From the stacks
January 2, 1915
The German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born on this day in 1749. In 1915, George Santayana wrote about the legacy of Geothe, Kant, and Hegel in understanding contemporary Germany.
December 23, 1930
Theodore Dreiser, American naturalist and the author of An American Tragedy and Sister Carrie, was born on this day 142 years ago. Below, John Chamberlain writes on Dreiser’s childhood and development as an American author of the industrial age.
July 6, 1963
It is not Asa Philip Randolph’s style to embarrass presidents of the United States in large assemblies; and so, when he came as a vice president of the AFL-CIO to the White House along with 300 other labor leaders, Mr. Randolph's brief comment on the President's televised speech on civil rights two nights before was at once a stately compliment and a measured reminder: "It was a magnificent speech, but it was, unfortunately, made rather late."
On this day in 1920, the nineteenth amendment allowing women the right to vote became part of the United States Constitution. Writing in 1915, Francis Hackett analyzes the politics behind the suffrage movement and the decision to pursue a constitutional amendment to attain the right to vote.
July 6, 1963
Not a word of the President’s proposed Omnibus Civil Rights Rights Act of 1963 is law as yet, of course; not all its words are equally likely to become law, and not all of its provisions, which do get enacted, will be equally important or effective.
September 24, 1939
On August 23, 1939, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin and German dictator Adolf Hitler signed into existence Molotov-Ribbontrop Pact, a non-agression treaty between the two nations. The pact lasted less than two years, and was destroyed when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. This piece, which was originally published in The New Republic on September 24, 1939, argues that those who feel fascism has been strengthened by Soviet action should fight all the harder for the maintenance and extension of democracy in America.
January 4, 1933
Seventy-three years ago, on August 21, 1940, the Russian revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky died after an undercover NKVD agent attacked him with an ice axe. In this 1933 essay, Edmund Wilson discusses Trotsky's literary tendencies and his historical ambitions.
April 4, 1981
On August 20, 1858, Charles Darwin published his views on evolution for the first time. This piece, which was originally published by The New Republic on April 4, 1981 discusses the growing creationist movement in the U.S. during that decade. After a slew of controversies surrounding his theory, Niles Eldredge argues that the U.S. public appears to be as badly informed about the real nature of science as it ever was. The success of recent creationist efforts, he says, lies in a prior failure to educate children about science.
March 21, 1923
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.
July 5, 1922
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.