The Beginning of the End

Judas takes hold of Christ, pressing himself on him: arm, beard, lips. A soldier in gleaming armor goes for Christ’s neck. A young man flees: John the Evangelist.

Poem | El Greco's Evangelist

Paint. Paint the soft lines / of damp cheeks across a canvas. / Paint the deep eyes, the little / hand and the orb. / Splash some color along the curve / of her...

The Year of Lear

You don’t need to be a thespian to appreciate James Shapiro's "Year of Lear"—a brilliant, meticulously researched history of social tensions that inspired the play.

'Purity' by Jonathan Franzen

While Franzen’s natural mode as writer is one of confident high spirits, in "Purity" his view of people is steeped in pessimism, and his characters are miserable.

Letters of James Agee to Father Flye

Spanning almost James Agee's entire lifetime, these letters between author and his priest cover alcohol, God, poetry, childhood, and a “mouthful of sweet potato.”

The Arab Had a Name

Narrated by the nameless victim's brother, Kamal Daoud's novel asks: Did Camus intend to use the Algerian murder victim in 'The Stranger' as a disposable prop?

Poem | Gunflint Lake: Sunset

A fiery sun / made a path toward us / on the rippled water / and scattered pink shavings / over the rest...

Bookmarks | How Racism Speaks

Claudia Rankine’s 'Citizen' and Jeffery Renard Allen’s 'Song of the Shank' both take up the issue of race in America in jagged and beautiful poetry and prose.

Poem | Aunt Grace Wears Beautiful Clothes

Asleep, she has no idea she is old. // She’s running uphill, no lightfoot, but quite fast / past the houses and driveways of family friends / toward the higher...

Letters | Academic discipline, confirmation, ethnic resentments, etc.

Readers write in on how academic, humanistic, and prophetic cultures should be balanced, when kids should be confirmed, and why nothing's better than the Eucharist.

Commonweal Interviews

Featuring the best of our interviews—including Woody Allen, Jorge Luis Borges, Mary Gordon, (Sister) Elizabeth McAlister, Christian Wiman, and Mario Cuomo...

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Anne Enright's new novel suggests something simple—family, for good or ill, keeps forming us even when we try to escape it—but her prose constantly surprises.
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