Malcolm Cowley Was One of the Best Literary Tastemakers of the Twentieth Century. Why Were His Politics So Awful?
February 28, 2014

Malcolm Cowley did as much as anyone to shape the literary canon of the last century. Why did he hold onto Soviet Communism long after other American intellectuals had given it up?

The PICTURE: Midcult Revisited
August 03, 2010

Nobody talks about “midcult” anymore. I wonder how many people are even aware of this nifty coinage. I like the clipped sound of those two syllables locked together, the efficiency with which “middle” and “culture” have been shortened, abbreviated, then spliced together. Dwight Macdonald tossed midcult into the intellectual playground with his 1961 essay, “Masscult and Midcult,” originally published as a pamphlet by Partisan Review. And whatever the strengths and the weaknesses of that long, elaborate essay, the word has its own kind of mid-twentieth-century fascination.

Making Connections
April 03, 2007

by Richard Stern The 16 comments on my 36th Open University post inspire the sort of explanation writers like me hope they never have to give. One commentator said it was the worst of all the TNR blogs he'd read. (Since I'd contributed 35 earlier ones, part of me felt some relief.) Anyway, here goes. Several commentators made little or no sense of the connection between the post's two sections, one a brief account of the fine work done for abused Indian girls by Dr.

The Hero Worshipper
November 05, 2001

Fire By Sebastian Junger (W.W. Norton, 224 pp., $24.95) There is a point in Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon where the old lady turns on the writer and asks: "How is it, young man, that you talk so much and write so long about these bullfights and yet are not a bullfighter yourself?" The writer admits that he did try it once or twice—on bulls with blunted horns.