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Reviews

New Television

In Season 5 of Louie (FX), Louie is a new kind of superhero. Like Wonder Woman, the canonical superhero he most resembles, Louie’s distinctive superpower is love. With loving understanding,…

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New Books

Before Europe orientalized its eastern colonies, the Jew orientalized himself. Living in exile — amid the empires of Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and the four Islamic caliphates — he…

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First-Person Shooters

What’s missing in contemporary war fiction

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Old Poison, New Battles

The ongoing struggle for voting rights

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New Art

Museums,” the art historian Susanne Neubauer wrote, “are the place where things are transformed into objects.” In the case of BASQUIAT: THE UNKNOWN NOTEBOOKS, which is on view at the…

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New Books

In August 1965, Andy Warhol popped two Desoxyn and set out with his Philips tape recorder to capture a day in the life of Factory superstar Ondine. (The two had…

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Joy Ploy

The dismal science of human optimization

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New Television

In the final seconds of Wolf Hall — the six-part BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s best-selling novels of high-stakes intrigue at the court of Henry VIII — the camera lingers…

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What a Piece of Work

Mark Greif’s intellectual excavations

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New Books

You never step in the same river twice, but a rival you step on constantly. “Everything flows” — including anger and resentment. According to Socrates, according to Plato, the original…

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New Television

With the arrival of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix), we finally have a major sitcom heroine whom we definitely don’t want to dress like. Kimmy Schmidt…

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Shhh! Socialism

Karl Taro Greenfeld and the novel of inequality

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Dissolution by Details

Bellow and the problems of literary biography

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New Music

I just squandered two or three precious should-be-working hours trundling around music-streaming sites looking for “The Banks of Sweet Italy,” my all-time favorite Incredible String Band song. Dotty, druggy, sublime…

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New Books

In the nineteenth century, while the European novel was becoming the preeminent narrative form for grown-ups working through the grown-up problems of marriage, adultery, and career, Americans were writing adventure…

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Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

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The Test of Time

Kazuo Ishiguro’s novels of remembering

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New Movies

In 492 b.c., an Athenian tragedian named Phrynichus made the disastrous decision to premiere a play about recent political events — as far as we know, the first drama in…

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New Books

Toni Morrison’s novels — a formidable shelf of eleven by now, as the author settles in to her mid-eighties — have all been catholicons, correctives to the canon. That strong, sensuous diction —…

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A Sage in Harlem

Langston Hughes in letters

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The Fourth Branch

How the CIA infiltrated student politics

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New Movies

When inviting a bear from darkest Peru into your terraced London house, the first thing to do is increase the coverage on your homeowners’ insurance policy. “Yes, a bear .…

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New Books

Mr. Earnshaw went to Liverpool and he came back with a boy: a “gipsy brat,” a thing hardly human, an “it” talking “over and over again some gibberish that nobody…

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How Much Damage Can It Do?

On the intellectual element in modern fiction

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A Weimar Home Companion

Walter Benjamin on the air

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New Books

A novel character emerged from the mists of Second Empire France and roamed the boulevards of Romanticism. This man was Baudelaire’s flâneur, but that’s not all he was. In depressing…

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Manual of Trickery and Self-Deception

From a recently declassified article, written by an author whose name was redacted, published in the winter 1986 issue of Studies in Intelligence, the in-house journal of the CIA.

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September 2015