We are living in unnerving times. Our societies are defined by a social polarisation not known since the 1930s. This book explores the nuts and bolts of the identity politics that characterise nowadays our universities, but also increasingly Western society at large. The Ideology of Failure asks the most searching questions of the political correctness orthodoxy and gives the reader the tools to talk openly about the topics which we are made to feel awkward about discussing.
‘Any scepticism a reader might initially feel about the melding of Leonard’s natural expertise (he is by trade a linguist and ethnographer) and the realm of politics is quickly dismissed by the immense erudition demonstrated by the text, The Burkean
The essays in this book address topics as diverse as political correctness, the psycho-cultural problem of groupthink, the freedom of speech and the question of Brexit. What ties all the essays together is an urgent need for a new kind of green conservative thinking that can more effectively challenge the discourse of globalisation, the ideology of liberalism and that can prioritise the local over the global.
‘Journeying through this troubled intersection of politics and culture, Travels in Cultural Nihilism might make the reader cry, fume and even laugh. By the end, though, such contradictory reactions seem salutary and necessary, matching the spirit of the times and perhaps even adding up to an enlightened journey we all need to experience’, The Burkean.
In 2010, Leonard set off on a journey to document the language and spoken traditions of a small group of Inuit living in a remote corner of north-west Greenland. As a teenager, Leonard had read about the Inugguit through the accounts of the explorer, Sir Wally Herbert who lived in the region in the early 1970s. Travelling with hunters out on the Arctic sea ice, he followed in Herbert’s footsteps and discovered another world entirely, a way of life more or less unchanged for a thousand years. Living such a simple life in a pre-industrial society at the top of the world, Leonard came to understand the Inugguit’s privileged take on the busy, overpopulated world that lies beneath them. This is the account of Leonard’s year living with this remote group in the High Arctic.
Nominated for the William Mills Prize for non-fiction polar books.
‘This is a brave book in the long history of explorers in the Arctic. It is evocative, poetic, and critical’, ARCTIC Journal
‘The Polar North is a refreshing combination of linguistics, anthropology and beautiful story-telling’ The Times Literary Supplement
Using the most recent sociolinguistic theory, and drawing on history and archaeology, Leonard explores some of the reasons for the unusual development of the Icelandic language, showing how the Icelandic identity developed through the establishment of social structures and their literary culture. With its rich literature, the language became the single most important factor for the identity of the Icelanders. Language, Society and Identity in early Iceland is a fascinating account of an under examined historical-linguistic story that will spur further research. In particular, it leaves a trail for those concerned with language and identity in Iceland today, where there is for the first time unequivocal evidence of sociolinguistic variation.
‘Leonard’s is an exemplary illustration of how linguistics and other aspects of cultural history can inform each other insightfully. The study should be accessible and interesting both to readers interested in questions of language and identity formation in ‘new societies’ in general and to those interested in early Icelandic society’, Sociolinguistic Studies
Arctic Journal is one long poem that was written during the year of 2010-2011, much of it during the Dark Period when there is no sun at all for three and a half months in north-west Greenland. Living alone in three different remote Inuit settlements for a year (without leaving the region), the Arctic Journal is Leonard’s response to the transient Arctic landscape, the transcendental voices of the hunters blurring the poet’s insider/outsider distinction, the intimacy of the enmeshed natural and human environment, the vicissitudes of life in the polar desert, the liberty of thought that the open spaces of the North offers, the awakening of primordial intuitions, the isolation and solitude, but also the troubling human environment seen through a very subjective lens.
‘An extraordinary work written in extraordinary circumstances’, Radio 3 The Verb
This book serves as an insightful, ethnographic introduction to the language and oral traditions of the Inugguit, a sub-group of the Inuit who live in north-west Greenland. A unique work, it encompasses an overview of the grammar of Polar Eskimo – a language spoken by about 770 people –, as well as a description of their oral traditions (drum-dancing and story-telling) and the most extensive glossary of the language compiled to date. The book presents the Polar Eskimo language in the orthography established by the author in conjunction with the local community in Greenland: an extremely difficult task for a language made up of such an aberrant phonology and with no written tradition. By exploring their ways of speaking and ways of belonging, Leonard provides a highly original ethnographic interpretation of the nature of Inugguit social organization and their world-view.