(The TLS: A dispute of animal rights)

In the September 16 issue of The Times Literary Supplement (No. 5659) the animal rights philosopher Professor Mark Rowlands of Miami University reviewed Into The Arena. That review cannot be reprinted, but here is the correspondence which followed in the letters’ page of the TLS.

September 30 2011

No. 5661

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Bullfighting

Sir, – It seems the TLS chose a reviewer for my book, Into The Arena, (September 16) who not only dislikes its subject, bullfighting (Mark Rowlands is a proponent of vegetarianism and once tried to make his pet wolf into one as described in The Philosopher And The Wolf ) but also its author (I reviewed his book elsewhere, unfavourably: a “frustratingly limited work of philosophy”, “sterile” etc. – and he has published his views on this.) I am not saying this is the sole reason his review has been the only negative one of the book so far, but it certainly diminishes its claim to any authority. Overlooking his personal tone, I will focus on some of his errors of fact and logic. [Read more…]

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Pro-Bullfighting Publications

Joe Distler, known as the “Iron Man” of Pamplona, has run every Pamplona bull-run for 44 years and been the subject of countless articles and documentaries. He is without doubt, question or challenge the greatest American runner of the bulls.

The latest issue of La Busca, the journal of the association “Taurine Bibliophiles of America” contains this review.

In 1967, in the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan, I walked down the wrong isle heading for the fiction section and that brief misstep would change my life forever. There, lying in wait, was a copy of Robert Daley’s book, The Swords of Spain. Since Spain was always a place I had desired to visit, I picked up the book and the very first page I turned to had photographs of men running in front of Bulls. I was enraptured. Reading Hemingway had never really interested me in Pamplona’s “encierro” but Daley’s book completely freaked me out. It was, being a used copy, the best five dollar investment I have ever made! Not only did it convince me I must go to Pamplona immediately, it led to my friendships with Matt Carney, John Fulton, Muriel Feiner, Barnaby Conrad, Bill Lyon and a host of other fabulous characters who would go on to fill my life with wonder and joy.

Matt Carney & Joe Distler by John Fulton

Every year, before going to Spain, I still go back to Daley. The book is as fresh today as it was when I first read it standing in the stacks so many years ago. His vignette ‘Spanish Springtime’ still brings tears to my eyes and I wonder what magic made me find such a book?

Over the years, like so many aficionados, I have amassed a large library of taurine books but none ever affected me the way The Swords of Spain did. Not, at least, until recently.

Joe Distler, top right, running in Pamplona

Alexander Fiske-Harrison, top right, running in Pamplona

[Read more…]