New Book Release: American Rococo

American Rococo book cover

“Reminds one of an etching that has been precisely scribed to create a sharp effect.” — Michael Collins, author of St George and the Dragons: The Making of English Identity

“Imagine a conversation over thirteen evenings with a perceptive and erudite companion.” — James Lande, author of Yang Shen: The God from the West

“Food for thought, elegantly prepared.” — Kirkus Reviews

What do seashells, obesity, graffiti, and the American ghetto have in common? Nude hot springs and the Japanese theater? Atheists and family-values conservatives? Why do atheists go on religious pilgrimages? How have schools infantilized our understanding of Shakespeare, and the textbook industry conspired to turn our language’s history into agitprop? What is the single most dangerous sexual idea that even the liberated can’t handle?

Ranging across centuries and continents, Isham Cook’s far-flung essays, whether discoursing on the most radical or homespun of topics, are guided by the notion of the “edge.” The edge represents the limits of conventional understanding, the zone beyond stereotypes and groupthink; it is​ where received ideas are recast in fresh and striking ways.

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: An American Talisman

Chapter 2: American Rococo

Chapter 3: Theatrics of Japanese Noh, Kabuki, and the Mixed-Bathing Onsen

Chapter 4: John Dowland and the Lost English Consort School of Chamber Music

Chapter 5: Philip Glass and Tan Dun

Chapter 6: From Van Gogh to the Camino de Santiago: Symbolic Travel and the Modern Pilgrim

Chapter 7: Why Airbnb Ain’t My Cup of Tea

Chapter 8: The Breast Etiquette Project

Chapter 9: A Shakespeare Sex-and-Violence Starter Kit

Chapter 10: Multiply, Cascade, Explode: A Theory of Literary Fiction

Chapter 11: Anglish and English: Why Our Language Is 750 and Not 1,500 Years Old

Chapter 12: My Problem With the Atheists (It’s Not What You Think)

Chapter 13: Advanced Love



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