Literature

On Her Birthday, In Praise of Edith Wharton's Acerbic Pen
January 24, 2014

She was rich as sin, but didn't let that stop her from ripping apart the upper class. 

We Don't Need Another Book About How Much You Love Reading
January 07, 2014

"Why I Read" is another pointless entry in the tired genre, The Very Personal Book About My Love Of Reading.

The Doris Lessing I Knew: Young, Passionate, and Struggling to Keep It Together
November 19, 2013

From her obituaries, and the serious critical assessments of her work, I hardly recognize the Doris Lessing I knew.

Herman Melville Got No Respect
October 10, 1928: Lewis Mumford on Herman Melville's legacy
November 14, 2013

"Call me Ishmael," the first sentence in Herman Melville's Moby Dick, is one of the most recognized opening lines in American literature. It's ascendency into not just literary, but cultural notoriety, began 162 years today, with the first publication of Melville's story of the white whale.

Dave Eggers's Overwrought Paranoia
October 07, 2013

Capturing the zeitgeist is something of an obsession for Dave Eggers.

Edgar Allan Poe Was More Than a "Freak" and a "Drunk"
December 8, 1926
October 07, 2013

The recent revival of interest in Poe has brought to light a good deal of new information about him and supplied us for the first time with a serious interpretation of his personal career, but it has so far entirely failed to explain why we should st

From the Stacks: "Holden Caulfield Goes to Law School"
March 9, 1987
September 03, 2013

A new film and biography of J.D. Salinger claim to reveal new information about the reclusive writer's life—including new work. In 1987, Andrew Delbanco reviewed another Salinger biography and the "unsquelchable" rumor of unpublished work. 

From the Video Vault: Ray Bradbury on Writing Persistently
August 22, 2013

Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury was born on this day in 1920. While now heralded as one of the best science fiction writers ever, Bradbury initially struggled to get stories published.

From the Stacks: “Realism in France”
March 21, 1923
August 19, 2013

Honoré de Balzac, the great giant of French Realism, died 163 years ago today. In his honor, an assessment of the importance of realism in French literature, as originally published in The New Republic.

From the Stacks: “Ulysses”
July 5, 1922
August 16, 2013

On August 16, 1922, Virginia Woolf penned a passage in her diary panning James Joyce's Ulysses. But New Republic editor Edmund Wilson would have disagreed with her—he, instead, praised it as a "work of high genius." In memoriam of Woolf's legendary take-down, a reprint of Wilson's original review.

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