Books

Reviewing the Unreviewable

How to assess the promising, posthumous work of a 22-year-old

The act of reviewing—or even just having critical thoughts about—juvenilia produced by someone who cannot defend herself seems both loathsome and pointless. But this book calls for it.

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The Greatest Ex-Nazi Writer

Never heard of Gottfried Benn? It's because of his politics

Gottfreid Benn was a Nazi very briefly in the early 1930s. Why did it erase him from literary history?

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Paul de Man Was a Total Fraud

The literary-critical giant lied about every part of his life

Paul de Man lied about everything: his college, his grad school, his rent payments, his quotations of Nietzsche and Rousseau. He even cheated his father out of his life savings. And that's just the beginning.

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Reading Won't Make You a Better Person

Enough with the sanctimonious blather!

There is no longer any need to write “in defense of” reading—and yet we keep churning out books along these lines. 

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Fitzgerald says that Tender is the Night is his farewell to the members of his own generation; I hope he changes his mind. He has in him at least one

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The Miseducation of the Tiger Mom

An odd new book by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld gives ambition a bad name

A book by Yale Law professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld shows an astonishing lack of scholarly rigor or common sense.

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The writer who goes by the pen name Mai Jia is the most popular author in the world you’ve never heard of. 

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We do not imagine Benjamin on the beach. But the great intellectual of city life defied every school and stereotype.

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Three writers set out to defend the region and end up committing the same common mistake.

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Every transcription of handwriting into print misses something. With Dickinson's manuscripts, transcriptions miss a whole lot.

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