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1963 / November | View All Issues |

November 1963

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Untitled·

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Letters

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Letters·

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The easy chair

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The Atlantic future·

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Europe’s choice

After hours

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Every town has two faces·

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Article

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The multiversity·

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Are its several souls worth saving?

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43-46 PDF

Be my host·

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Article

47-50, 53-56 PDF

Balanchine’s return to Russia·

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Article

57-60, 65-66 PDF

How not to integrate the schools·

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A personal testament

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Down-nose from London·

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Article

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The lost world of Cape Canaveral, 1911·

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Article

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Is kindness killing the arts?·

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Poetry

70 PDF

To a poet·

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Article

77-81 PDF

How businessmen can fight “big government”–and win·

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Poetry

82-83 PDF

The abyss·

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Fiction

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Back East·

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A story

Article

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Days and nights in Texas·

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Article

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“Her glow has warmed the world . . .”·

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Washington insight

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Kennedy and the intellectuals·

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[Coming in Harper’s]

114 PDF

Coming in Harper’s·

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The new books

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New nations and old problems·

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Books in brief

133-137 PDF

Books in brief·

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Music in the round

138, 140-141 PDF

The musical sins of the Soviet fathers·

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Jazz notes

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I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:

The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.

leadership
service
integrity
creativity

Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.

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“It is disappointing that parts of Purity read as though Franzen urgently wanted to telegraph a message to anyone who would defend his fiction from charges of chauvinism: ‘No, you’ve got me wrong. I really am sexist.’”
Illustration by Shonagh Rae
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“In Karachi, sometimes only the thinnest of polite fictions separates the politicians from the men who kill and extort on their behalf.”
Photograph © Asim Rafiqui/NOOR Images
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“Defining 'native' and 'invasive' in an ever-shifting natural world poses some problems. The camel, after all, is native to North America, though it went extinct here 8,000 years ago, while the sacrosanct redwood tree is invasive, having snuck in at some point in the past 65 million years.”
Photograph by Chad Ress
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“College is seldom about thinking or learning anymore. Everyone is running around trying to figure out what it is about. So far, they have come up with buzzwords, mainly those three.”
Artwork by Julie Cockburn

Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:

65

An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.

A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.

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