research on the fountains of Corinth. This trip was part of her ongoing research on the art and science of ancient waterworks. A new look at the subterranean water-collection tunnels provided insight into how ancient Corinthians handled the Peirene fountain’s flow.

Robinson also toured Macedonian palaces traveled to Mt. Helicon to examine the spring of Hippocrene. She is currently putting the finishing touches on her paper, “Pegasos’ Springs and Peaks of Inspiration,” for publication.


Nawal Nour, an instructor in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), won a MacArthur “genius” grant of $500,000 for her work concerning circumcised women. She is founder and director of the African Women’s Health Practice at Brigham Women’s Hospital, the only clinic oriented toward medical treatment and emotional support to African women who have undergone female circumcision in the United States.


Beethoven: The Music and the Life by Lewis Lockwood, Peabody professor of music, emeritus, was named a 2003 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in the category of biography. Writing for the general reader, Lockwood places Beethoven’s life and works in their historical and artistic contexts.

An accomplished cellist, Lockwood examines the composer’s sketchbooks and autograph manuscripts to shine light upon Beethoven’s compositional methods. He investigates first Beethoven’s music, and only then, his life.


Norway native P. Oktor Skjaervo, the Aga Khan professor of Iranian, recently translated Zoroastrian texts drawn from the nearly 4,000 year-old Iranian culture into Norwegian. These appeared in the Norwegian Book Clubs last January.

The book is one in a series of translations of ancient religious texts that has been published at the rate of one every two months since its inception in 2000.


Filmmaker and visiting lecturer Ross McElwee has completed the new film Bright Leaves, which, lauded by critics from The New York Times to Time magazine, is due for national distribution in the fall. The film tells the social, economic and psychological tale of a journey across the tobacco terrain of North Carolina by a native Carolinian whose great-grandfather created a famous brand of tobacco. It describes the appeal of cigarettes and their legacy in North Carolina.

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