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Timeless stories from our 170-year archive handpicked to speak to the news of the day.
The allure of animal nature
Zadie Smith and the limits of being oneself
“I understand the large hearts of heroes,” wrote an ecstatic Walt Whitman in “Song of Myself”: The courage of present times and all times, How the skipper saw the crowded…
The inventions of Javier Marías
The rise and fall of the Romanovs
Hell hath no fury like a Hitchcock scorned. After the fat man with the famous profile signed Tippi Hedren to a seven-year contract and put her through what was then…
Why TV Got Good
The Saga of Halldór Laxness
The inscrutable sincerity of Nell Zink
Thomas De Quincey’s bad habits
A motley crew steers Anne Carson’s FLOAT (Knopf, $30). There’s Edmund Husserl, Jean-Luc Godard, Joan of Arc, Pablo Picasso, mad Hölderlin, Hegel, a chorus of Gertrude Steins, and Carson’s noble,…
Jonathan Safran Foer’s authorial intrusions
The meaning of the game
Thirty-six ways of looking at the aphorism
It doesn’t matter that Ursula K. Le Guin has been winning awards for writing about aliens, wizards, and imaginary worlds since the 1960s — the label “science fiction” gives her…
Across the seven volumes of the Recherche, Proust mentions only one living artist by name — the fashion designer Mariano Fortuny. “Is it their historical character, or is it rather…
The rise of Trump
The return of the Brat Pack
In 1996, the Libyan writer Hisham Matar was living near the National Gallery in London. For six years straight he had been going to the museum, sometimes as often as…
Sybille Bedford’s prudent hedonism
Seamus Heaney’s journey to the underworld
The past and future of dating
Notes toward an understanding of Wallace Stevens
Before she showed Pop paintings at the Whitney and the Guggenheim; before her madcap plays were performed at the Judson Poets’ Theater and La MaMa; before she traveled the female…
The new docudrama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX) isn’t really about Orenthal James Simpson. It’s about the trials that ran alongside his — those informal,…
Hail, Caesar!, the new film by Joel and Ethan Coen, starts and ends with a confession and a slap in the face. The movie covers a day in the life…
The lyric essay’s convenient fictions
Annie Dillard gets pickled
Piecing together the GN’R story
The Ohio River runs through C. E. Morgan’s second novel, THE SPORT OF KINGS (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27). It’s a “hungry current,” a “sucking current,” a “swamping weight” whose…