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20th century

And Red All Over

From the FBI file on Lloyd Louis Brown, who wrote the prison novel Iron City (1951), edited several Communist journals, and coauthored Paul Robeson’s autobiography, Here I Stand. The file…

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Two Exiles

By Frederic Morton, from a speech given at the Vienna Haus der Barmherzigkeit two days before he died, in April. Morton was a critic, an essayist, and the author of…

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The Work Cure for Women

This vague put-upon feeling had been bothering me for some time, but only recently did I finally realize that I’m just one victim of a vast conspiracy. Chances are that…

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Tommy, Beauty, and Baby

Tommy, Beauty, and Baby had set up a harmonious household when a pet store offered an irresistible bargain in the form of an additional pair of young marmosets that nobody…

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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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Ways of Being Silent

from the archive 50 years ago in Harper’s Magazine Literary history and the present are dark with silences: the years-long silences of acknowledged greats; the ceasing to publish after one…

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Beat Reporter

From a previously unpublished journal entry by Allen Ginsberg, dated February 18–19, 1965, and collected in The Essential Ginsberg, which will be published next month by Harper Perennial. In 1965, Ginsberg accepted…

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Oath of the Elbe

From Swansong 1945: A Collective Diary of the Last Days of the Third Reich, edited by Walter Kempowski, out this month from W. W. Norton. On April 25, 1945, Soviet…

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Realty Bites

From a conversation with Raul, a resident of Manhattan, included in The Edge Becomes the Center, an oral history of gentrification in New York City, by D. W. Gibson, out…

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March 2015