The Art of Resistance

The critic and novelist John Berger argues that “the future has been downsized”—restricted to the mercenary parameters of finance capital and digital technocracy.

'John le Carré'

Adam Sisman's new biography of le Carré—cartoonist, actor, mimic, linguist, expert skier,and spy—is intelligent, thoroughly researched, and tediously repetitive.

'You Think It Strange'

There is no release or relief in poet Dan Burt's story, just a stark and pervading sense of emotional sclerosis from the streets of Philly to the halls of Cambridge.


Barry’s new novel—featuring John Lennon as protagonist—meditates on place, grief, and longing, ranging across a century’s worth of literary and popular references.

Last Word: The Gospel According to Del Monte

The changes of Vatican II and the turmoil of the civil-rights and anti-war movements made for heady days, and Sister Corita Kent’s art further exemplified the times.

Bookmarks | Almost-Madness in Love & Loss

How to describe the almost-madness of loss? Macdonald uses hawk-taming, Smith "ordinary" poetry about death, and Chapman "Christian love of existence."

'Once in a Great City'

What fascinates Maraniss about Detroit more than its ruin is how central its story is to the broader course of U.S. history—Motown, the local Mob, the auto industry.

'Utopia, Limited'

Anahid Nersessian argues that Romanticism dramatizes the “desirability of constraint.” Her book on how British Romantics imagined "utopia" powerfully does the same.

Last Word: The 4 p.m. Blues

If today the world and the self are devalued, as Walker Percy has suggested, art—particularly the novel— can awaken the reader to their recovery from '4 p.m. blues.'

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.
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