Close Reading

Close Reading — December 24, 2014, 8:00 am

Time Out of Joint In Richard McGuire’s Here

“One learns about the characters the way a machine would, by analyzing discrete moments of their lives, like a search engine combing for patterns.”

Here-in-RAW

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)

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“Whether and how we educate people is still a direct reflection of the degree of freedom we expect them to have, or want them to have.”
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The Force Awakens criticizes American imperialism while also celebrating the revolutionary spirit that founded this country. When the movie needs to bridge the two points of view, it shifts to aerial combat, a default setting that mirrors the war on terror all too well.”
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“He had paid for much of her schooling, something he cannot help but mention, since the aftermath of any failed relationship brings an ungenerous and impossible impulse to claw back one’s misspent resources.”
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“This is the strange magic of an arrangement of all the world’s knowledge in alphabetical order: any search for anything passes through things that have nothing in common with it but an initial letter.”
Artwork by Brian Dettmer. Courtesy the artist and P.P.O.W., New York City.

Number of people who attended the World Grits Festival, held in St. George, South Carolina, last spring:

60,000

The brown bears of Greece continued chewing through telephone poles.

In Peru, a 51-year-old activist became the first former sex worker to run for the national legislature. “I’m going to put order,” she said, “in that big brothel which is Congress.”

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Civilization masks us with a screen, from ourselves and from one another, with thin depth of unreality. We habitually live — do we not? — in a world self-created, half established, of false values arbitrarily upheld, largely inspired by misconception, misapprehension, wrong perspective, and defective proportion, misapplication.

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