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.
The Original of Laura By Vladimir Nabokov Edited by Dmitri Nabokov (Knopf, 304 pp., $35) So this is what we’ve all been waiting for? The last, lost work of the great master, all but complete, so rumor had it, at the time of his death, sequestered for decades in a Swiss vault, “brilliant, original, and potentially totally radical,” according to his son and heir, “the most concentrated distillation of [my father’s] creativity”--and all that it amounts to, we now learn, is a handful of crumbs, a bit of lint, a few coins.