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1960 / December | View All Issues |

December 1960

illustration

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Letters

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[Coming in Harper’s]

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Coming in Harper’s·

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The editor’s easy chair

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Ten Christmas cards, and that’s all·

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After hours

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Encounter with Cocteau·

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After hours

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The muffled dernier cri·

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Article

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“Listen, Yankee”·

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The Cuban case against the United States

Fiction

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The reluctant giver·

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A story

Poetry

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Wood odors·

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Collection

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Repertory fever·

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Poetry

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Directions for Christmas·

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Article

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Beachcombing in the Virgin Islands·

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Article

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An open letter to the corner grocer·

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Article

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The next summit meeting·

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Poetry

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To Mary·

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Article

78, 81-83, 86-88 PDF

The cracked lens·

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Notes on Hedda, Hollywood, TV, and me

Article

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“Friendship U” in Moscow·

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Public and personal

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Public and personal·

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Public and personal

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Christmas in the vernacular·

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The new books

106, 110, 112, 114, 116-120 PDF

Art books of 1960·

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Books in brief

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Music in the round

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A new generation of pianists·

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Jazz notes

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Music in the round

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And also . . .·

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Porgy II·

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THE CURRENT ISSUE

October 2019

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

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Secrets and Lies·

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

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Seeking Asylum·

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Out of sight on Leros, the island of the damned

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Poem for Harm·

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Reflections on harm in language and the trouble with Whitman

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Good Bad Bad Good·

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About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

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Life after Life·

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
—Chaucer

I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

A solid-gold toilet named “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in Oxfordshire, England.

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