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.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.