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Archive: 2013

Look at Me

I grew up under the watchful gaze of my dead grandmother lying in her coffin. Her funeral had been meticulously documented and a series of 4? × 6? black-and-white photographs…

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Freeze!

From 2012 and 2013 blotters of the police department in Unalaska, Alaska, a town of 4,400 in the Aleutian Islands. Read More

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The Mercenary Position

Discussed in this essay: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, by Brad Stone. Little, Brown. 392 pages. $28. A shilling life will give you all the…

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Jump Juan Crow

Chatham County, North Carolina, population 63,505, is in the geographic center of the state. We are 710 square miles, eighty-nine people per square mile. An improvised web of old roads…

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The View from 86

By Malcolm Cowley, from a December 20, 1984, letter to Peter Braestrup, editor of Wilson Quarterly. Best known for his literary criticism, Cowley died in 1989. The Long Voyage: Selected…

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Cocoa Buff

From a passage dated December 30, 1668, in the journal of Edward Montagu, first Earl of Sandwich, discovered earlier this year by Kate Loveman and partially quoted in The Journal…

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Chicago Is the Future

It was in 1988 that I moved to the bedraggled neighborhood of Hyde Park in order to study American history at the University of Chicago. I left the city ten…

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I Wept for Four Years and When I Stopped I Was Blind

By Siri Hustvedt, from a keynote lecture delivered in Paris at this year’s winter meeting of the Société de Neurophysiologie, to be published in a special issue of Clinical Neurophysiology,…

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Does Mailer Matter?

Discussed in this essay: Norman Mailer: A Double Life, by J. Michael Lennon. Simon & Schuster. 960 pages. $40. Mind of an Outlaw: Selected Essays, by Norman Mailer. Random House.…

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The Old Women and the Sea

From an interview conducted by Youngmi Mayer with Jung Won Oh, Ko Jun Ja, and Mun Yeon Ok, female divers on Korea’s Jeju Island, published in Lucky Peach: The Gender…

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Letters

Crimes Against Humanities Thomas Frank’s insightful lamentation about the demise of the humanities in higher education [“Course Corrections,” Easy Chair, October] notes the mammoth cost of attending college in the…

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Define Mysteries

From explanatory subtitles to entries in the U.S. edition of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism, an eleven-volume, 7,216-page work compiled by more than 1,000 scholars over the past twenty-five years and…

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I Can Say Many Nice Things

Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned…

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The Real Lost Generation

In late August, I traveled with colleagues from the Roosevelt Institute in New York to New Orleans, where we had invited a panel of community organizers to join us in…

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Harper’s Index

Percentage change in the S&P 500 since its pre-crisis peak : +8 In the price of financial stocks : –44 Portion of wages paid in Manhattan that come from the financial-services industry : 1/3 Percentage by…

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Flight

By Dorthe Nors, from Karate Chop, a short-story collection to be published in February by Graywolf in collaboration with A Public Space. Nors is the author of several works of…

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New Books

Ezra Pound’s dictum “Make It New” has long been cited as modernism’s driving objective. Yet Pound, in coining the phrase, was actually drawing on his own (rather free) translation of…

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Thy Kingdom Plumb

From “Holy Springs and Holy Water: Underestimated Sources of Illness?” published last year in the Journal of Water and Health. Read More

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American Scolder

From annotations written by John Stuart Mill on his personal copies of the first editions of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays, which were published in two volumes, in 1841 and 1844.…

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Bewitched

Discussed in this essay: The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion, by Virginia Postrel. Simon & Schuster. 288 pages. $28. simonandschuster.com. In the mid-1970s I was…

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Findings

Women’s drinking in parks was associated with male-on-female intimate-partner violence, while men’s drinking quietly at home in the evening was associated with female-on-male violence. Among federally licensed gun retailers, 98.9 percent…

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Loving Las Vegas

I pity people who’ve never been to Vegas. Who dismiss the city without setting foot on its carpeted sidewalks. I recognized myself in the town the first time I laid…

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