The Paradox Machine

ORIGINAL TITLE: Paradoxmaskinen: Kritik 1990-2020

NUMBER OF PAGES: 330

AUTHOR: Peter Englund

ORIGINAL PUBLISHER: Natur & Kultur

GENRE: Current Books, Non-fiction

Some brilliant writers are equally brilliant readers. Such a writer is Peter Englund, and the logical consequence has been for him to combine those talents as a critic.

In The Paradox Machine, we are treated to a collection of Englund’s most outstanding criticism from 1990 on. We meet persons as different as Caravaggio, Rosa Luxemburg and Donald Trump, subjects as varied as the Dutch Golden Age, the Cold War and the role of play in culture, questions as diverse as the US invasion of Iraq, the history of breasts and the nature of modern terrorism.

Any history enthusiast can count upon both many and varied lessons, but in addition, we learn a great deal about what history is and could be, as well as enjoying the characteristics of excellent criticism. Finally, the book tells the story of the development of both the subject of history and of criticism during the thirty years encompassed by Englund’s pieces.