September 2, 1946
In honor of Banned Books Week, we're publishing our original reviews of frequently banned books. In 1946, our critic George Soules read Animal Farm with disgust, calling the book "on the whole dull...a creaking machine...clumsy." We imagine he may have lived to regret these judgments.
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.
Leon Trotsky, exiled from Russia and living in Mexico, died after being stabbed with an ice pick on this day in 1940. Trotsky lived with painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera from 1937 to 1939—though he and Rivera later became enemies after his affair with Kahlo. Watch Kahlo and Rivera welcome Trotsky and his wife to their home. Image via Shutterstock.
Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain By Dwight Macdonald Edited by John Summers (New York Review Books, 289pp., $16.95) Dwight Macdonald, the greatest American hatchet man, applied his merciless craft also to himself. When he collected his essays, he added footnotes, appendices, and other forms of addenda taking issue with his own writings.