Unsentimental Journey
July 24, 2013

On the anniversary of Witold Gombrowicz's death, Polish writer Jaroslaw Anders's review of Gombrowicz's Trans-Atlantyk.

Pope Francis and the "Dirty War": The Video Testimony
March 18, 2013

Since he became Pope Francis last week, questions have swirled about Jorge Bergoglio’s relationship with Argentina’s junta during the country’s "Dirty War," a period of military rule between 1976 and 1983.

How Human Rights Became our Ideology
November 16, 2012

The modern idea of human rights was only created after World War II. In the next half-century, it became a global movement.

Das schöne Spiel
June 08, 2012

It is sometimes said that the European Championships are the World Cup without Brazil and Argentina. Though this might be more or less true on the field, it misses the obvious truth that the World Cup is not just a matter of determining the best team on the planet. That's one reason why it includes teams who are not among the top 32 sides in the world.  The Euros are a different matter. The best 16 teams in Europe are involved. It is a meritocracy that should be enjoyed while we can savour it before it expands—like a New Yorker binging on too many Big Gulps—to 24 teams in four years time.

The Blooming Foreigner
November 23, 2011

“Something Urgent I Have to Say to You”: The Life and Works of William Carlos WilliamsBy Herbert Leibowitz (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 496 pp., $40)  William Carlos Williams, among the most aggressively American poets since Walt Whitman, was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, in 1883, to a Puerto Rican mother and an English father, neither of whom bothered to become American citizens after their transplantation from the Caribbean to the poisonous industrial marshes west of Manhattan.

Transition Traps
February 16, 2011

After the peaceful mass uprising that toppled one of the world’s oldest autocracies, it is now possible to imagine the emergence of a genuine democracy in Egypt—the most important country in the Arab world. The very possibility of it marks an historic turning point for the entire region.

The Old New Thing
October 20, 2010

The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History By Samuel Moyn (Belknap Press, 337 pp., $27.95) In 1807, in Yorkshire, activists hit the campaign trail for William Wilberforce, whose eloquent parliamentary fight against Britain’s slave trade had won surprising success. “O we’ve heard of his Cants in Humanity’s Cause/While the Senate was hush’d, and the land wept applause,” they sang.