Close Reading

Close Reading — June 16, 2014, 8:00 am

Ayn Rand’s Rapture of the Rails

The train deaths of Atlas Shrugged

Still from Atlas Shrugged: Part I © The Strike Productions

Close Reading — March 10, 2014, 3:55 pm

The Congressional Research Service Teaches Science to Congress

A study in forced neutrality

Harper's Magazine (August 1910)

Close Reading — February 27, 2014, 5:25 pm

In the Margins of Twelve Years a Slave

Tracing an original edition of Solomon Northup’s narrative to a slaveholder

The McCoy family’s original 1853 edition of Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave. © Mary Niall Mitchell. Courtesy Caroline Helm

Close Reading — September 26, 2013, 8:00 am

The Tutelage of Charlotte and Emily Brontë

The Brontë sisters’ devoirs on filial love, under the instruction of Constantin Heger

From Charlotte Brontë’s homework

Close Reading — July 24, 2013, 8:00 am

A Possible Urtext for Mad Men

Reading James Kelly’s The Insider

James Kelly’s “The Insider” (cover detail)

Close Reading — April 12, 2013, 9:00 am

Mad Men’s Too-Visible Man

Don Draper, non-enigma

Falling Man (thumb)

Close Reading — December 26, 2012, 10:00 am

The Worldly Prose of Thornton Wilder

How Wilder evokes the music of our lives

[Portrait of Thornton Wilder, as Mr. Antrobus in "The Skin of Your Teeth"] (thumb)

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On silencing women
“The old framework of feminine mendacity and murky-mindedness is still routinely trotted out, and we should learn to recognize it for what it is.”
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“This is not a fable about a young woman whose dreams were dashed by a sexual predator. Maya’s narrative is one of institutional failure at a school desperately trying to adapt.”
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"Clothes are a bit like eating: you have to dress yourself. You have to eat, and even if you eat pizza all day long, that’s still a choice."
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“Iraq has every disease there is; its mind is deranged with too many voices, its organs corrupted, its limbs only long enough to tear at its own body.”
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Abortions per 1,000 live births in New York City:

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Researchers discovered an “Obama effect”: African Americans’ performance on a verbal test improved, to equal that of white Americans, immediately after Obama’s nomination and his election.

“All I saw,” said a 12-year-old neighbor of visits to the man’s house, “was just cats in little diapers.”

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In Praise of Idleness

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I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

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