From the stacks
Out of the tradition of Gertrude Stein’s experiments in style and the clipped, stout prose of Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway comes Carson McCullers' "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter." With the depression as a murky backdrop, this first novel depicts the bleak landscape of the American consciousness below the Mason-Dixon line. Miss McCullers' picture of loneliness, death, accident, insanity, fear, mob violence and terror is perhaps the most desolate that has so far come from the South.
An acute anthropology of the New York City striver.
In honor of Valentine's Day 1958, pseudonymous author Sagittarius took a light-hearted look at ongoing diplomatic talks between the United States and Soviet Union on the subject of nuclear weapons tests. Though the Berlin and Cuban Missile Crises loomed in the near future, the powers did agree to a one-year ban on tests in March 1958.
On Darwin's birthday, a defense of his greatest theory
Despite this country's apparent modernism, the creationist movement once again is growing. The news media proclaimed a juryless trial in California as "Scopes II" and those who cling to the myth of progress wonder how the country could revert to the primitive state it was in when Darrow and Bryan battled it out in the hot summer of 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee. But the sad truth is that we have not progressed. Creationism never completely disappeared as a political, religious, and educational issue.
Plath's tragic death can make her seem legacy more important than it really is.
Irving Howe on the tragedy of our twentieth-century Tolstoy
Boris Pasternak was born 124 years ago on this day. In honor of his birthday, here is Irving Howe's appraisal of the unique genius of Pasternak's best-known work, Doctor Zhivago.
Two centuries after his birth, Charles Dickens's greatness is still up for debate.
On the 100th anniversary of his birthday, a vintage review of Naked Lunch
Naked Lunch belongs to that very large category of books, from Macpherson’s Ossian to Peyton Place, whose interest lies not in their own qualities but in the reception given to them in their own time. In itself, Naked Lunch, is of very small significance. It consists of a prolonged scream of hatred and disgust, an effort to keep the reader’s nose down in the mud for 20 pages. Before reading it I had heard it described as pornography, but this is not the case.
The American writer and feminist Betty Friedan, who died in 2006, was born on this day in 1921. In 1992, she traveled to the Democratic National Convention and reflected on the successes of the so-called "Year of the Woman," in which four female U.S. Senators were elected, including Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Carol Moseley Braun.Women and the Democrats.
On the anniversary of his assassination, read about his hope for freedom
I was lucky enough to obtain one of the very few private interviews which Mahatma Gandhi granted while he was in England, seeing him only a few days before the Indian Conference came to an end in what Mr. Gandhi and his followers regarded as a tragic failure, and before he sailed back to India to prepare for a future dark with the likelihood of bloodshed on a terrible scale.