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1964 / June | View All Issues |

June 1964

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Letters

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The easy chair

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What’s to become of architecture?·

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Poetry

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To one on friendly terms with many poets·

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After hours

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The grave collector·

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Article

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The Scotch in Canada·

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Part I. Castle, love, and the love of money

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A Persian courtship·

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Article

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Miami notebook·

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Cassius Clay and Malcolm X

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The psychiatrist in the looking glass·

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Poetry

67 PDF

A father drowning·

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Fiction

68-70, 73-75 PDF

Orvieto dominos, Bolsena eels . . .·

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Article

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Why labor lost the intellectuals·

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Limits of American power·

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The lesson of the Dominican Republic

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The secret of Stonehenge·

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Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed·

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Poetry

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Analysis·

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Washington insight

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The national committees·

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Time to modernize?

[Coming in Harper’s]

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Coming in Harper’s·

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The new books

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The need for watering places·

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The John F. Kennedy Library·

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Books in brief

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Music in the round

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Two great comic operas·

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Puzzle

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Poser·

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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
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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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