The Cambridge Humanities Review Reviewed

The recent revival of The Cambridge Review makes a nice afternoon’s reading for RUTH MARINER

Harry Dadswell magazine the cambridge humanities review the cambridge review

The Cambridge Humanities Review

Edited by Daniel Matore and deputy editor Harry Dadswell.

[rating: 4/5]

The Cambridge Humanities Review is a reincarnation of the former publication The Cambridge Review. The journal, which featured such prestigious contributors as Bertrand Russell and Simon Schama, was in circulation for over a century printed its last issue in 1998.

Launching this May Week, the editors of The Cambridge Humanities Review hope to reinvent the publication; bringing Cambridge students a forum for essays, reviews, and intercollegiate debate, which the university has not seen in over ten years. The publication’s ethos, printed in the introduction to the first issue states that the editors ‘believe that the pursuit of the arts and humanities is autotelic, and that this University of which we are members offers a sanctuary, albeit a besieged one, for the shameless devotion to learning’. Thus, what the Review wishes to offer little occasional essays a space free of academic purpose, Tripodical assessment, footnoting and CV-bulking.

The first issue covers a diverse range of topics: Deputy Editor, Harry Dadswell gives a highly entertaining and astute account of the place of oratory in contemporary British politics, looking back to Ancient Greece, Hitler and Thatcher along the way. PhD Economics student Carlos Cueva presents an enlightening discussion of the ways in which the recent economic downturn has highlighted the shortcomings of modern economics. MML Lectrice, Delphine Meunier  presents a set of lateral ruminations on temporal differences between the humanities and the economy. Reverend Dr Michael Banner, Dean of Trinity College presents a sermon on the notion of dying a ‘blessed death’.

Mphil Political Thought student Conor Gaffney writes upon the problems inherent in the phrase ‘terms of criticism’. Social Anthropology student John Wallis’s appraisal of zombies is juxtaposed next to Bertrand Russell’s 1912 review of Bergson for the original publication, and last but not least BA Assyriology student Alexander Edmond provides an illuminating discussion: Where Translation Ends and Interpretation begins in Akkadian Literature.

All essays in the issue glitter with intelligence; they are largely well paced, illuminating, and often take extremely lateral positions on their subject matter. They are mainly free from jargon; are cogent and neatly signposted in order that they may be accessible to the average knowledge-hungry Cambridge student and not the specialist. The prose isn’t free of errors, but this is easily forgivable considering how enjoyable each essay is, and how well the booklet is presented.

Submission is open to all undergraduates and graduates of the University and will feature a guest writer from either academia or beyond in each issue. For more information on the Cambridge Humanities Review, including the first issue online, and how to submit an article, you can visit the website