Julian Hawthorne: The Life of a Prodigal Son

The dissolute -- and fascinating -- life of a literary icon's child.

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The Invention of News

The world before (and after) headlines.

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Maimonides: Life and Thought

Understanding the sometimes perplexing Jewish philosopher.

 

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Slow Reading in a Hurried Age

Rules for readers in an era when distraction is de rigueur.

 

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Thank You, Anarchy

What did the Occupy Wall Street movement mean to the activists who drove it?

 

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Franco's Crypt

Reading Spain's civil war, and the modern nation in its wake.

 

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God Bless America

How Irving Berlin's patriotic tune became a shadow national anthem.

 

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Italo Calvino: Letters, 1941–1985

The correspondence of the author of Invisible Cities shows a writer working at the heart of the European literary world.

 

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Spartacus

Gladiator, rebel, Hollywood symbol: is there a real figure buried beneath the myth?

 

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The Dune's Twisted Edge

Using Middle Eastern poetry to form an eclectic map of the region.

 

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Before Religion

Is the very notion of "religion" a modern invention?

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Declaring His Genius

One of literature’s greatest wits crosses the pond, in search of exceptionalism abroad and within.

 

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Why Tolerate Religion?

A legal scholar examines the way governments treat faith.

 

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The Great Charles Dickens Scandal

Charles Dickens's beloved characters often harbored terrible secrets.  Their creator was no different.

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Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad

Why did Syria's ruling regime turn from liberalization to a violent crackdown?

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Loverly: The Life and Times of My Fair Lady

How an intellectually highflown play about dialect and class in England became a legendary Broadway musical.

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The Eighteen-Day Running Mate

How not to choose a vice presidential nominee.

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The Candidate

A political guru outlines the principles that guide the presidential hopefuls.

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Vita Nova

A new translation of Dante's early chronicle of passionate inspiration.

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Petrarch: Sonnets and Shorter Poems

A new translation of the poet's "Songbook" eschews florid language in favor of inventive ideas.

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The Paradox of Love

Are the French really better at l'amour?

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The Primate Mind

Do chimps experience empathy? And if they do, what does it mean to be human?

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Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books

The tangible value of the book, in the eyes of a diverse collection of writers.

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Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab

Behind the wheel in the Windy City.

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In the Words of E. B. White

Plainspoken wisdom from the author of Charlotte's Web.

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About the Columnist
Adam Kirsch is a senior editor at The New Republic and a columnist for Nextbook.org. He is the author of Why Trilling Matters, Benjamin Disraeli and The Modern Element: Essays on Contemporary Poetry.

July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).