JHU Press Blog

Explaining the Affordable Care Act in 800 Words

by cmt | Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 8:30 AM

guest post by Peter L. Beilenson, M.D., M.P.H. October 1, 2013 was probably the most significant day in American health care policy since the inauguration of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, nearly 50 years ago. On the first day of the month, the most important mechanism for increasing access to newly available affordable health insurance—the virtual marketplaces known as the “exchanges”—became accessible to the public. As might be expected of such a gigantic technological effort, many of the exchanges around the country have failed to live up to their potential so far. This is partly because demand far greater than expected has crashed systems with inadequate band-width. But a lack of testing of these complicated systems is also responsible. Nevertheless, as the six-month-long enrollment process continues, the exchanges will certainly begin operating more smoothly. Now that the Affordable Care Act ’s (ACA) healthcare exchanges are up and running, the pieces of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation are finally falling into place, despite the concerted efforts of congressional Republicans. This handy primer of sorts will help you make sense of your options and responsibilities as a healthcare consumer in the new United States health care system. Under the...Read More

How to Live, What to Do: Commemorating Wallace Stevens’ Birthday

by bjs | Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Guest Post by Thomas G. Sowders

On this 134th anniversary of Wallace Stevens’ birth, we might well ask: Why do we keep turning to this poet? Paradoxically both one of the most highly regarded and least-known major men of the modernist era, Stevens’ ideas—his belief in a supreme fiction, his faith in the abstract, his fascination with metaphor—surely are known quantities. What can Stevens tell us 100 years after Poetry magazine, in its first year of publication, introduced its American reading public to a new modernist movement called Imagism?

One of Stevens’ lesser-known poems, “How to Live. What to Do,” offers a good entry point, both for the novice and for the “prodigious scholar” of his books. The idea that Stevens’ work can help us figure out “how to live” and “what to do” may surprise those who know him more as the cerebral poet of philosophical perplexities, and yet this idea finds many expressions in Stevens’ poetry. In “The American Sublime,” for example, Stevens invites his reader to wonder about the possibility for nobility in everyday American culture, and to consider if and how everyday actions can be sites of the sublime: If so,...Read More

Melville, Billy Budd, and Digital: Death

by bjs | Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 9:30 AM

Guest Post by John Bryant Herman Melville died on September 28, 1891. That sullen fact might strike you as a morbid greeting for a blog posting, the first such posting for Leviathan , the official publication of The Melville Society. Since I am certain that our subscribers are among the living, I know they are very much alive in their pursuits of the new discoveries, readings, and arguments we like to publish in our journal—which, I am happy to say, has just completed its first year of publication under the aegis of Johns Hopkins University Press—and I rather imagine they would expect something less obituarial for a first post. But when the Press asked me to contribute a few words on Melville for its September blog, my thoughts turned to Melville’s final month and how that occasion might have meaning for us, not only regarding Melville’s creative life and reputation but also our own confrontation—as scholars and critics, readers, and seekers—with this curious end-of-it-all phenomenon. Death is a “passing,” or so the current phrasing tends to have it, the implication being that this passing is an event leading us into an afterlife somewhere...Read More

September news and new books

by rr | Monday, September 30, 2013 - 8:30 AM

News and Notes

Take a peak inside our latest Political Science Catalog , covering International Relations, Democracy Studies, Security Studies, and American Politics.

Charles Rzepka, author of Being Cool: The Work of Elmore Leonard , wrote a moving eulogy honoring the late author, who passed away last month . Michelle Ann Abate, author of Bloody Murder: The Homicide Tradition in Children’s Literature , argues in a Q&A in The Boston Globe that kids’ books have always been surprisingly violent. The Amish aren't necessarily anti-technology, they're just more thoughtful about it. Don Kraybill, co-author of The Amish , was interviewed on NPR’s All Tech Considered about the misconception that the Amish are opposed to technology.

Hot off the Press

...Read More

Greek gravestone verse has a life of its own

by cmt | Friday, September 27, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Guest post by Michael Wolfe

JHU Press author Michael Wolfe joins us at the Baltimore Book Festival on Sunday, September 29, at 1:00 p.m. to sign copies of Cut These Words into My Stone , his engaging collection of Greek epitaphs. See our full schedule of signings and book talks in the beautiful Peabody Library.

Ancient Greek epitaphs may look brief and delicate, but don’t be fooled. Their impact on 2000 years of Western literature is remarkably far-reaching. Among Latin poets, Horace, Propertius, and the satirist Martial were especially influenced. Centuries later, we hear the epitaph’s memorable ring among English Cavalier poets like Robert Herrick. Pope, Gray, Cowper, Shelley, and Lord Byron were schooled in the elegiac epigram, knew its chief repository—the Greek Anthology —and translated or echoed its distinctive voice. The epitaph’s influence didn’t end with the 19th century. A. E. Housman, W. B. Yeats, and D. H. Lawrence felt it too. Yeats’s own gravestone verse, with its equestrian address, might have leaped off a stele in Athens’ Kerameikos Cemetery straight into Ireland’s Drumcliff churchyard:

Cast a cold Eye

...Read More

Will the real model for Pemberley please step forward?

by cmt | Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Guest post by Janine Barchas Today marks the start of the annual gathering of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), hosted this year in Minneapolis. This particular meeting celebrates the bicentennial of Pride and Prejudice (first published in 1813) with the pomp that is due this standout literary favorite, including workshops, exhibits, lectures, readings, and, of course, a Regency-style ball. Because I recently published a book about Jane Austen as a consummate name-dropper and participant in early celebrity culture, I was invited to speak to JASNA members about the celebrity currency of the names in Pride and Prejudice .

This post is a sneak peek into the new research that I will be sharing with JASNA members about how specific surnames and locations in Pride and Prejudice slyly point to the ancestral home of the real-world Fitzwilliam and Darcy families—directing a reader’s encounter with the fictional estate of Pemberley.

Now, the name “Jane Austen” has become such a dominant celebrity commodity that we read her work by the light of her own fame (or the glow of the bonnet drama!). Today, the names Fitzwilliam Darcy and Bingley ...Read More

Wild Thing: Q&A with the authors of "Field Guide to Fishes of the Chesapeake Bay"

by cmt | Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 9:30 AM

Wild Thing is an occasional series where JHU Press authors write about the flora and fauna of the natural world—from the rarest flower to the most magnificent beast.

The past spring, JHU Press published Field Guide to Fishes of the Chesapeake Bay . We sat down with this book’s authors, Edward O. Murdy and John A. (Jack) Musick, and its illustrator, Val Kells, to learn more about the aquatic life of the Chesapeake Bay.

JHUP: Val, because Chesapeake Bay fish are less colorful than tropical fish, are they harder to illustrate?

Val Kells (VK): No. Close up, fishes of the Chesapeake Bay are quite colorful, and as iridescent as tropical fishes. At a distance the iridescence isn’t so apparent. That said, their lack of apparent color does’t make them any less challenging to accurately illustrate. Some made me nuts! Each fish is a puzzle (no matter where it comes from). Once I figure out the puzzle, I spend as much time as needed to properly illustrate.

JHUP: Val, which was the hardest fish to paint and why?

VK :...Read More

Seeing Red

by cmt | Monday, September 23, 2013 - 10:37 AM

By Michele Callaghan, Manuscript Editing I want to raise the proverbial red flag about what is happening to the color of the same name in recent years. First, the media stole the color red from the Left and gave it to the Republican Party, and now, the plain sandy-colored line that says “thus far and no further” has become a “red line” that the enemy cannot cross without incurring a stiff penalty. Going at least as far back as the French Revolution, red has been the color of blood, martyrdom, communism, radicals, and the mob. For some reason, after the extremely tight race between Al Gore and George W. Bush, election map shorthand for who was leading in a given state resulted in red, blue, and even purple states. Does a “red-diaper baby” still mean that Mom and Dad were commie sympathizers, or that they registered for their little one at Harrods or Saks Fifth Avenue (or fill in the blank with other stereotypes about the party of the right)? Ben Yagoda, in his Chronicle of Higher Education blog Lingua Franca , does an admirable job of expounding on the “thin red line” of British soldiers showing...Read More

Rehumanizing Alzheimer’s Disease

by cmt | Friday, September 20, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Guest post by Peter V. Rabins, M.D., M.P.H. Alzheimer’s Action Day —September 21, 2013—is a good time to reflect on how the perception of Alzheimer disease has changed over my 35 year career. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, most health professions and the vast majority of the public had never heard of the illness. Today, it would be difficult to find any adult who had not heard of it, and most people know someone who has or had the illness. This change came about through a broad education effort to inform people that the condition once referred to as “senility” was, in fact, a group of illnesses referred to as dementia, and that the most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer disease. Preliminary research demonstrating the significant public health burden caused by Alzheimer disease was crucial in mobilizing funding for additional research, supporting demands that care providers be better educated about how to care for people with dementia, prompting innovative thinkers to develop new and more effective models of care, and encouraging the development of supportive services for family caregivers. All this has been positive, in my opinion. I worry, though, that in our efforts...Read More

Alzheimer’s Action Day

by cmt | Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Guest post by Laura Wayman

To bring attention to this widespread and incurable disease, the Alzheimer’s Association has chosen September 21st as Alzheimer's Action Day . It asks everyone to wear purple to show their support for the search to find a cure.

Alzheimer’s is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane that is barreling towards us, destined to leave a path of emotional and financial destruction, and poised to bankrupt our healthcare system. While the number of people living with Alzheimer’s continues to grow, last year was an eventful year for research and funding related to the disease. Although no scientific breakthroughs have yet occurred, with perseverance, support, and, most of all, hope, I still believe that a cure can and will be found. However, at this stage we still have no way to stop, prevent, or cure Alzheimer’s, leaving us with the fact that today we can only focus more on positively affecting how people live with it. Dementia care exacts an immense toll on both the one diagnosed as well as the one who is thrust into the care giving role. Family members caring for loved one with any dementia...Read More