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Timeless stories from our 170-year archive handpicked to speak to the news of the day.
Helen DeWitt’s uncompromising fictions
The bowdlerization of Jean Rhys
The impossible work of motherhood
The year 2017 was, I presume, an awkward, anxious moment to be named poet laureate of the United States. What the writer owes the collective and where she fits within…
Alan Hollinghurst’s break with tradition
The troubling response to a memoir of incest
Does fiction matter in a post-fact age?
The surprising legacy of a ninety-year-old peace pact
My first and still most vivid memory of a Woody Allen movie is of the scene in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)…
The Armies of the Night fifty years on
Three novels of Egypt’s repressive present
When you consider the savagery of your run-of-the-mill fairy tale, our use of the term to connote “romance” or “idealization” smacks of nothing more than romance and idealization — a…
A philosopher’s flat-footed meditations on the beautiful game
Elizabeth Hardwick’s political conscience
Jennifer Egan’s shallow depths
When last we heard from Isabel Archer, she was on her way from London back to Rome, where her husband, the cruel, cosmopolitan aesthete Gilbert Osmond, was waiting. That’s how…
Feminist struggles are labor struggles
The nightmare logic of Twin Peaks
Henry David Thoreau as prophet, naturalist, and stealth comedian
Before he invented telegraphic code, Samuel Morse was a portrait painter. In the winter of 1825, he left his family in Connecticut and traveled to Washington, D.C., for a sitting…
Does the social novel have a future?
Nicole Krauss and her precursors
We are ushered into a feminine world on page 1 of David Plante’s DIFFICULT WOMEN (New York Review Books, $16.95), when the author meets Jean Rhys in a South Kensington…
Discussed in this essay: Chester B. Himes: A Biography, by Lawrence P. Jackson. W. W. Norton. 640 pages. $35. Early in Chester Himes’s first and best-known novel, If He Hollers…
I write this month from my parents’ home in New Jersey, to which I have escaped, with my baby son, from the jackhammers tearing down the parapets of our apartment…
In Marie NDiaye’s novel MY HEART HEMMED IN (Two Lines Press, $14.95), Nadia and Ange, a middle-aged couple from Bordeaux, become outcasts. “What sort of wickedness, I ask myself, are they suddenly…
Who owns black pain?
The afterlives of Lenin
John Ashbery’s well-spent youth
If you were losing your mind, how would you know? What if instead it were the world that was losing its mind — flouting the usual statutes re: time and…