What’s on the horizon at Princeton University Press? Plenty! Take a stroll through our fantastic lineup of forthcoming books:
What’s on the horizon at Princeton University Press? Plenty! Take a stroll through our fantastic lineup of forthcoming books:
Robert E. Lerner met Ernst Kantorowicz as a graduate student at Princeton, and was left with an unforgettable impression. The first complete biography of the man to date, Lerner’s Ernst Kantorowicz: A Life details the fascinating life of the influential and controversial German-American intellectual whose dramatic life intersected with many of the great events and thinkers of his time. Recently, Lerner took the time to answer some questions about the biography and what led him to Kantorowicz as a subject.
You have written a number of books on history before, but this is your first biography. What led you in this direction?
RL: My subject, Ernst Kantorowicz (1895-1963), author of celebrated works in history, was wounded at the battle of Verdun in 1916, fought against red revolutionaries in Munich in 1919, was a prominent member of a bizarre poetic circle in Germany during the Weimar era, spoke publicly in opposition to Nazism in 1933, eluded Gestapo arrest in 1938, lead a fight against a McCarthyite Board of Regents at the University of California in 1949-50, and was a central personality at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Moreover, he was a major intellectual figure of the twentieth century. Is that enough?
But why did you decide to write it now, when previously you have written almost exclusively on medieval topics?
RL: Actually, the project had been taking shape for decades. I met Kantorowicz once when I was a graduate student at Princeton, and he left an unforgettable impression. Later, in 1988, I was asked to speak about him on the occasion of a conference on “German-Speaking Refugee Historians in the United States.” To prepare, I interviewed a number of his surviving friends. And then I realized that there were many others I had not interviewed, and then I learned that there were many surviving letters, and so it went. I became a sort of Kantorowicz memorabilia collector. (I own the great man’s clothes brush—no joke.) “EKa,” as he preferred to be called, had a scintillating wit and was the subject of a large number of arresting anecdotes. But how could I go on collecting without anything to show for it aside from the contents of file folders? So a biography had to be written.
What are some of the things you’d like to have readers take away from your book?
RL: That depends partly on their interests. Those interested in the writing of history might want to see how a brilliant historian drew innovatively on the widest variety of sources—legends, prophecies, manifestos, panegyrics, mosaics, coins, ceremonial chants, and legal treatises. Others interested in the cultures of the Weimar Republic might want to become aware of how a secular Jew espoused the occult ideal of a “Secret Germany.” But anyone at all might want to see how a man who sent a copy of his first book to General von Hindenburg later became so alienated from everything the general stood for that he named a Thanksgiving Turkey “von Hintenburg” (rear-end-burg). Kantorowicz was not only notoriously eccentric (he wore a vest-pocket handkerchief even to cook-outs and on the beach) but had a coruscating wit. I’ve been thinking of compiling a “Kantorowicz joke book.” But for the present I hope I’ve written a gripping intellectual biography.
Robert E. Lerner is the author many books, mainly about the subject of medieval times. He is a fellow member of the Medieval Academy of America and the American Academy in Rome and a former member of of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton. Lerner is professor emeritus of history at Northwestern University, where he taught medieval history for more than forty years.
You never know what you might accidentally come across at 41 William Street. Recently we unearthed copies of a variety of our older catalogs, dating all the way back to 1914! These vintage covers were a great find, showcasing printing and marketing styles throughout the century and proving just how much has changed design-wise over the years at PUP. Spanning nearly the entire 20th century, the covers past and present were a true buried treasure at the press.
Take a look through the gallery below to see some of the best covers, featuring images from 1914 up to Spring 1998. Do you have a favorite?
Princeton University Press is excited to announce the availability of new e-books through Shelfie, an e-book bundling service that allows you purchase a significantly discounted e-book if you already own the print edition. How does it work? First, download the app on any iOS or Android device. Next, create an account, then take a photo of your personal bookshelf or a specific book you’re interested in, and the app will instantly search through the Shelfie e-book catalog for the ebook book. All e-books will be available at a discounted price, if you already own the physical copy of the book. The only thing needed to access Shelfie is a phone, so now it’s easy to keep your bookshelf intact and still bring reading material with you while traveling.
Through the app, it’s easy to connect with other readers, share your bookshelves, check out a variety of titles, and explore the Princeton University Press catalog of e-books available on Shelfie. If you aren’t certain of where you should start with your collection, view the top five Princeton books available now.
In honor of Black History Month, PUP has chosen twenty of the most relevant, intriguing books published by university presses, ranging from poetry to prose, modern critiques to historical accounts. Included are recent PUP titles, Story/Time: The Life of an Idea by Bill T. Jones, The Notebooks by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros by Galawdewos. Don’t miss the links to these titles’ design stories on our Tumblr design blog.
1. We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program by Richard Paul & Steven Moss (University of Texas Press)
2. Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools by Amanda E. Lewis & John B. Diamond (Oxford University Press)
3. Forest Primeval by Vievee Francis (Northwestern University Press)
4. Stigma and Culture: Last-Place Anxiety in Black America by J. Lorand Matory (University of Chicago Press)
5. The Notebooks by Jean-Michel Basquiat (Princeton University Press)
6. Thin Description:Ethnography and the African Hebrew Isrealites of Jerusalem by John L. Jackson, Jr (Harvard University Press)
7. Black Georgetown Remembered: A History of Its Black Community from the Founding to “The Town of George” in 1751 to the Present Day
by Kathleen Menzie Lesko, Valerie Babb, and Carroll R. Gibbs (Georgetown University Press)
8. Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Conception of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society by John A. Powell (Indiana University Press)
9. Florynce “Flo” Kennedy: The Life of a Black Feminist Radical by Sherie M. Randolph (University of North Carolina Press)
10. Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime by Deborah Elizabeth Whaley (University of Washington Press)
11. Blinded by Sight: Seeing Race Through the Eyes of the Blind by Osagie K. Obasogie (Stanford University Press)
12. Better Git It in Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus by Krin Gabbard (University of California Press)
13. African American Slang: A Linguistic Description by Maciej Widawski (Cambridge University Press)
14. Tracing Southern Storytelling in Black and White by Sarah Gilbreath Ford (University of Alabama Press)
15. Fly Away by Peter M. Rutkoff and William B. Scott (John Hopkins University Press)
16. The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros: A Seventeenth-Century African Biography of an Ethiopian Woman by Galawdewos (Princeton University Press)
17. The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City by Eric Avila (University of Minnesota Press)
18. Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women’s Activism in the Beauty Industry by Tiffany M. Gill (University of Illinois Press)
19. Walking from the Dream: The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David L. Chappell (Duke University Press)
20. Story/Time: The Life of an Idea by Bill T. Jones (Princeton University Press)
In April of 1955, shortly after Einstein’s death, a pathologist removed his brain without the permission of his family, and stored it in formaldehyde until around 2007, shortly before dying himself. In that time, the brain of the man who has been credited with the some of the most beautiful and imaginative ideas in all of science was photographed, fragmented —small sections parceled to various researchers. His eyes were given to his ophthalmologist.
These indignities in the name of science netted several so-called findings—that the inferior parietal lobe, the part said to be responsible for mathematical reasoning was wider, that the unique makeup of the Sulvian fissure could have allowed more neurons to make connections. And yet, there remains the sense that no differences can truly account for the cognitive abilities that made his genius so striking.
Along with an exhaustive amount of information on the personal, scientific, and public spheres of Einstein’s life, An Einstein Encyclopedia includes this well-known if macabre “brain in a jar” story. But there is a quieter one that is far more revealing of the man himself: The story in which Helen Dukas, Einstein’s longtime secretary and companion, recounts his last days. Dukas, the encyclopedia notes, was “well known for being intelligent, modest, shy, and passionately loyal to Einstein.” Her account is at once unsensational and unadorned.
One might expect a story of encroaching death, however restrained, to chronicle confusion and fear. Medically supported death was a regular occurrence by the middle of the 20th century, and Einstein died in his local hospital. But what is immediately striking from the account is the simplicity and calmness with which Einstein met his own passing, which he regarded as a natural event. The telling of this chapter is matter of fact, from his collapse at home, to his diagnosis with a hemorrhage, to his reluctant trip to the hospital and refusal of a famous heart surgeon. Dukas writes that he endured the pain from an internal hemorrhage (“the worst pain one can have”) with a smile, occasionally taking morphine. On his final day, during a respite from pain, he read the paper and talked about politics and scientific matters.
“You’re really hysterical—I have to pass on sometime, and it doesn’t really matter when.” he tells Dukas, when she rises in the night to check on him.
As Mary Talbot writes in Aeon, “Apprehending the truth that all things arise and pass away might be the ultimate groundwork for dying.” And certainly, it would be difficult to dispute Einstein’s wholehearted dedication to the truth throughout his life and work. His manifesto, referenced here by Hanoch Gutfreund on the occasion of the opening of the Hebrew University, asserts, “Science and investigation recognize as their aim the truth only.” From passionate debates on the nature of reality with Bohr, to his historic clash on the nature of time with Bergson, Einstein’s quest for the truth was a constant in his life. It would seem that it was equally so at the time of his death. What, then, did he believe at the end? We can’t know, but An Einstein Encyclopedia opens with his own words,
Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose….To ponder interminably over the reason for one’s own existence or the meaning of life in general seems to me, from an objective point of view, to be sheer folly. And yet everyone holds certain ideals by which he guides his aspiration and his judgment. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me; a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.
It’s that time of year again! The air is saturated with the promise of cooler days ahead, the leaves are holding their breath, and school is nearly back in session. And that means one thing. Football season will soon be here. More specifically, college football. Princeton, as I’m sure you know, has quite the legacy in this area—dating back almost a century and a half.
To be precise, that legacy dates back all the way to November 6th, 1869: The day of the first official collegiate football game played between Rutgers and Princeton (then called The College of New Jersey).
Back then, the game was really a hybrid combining elements of rugby and modern-day soccer. Each team consisted of 25 players struggling to kick the ball into the opposing team’s territory. Reportedly, a mere 100 spectators gathered to watch the game, many of them sitting on a wooden fence. The players took the field, removing their hats, coats and vests in preparation for play. Speaking of attire, some believe that the “Scarlet Knights” nickname for Rutgers came to be at this game. To differentiate themselves from Princeton, some players sported scarlet-colored scarves, worn as turbans. Thus, the Scarlet Knights were born. Alas, Rutgers defeated Princeton that day, 6-4. Six to four you ask? That’s right. Even the score-keeping method was different back then.
What a far cry from college athletics today, especially football. If you’ve ever been to a college football game (especially a Division 1 game), you know what I’m talking about. In 2011, many colleges including Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, and Texas, had over 100,000 fans in attendance at their games. Stadiums practically ooze their team’s colors and the roar of the crowd is deafening. Music pumps through unseen speakers and there are always a few dedicated fans that choose to doff their shirts in favor of painting their team’s colors and/or letters onto their bodies.
People take their college football very seriously these days. There are all different types of divisions, championships, and rankings that decide when and where they get to play. The ratings of the NCAA determine which schools get to play for all the marbles in postseason bowl games. Amy N. Langville and Carl D. Meyer discuss these types of ranking systems in their book Who’s #1?
The Science of Rating and Ranking.
The major differences between college sports in the 19th century and college sports today are significant. College athletics have become an integral part of the community of higher education and of society as a whole.
But the nature of college sports today are troubling to some. On the one hand, college athletic programs serve to bring communities together and unite people who otherwise wouldn’t share any common ground. In Gaming the World Andrei Markovits and Lars Rensmann reflect on and explain how sports influence our daily lives and help to confirm a certain local, regional, and national identity. These programs also promote health and wellness at colleges nationwide, which benefits students.
But on the other hand, many colleges and universities, in their constant need to compete with other institutions, sometimes redirect funds and other resources toward football or basketball while the academic side of the institution is forced to manage without those funds.
In addition to the funding problem, there is also an “underperformance” problem. In Reclaiming the Game, William Bowen and Sarah Levin explore the academic experiences of college athletes and other students. In one of their studies they’ve found that recruited athletes at some schools are four times more likely to achieve admission than are other students (non-athletes) with similar academic qualifications. They also show that the typical recruit is more likely to end up in the bottom third of the college class than are other students and non-athletes.
It’s safe to say that the feverish fandom of college athletics can either boost or take away from the institution itself and the college experience. What’s your opinion on the matter?
If the impact of sports is a topic that interests you, and you’re intrigued by unusual applications, also check out Ignacio Palacios-Huerta’s Beautiful Game Theory. Palacios-Huerta uses soccer as a lens to study game theory and microeconomics, covering such topics as mixed strategies, discrimination, incentives, and human preferences. Palacios-Huerta makes the case that soccer provides “rich data sets and environments that shed light on universal economic principles in interesting and useful ways.”
PS: Not to worry, Princetonians – we didn’t make a habit of losing to our northern neighbor. On May 2nd, 1866, in the first intercollegiate athletic event in Rutgers history, the Rutgers baseball team lost to Princeton, 40-2. Quite the slaughter! And Rutgers may have ended up winning the first football game 6 to 4, but a week later Princeton won the next match at home, 8 to 0.
A rematch is also on the horizon! If you’ve done your math right (and I’m sure you have) the 150th anniversary of the historic football game takes place in 2019. There have been talks of a rematch for this upcoming anniversary. Read more here.
Image credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/11389
The Press is very excited to announce that Noah Wilson-Rich, author of The Bee: A Natural History, will be making an appearance at a local book store down the street from our offices on October 21st at 6:00PM. The venue, Labyrinth Books, is an acclaimed independent book store conveniently located right on Nassau St (if you’re familiar with the area) and we hope you will join us in a discussion with Wilson-Rich about his book.
Stick around after for book signings as well!
These are the best-selling books for the past week.
|1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed by Eric H. Cline|
|The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It by Anat Admati & Martin Hellwig|
|The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup by Noam Wasserman|
|Why Not Socialism? by G. A. Cohen|
|On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt|
|The Calculus Lifesaver: All the Tools You Need to Excel at Calculus by Adrian Banner|
|Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson|
|The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger & Michael Starbird|
|The Bee: A Natural History Noah Wilson-Rich|
|The Age of the Vikings Anders Winroth|
Join the fun on May 29 at 7:00 PM as the Princeton Public Library and Princeton University Press welcome David Reimer, professor of mathematics and statistics at The College of New Jersey, for an exploration of the world of ancient Egyptian math and the lessons it holds for mathematicians of all levels today.
Prof. Reimer will present a fun introduction to the intuitive and often-surprising art of ancient Egyptian math. Learn how to solve math problems with ancient Egyptian methods of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and discover key differences between Egyptian math and modern day calculations (for example, in spite of their rather robust and effective mathematics, Egyptians did not possess the concept of fractions).
Following the lecture, Prof. Reimer will sign copies of his new book, Count Like an Egyptian. Copies of will be available for purchase at the lecture or you can pick up a copy ahead of time at Labyrinth Books.
For incoming Princeton University freshmen, the first piece of required reading will come from the shelves here at Princeton University Press. As part of the university’s Pre-Read program, which was initiated last year by President Christopher L. Eisgruber, members of the class of 2018 will be reading Meaning in Life and Why It Matters by Susan Wolf.
So, what is the idea behind this book? When we pick up a friend from the airport, bake a chocolate cake, or visit a loved one in the hospital, we’re not doing it for our own self-interest or for the greater good. In fact, the reasons and things that make our lives worth living often have nothing to do with the egoistic or altruistic motives that most people, including philosophers, think drive people to act. According to Susan Wolf, meaningfulness—not happiness or morality—makes our lives worth living.
In Meaning in Life and Why It Matters, Wolf argues that meaning comes from loving objects worthy of love and engaging with them in a positive way. That is, we act out of love for objects that we rightly perceive as worthy of love—and it is these actions that give meaning to our lives. Wolf makes a compelling case that, along with happiness and morality, this kind of meaningfulness is an essential element of human well-being.
Princeton reports on the choice of Wolf’s book in a recent article, which includes the president’s thoughts on this year’s selection:
“It is a superb example of engaged, ethical writing, and I hope that it will introduce the freshmen to the kinds of scholarship they will encounter at Princeton,” President Eisgruber says. “The book also includes short critical comments by four distinguished scholars, along with reply from Wolf — as such, it models for students how one can disagree with a thesis in a way that is simultaneously rigorous, constructive and collegial. Finally, a key point in Wolf’s argument pertains to the objectivity of value and why it matters; that question is important, and it inspires lively argument among undergraduates.”
Looking to find out more about this year’s selection?
Read the introduction of Meaning in Life and Why It Matters for yourself here. You can also check out a review of the book on the New York Times‘ Opinionator blog.
Calling all Princeton-area architecture fans: Bob Geddes will be giving a lecture, tour, and book signing of Fit: An Architect’s Manifesto, at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, on Saturday, April 5th, from 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM (EDT), sponsored by DOCOMOMO Philadelphia and DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State.
Make it New, Make it Fit
The architecture of Geddes, Brecher, Qualls, and Cunningham (GBQC) has been largely overlooked in recent years—despite a remarkable and influential body of work beginning with their runner-up submission for the Sydney Opera House (1956). As significant contributors (along with Louis Kahn) to the “Philadelphia School,” GBQC’s efforts challenged modernist conceptions of space, functional relationships, technology, and—with an urbanist’s eye—the reality of change over time.
To explore the thinking behind the work, founding partner Robert Geddes, FAIA, will speak about his recent publication, Fit: An Architect’s Manifesto. In addition, Geddes will guide a tour through the venue for his talk, the Institute of Advanced Study’s Simmons Hall—a GBQC masterwork of 1971. Geddes will also participate in an informal discussion with participants during lunch at the IAS Cafeteria.
10:00-10:30am Dilworth Room. Event check in. Coffee served.
10:30-11:15am Make it New, Make it Fit Lecture by Bob Geddes
11:15-11:50am Building Tour
11:50-12:10pm Lunch at cafeteria where discussion continues
12:10-1:00pm Lunch and discussion
1:00-1:30pm Wrap up and book signing.
LOT ‘B’ enter through West Building. When you arrive at the site, please bring a copy of your tickets, either printed or displayed on your mobile phone.
About the speaker
Robert Geddes is dean emeritus of the Princeton School of Architecture and founding partner of GBQC—recipient of the AIA’s Firm of the Year Award in 1979. Educated under Walter Gropius at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Geddes returned to his native Philadelphia in 1950 where he began his work as an educator at the University of Pennsylvania.
The opinions expressed on the Princeton University Press Blog, including those of authors published by the Princeton University Press, are not necessarily the opinions of the Press or Princeton University, are written independent of, and without collaboration with, the Press and are solely the responsibility of those authors and not the responsibility of the Press.
Princeton University Press Blog is proudly powered by WordPress.