July 19, 2013
Peter Sloterdijk, one of Germany’s best-known philosophers for 30 years, has just emerged in English. He makes philosophical problems come alive as well as any thinker at work today.
During the George Zimmerman trial, I happened to be reading James Agee's Depression classic, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.
Smoking and the Intellectual
June 12, 2013
The first thing you see as the lights go down at Sontag: Reborn, the clever and affecting one-woman show now playing at New York Theatre Workshop, is a billow of cigarette smoke.
The Greatest English Poet You Haven't Heard of
April 28, 2013
Edward Thomas began to write poetry when he was 36. Three years later he was dead, killed in battle in the First World War. Yet in that short span of time he produced the hundred-odd poems that make him one of the most beloved poets of the twentieth century.
The Other Anne Frank
April 10, 2013
A worthy addition to the library of eyewitness testimonies.
The New Essayists, or the Decline of a Form?
February 18, 2013
“The essay, as a literary form, is pretty well extinct,” Philip Larkin wrote gloomily in 1984. Extinct was the right word, capturing the sense of an organism that could no longer survive in a changed environment.
No Solid Homeland—Mid-century Travels Through America
January 07, 2013
IN THE SPRING of 1958, the West German novelist Wolfgang Koeppen came to see America. His sightseeing tour took him from New York to Los Angeles and back, with stops along the way in New Orleans, Salt Like City, Chicago, Boston, and other cities and towns. And like so many European writers before him—from Tocqueville on down—he sought to turn his hastily gathered impressions into a book that would do nothing less than explain the essence of America, that envied, admired, feared, and hated civilization, to the Old World.
A Middlemarch for Middle America
October 31, 2012
The strength of Attenberg’s modest but effective novel is that she convinces us that the way the Middlesteins live is, indeed, the way we live now.
Past Lives: A Memoir of Family Secrets and Lies
September 28, 2012
Few people manage to view themselves with the candor and subtlety that Roth summons in The Scientists.
Art Over Biology
July 12, 2012
Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. Why Lyrics Last: Evolution, Cognition, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets By Brian Boyd (Harvard University Press, 227 pp., $25.95) Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind By Mark Pagel (W.W. Norton, 416 pp., $29.95) The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present By Eric R.