Essays

For other uses, see Essay (disambiguation).

For a description of essays as used by Wikipedia editors, see Wikipedia:Essays.

"Essai" redirects here. For other uses, see Essai (disambiguation).

An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument — but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a paper, an article, a pamphlet, and a short story. Essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal. Formal essays are characterized by "serious purpose, dignity, logical organization, length," whereas the informal essay is characterized by "the personal element (self-revelation, individual tastes and experiences, confidential manner), humor, graceful style, rambling structure, unconventionality or novelty of theme," etc.[1]

Essays are commonly used as literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works in verse have been dubbed essays (e.g., Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism and An Essay on Man). While brevity usually defines an essay, voluminous works like John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population are counterexamples. In some countries (e.g., the United States and Canada), essays have become a major part of formal education. Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills; admission essays are often used by universities in selecting applicants, and in the humanities and social sciences essays are often used as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams.

The concept of an "essay" has been extended to other mediums beyond writing. A film essay is a movie that often incorporates documentary filmmaking styles and focuses more on the evolution of a theme or idea. A photographic essay covers a topic with a linked series of photographs that may have accompanying text or captions.

Definitions

An essay has been defined in a variety of ways. One definition is a "prose composition with a focused subject of discussion" or a "long, systematic discourse".[2] It is difficult to define the genre into which essays fall. Aldous Huxley, a leading essayist, gives guidance on the subject.[3] He notes that "the essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything", and adds that "by tradition, almost by definition, the essay is a short piece". Furthermore, Huxley argues that "essays belong to a literary species whose extreme variability can be studied most effectively within a three-poled frame of reference". These three poles (or worlds in which the essay may exist) are:

  • The personal and the autobiographical: The essayists that feel most comfortable in this pole "write fragments of reflective autobiography and look at the world through the keyhole of anecdote and description".
  • The objective, the factual, and the concrete particular: The essayists that write from this pole "do not speak directly of themselves, but turn their attention outward to some literary or scientific or political theme. Their art consists of setting forth, passing judgment upon, and drawing general conclusions from the relevant data".
  • The abstract-universal: In this pole "we find those essayists who do their work in the world of high abstractions", who are never personal and who seldom mention the particular facts of experience.

Huxley adds that the most satisfying essays "...make the best not of one, not of two, but of all the three worlds in which it is possible for the essay to exist."

The word essay derives from the French infinitive essayer, "to try" or "to attempt". In English essay first meant "a trial" or "an attempt", and this is still an alternative meaning. The Frenchman Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) was the first author to describe his work as essays; he used the term to characterize these as "attempts" to put his thoughts into writing, and his essays grew out of his commonplacing.[4] Inspired in particular by the works of Plutarch, a translation of whose Œuvres Morales (Moral works) into French had just been published by Jacques Amyot, Montaigne began to compose his essays in 1572; the first edition, entitled Essais, was published in two volumes in 1580. For the rest of his life, he continued revising previously published essays and composing new ones. Francis Bacon's essays, published in book form in 1597, 1612, and 1625, were the first works in English that described themselves as essays. Ben Jonson first used the word essayist in English in 1609, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

History

Europe

English essayists included Robert Burton (1577–1641) and Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682). In France, Michel de Montaigne's three volume Essais in the mid 1500s contain over 100 examples widely regarded as the predecessor of the modern essay. In Italy, Baldassare Castiglione wrote about courtly manners in his essay Il Cortigiano. In the 17th century, the JesuitBaltasar Gracián wrote about the theme of wisdom.[5] During the Age of Enlightenment, essays were a favored tool of polemicists who aimed at convincing readers of their position; they also featured heavily in the rise of periodical literature, as seen in the works of Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Samuel Johnson. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Edmund Burke and Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote essays for the general public. The early 19th century, in particular, saw a proliferation of great essayists in English – William Hazlitt, Charles Lamb, Leigh Hunt and Thomas de Quincey all penned numerous essays on diverse subjects. In the 20th century, a number of essayists tried to explain the new movements in art and culture by using essays (e.g., T.S. Eliot). Whereas some essayists used essays for strident political themes, Robert Louis Stevenson and Willa Cather wrote lighter essays. Virginia Woolf, Edmund Wilson, and Charles du Bos wrote literary criticism essays.[5]

Japan

Main article: Zuihitsu

As with the novel, essays existed in Japan several centuries before they developed in Europe with a genre of essays known as zuihitsu — loosely connected essays and fragmented ideas. Zuihitsu have existed since almost the beginnings of Japanese literature. Many of the most noted early works of Japanese literature are in this genre. Notable examples include The Pillow Book (c. 1000), by court lady Sei Shōnagon, and Tsurezuregusa (1330), by particularly renowned Japanese Buddhist monk Yoshida Kenkō. Kenkō described his short writings similarly to Montaigne, referring to them as "nonsensical thoughts" written in "idle hours". Another noteworthy difference from Europe is that women have traditionally written in Japan, though the more formal, Chinese-influenced writings of male writers were more prized at the time.

Forms and styles

This section describes the different forms and styles of essay writing. These forms and styles are used by an array of authors, including university students and professional essayists.

Cause and effect

The defining features of a "cause and effect" essay are causal chains that connect from a cause to an effect, careful language, and chronological or emphatic order. A writer using this rhetorical method must consider the subject, determine the purpose, consider the audience, think critically about different causes or consequences, consider a thesis statement, arrange the parts, consider the language, and decide on a conclusion.[6]

Classification and division

Classification is the categorization of objects into a larger whole while division is the breaking of a larger whole into smaller parts.[7]

Compare and contrast

Compare and contrast essays are characterized by a basis for comparison, points of comparison, and analogies. It is grouped by the object (chunking) or by point (sequential). The comparison highlights the similarities between two or more similar objects while contrasting highlights the differences between two or more objects. When writing a compare/contrast essay, writers need to determine their purpose, consider their audience, consider the basis and points of comparison, consider their thesis statement, arrange and develop the comparison, and reach a conclusion. Compare and contrast is arranged emphatically.[8]

Descriptive

Descriptive writing is characterized by sensory details, which appeal to the physical senses, and details that appeal to a reader's emotional, physical, or intellectual sensibilities. Determining the purpose, considering the audience, creating a dominant impression, using descriptive language, and organizing the description are the rhetorical choices to consider when using a description. A description is usually arranged spatially but can also be chronological or emphatic. The focus of a description is the scene. Description uses tools such as denotative language, connotative language, figurative language, metaphor, and simile to arrive at a dominant impression.[9] One university essay guide states that "descriptive writing says what happened or what another author has discussed; it provides an account of the topic".[10]Lyric essays are an important form of descriptive essays.

Dialectic

In the dialectic form of the essay, which is commonly used in philosophy, the writer makes a thesis and argument, then objects to their own argument (with a counterargument), but then counters the counterargument with a final and novel argument. This form benefits from presenting a broader perspective while countering a possible flaw that some may present. This type is sometimes called an ethics paper.[11]

Exemplification

An exemplification essay is characterized by a generalization and relevant, representative, and believable examples including anecdotes. Writers need to consider their subject, determine their purpose, consider their audience, decide on specific examples, and arrange all the parts together when writing an exemplification essay.[12]

Familiar

An essayist writes a familiar essay if speaking to a single reader, writing about both themselves, and about particular subjects. Anne Fadiman notes that "the genre's heyday was the early nineteenth century," and that its greatest exponent was Charles Lamb.[13] She also suggests that while critical essays have more brain than the heart, and personal essays have more heart than brain, familiar essays have equal measures of both.[14]

History (thesis)

A history essay sometimes referred to as a thesis essay describes an argument or claim about one or more historical events and supports that claim with evidence, arguments, and references. The text makes it clear to the reader why the argument or claim is as such.[15]

Narrative

A narrative uses tools such as flashbacks, flash-forwards, and transitions that often build to a climax. The focus of a narrative is the plot. When creating a narrative, authors must determine their purpose, consider their audience, establish their point of view, use dialogue, and organize the narrative. A narrative is usually arranged chronologically.[16]

Argumentative

An argumentative essay is a critical piece of writing, aimed at presenting objective analysis of the subject matter, narrowed down to a single topic. The main idea of all the criticism is to provide an opinion either of positive or negative implication. As such, a critical essay requires research and analysis, strong internal logic and sharp structure. Its structure normally builds around introduction with a topic's relevance and a thesis statement, body paragraphs with arguments linking back to the main thesis, and conclusion. In addition, an argumentative essay may include a refutation section where conflicting ideas are acknowledged, described, and criticized. Each argument of argumentative essay should be supported with sufficient evidence, relevant to the point.

Economic

An economic essay can start with a thesis, or it can start with a theme. It can take a narrative course and a descriptive course. It can even become an argumentative essay if the author feels the need. After the introduction, the author has to do his/her best to expose the economic matter at hand, to analyze it, evaluate it, and draw a conclusion. If the essay takes more of a narrative form then the author has to expose each aspect of the economic puzzle in a way that makes it clear and understandable for the reader

Reflective

A reflective essay is an analytical piece of writing in which the writer describes a real or imaginary scene, event, interaction, passing thought, memory, or form — adding a personal reflection on the meaning of the topic in the author's life. Thus, the focus is not merely descriptive. The writer doesn’t just describe the situation, but revisits the scene with more detail and emotion to examine what went well, or reveal a need for additional learning — and may relate what transpired to the rest of the author's life.

Other logical structures

The logical progression and organizational structure of an essay can take many forms. Understanding how the movement of thought is managed through an essay has a profound impact on its overall cogency and ability to impress. A number of alternative logical structures for essays have been visualized as diagrams, making them easy to implement or adapt in the construction of an argument.[17]

Academic

Main article: Free response

In countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, essays have become a major part of a formal education in the form of free response questions. Secondary students in these countries are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills, and essays are often used by universities in these countries in selecting applicants (seeadmissions essay). In both secondary and tertiary education, essays are used to judge the mastery and comprehension of the material. Students are asked to explain, comment on, or assess a topic of study in the form of an essay. In some courses, university students must complete one or more essays over several weeks or months. In addition, in fields such as the humanities and social sciences,[citation needed] mid-term and end of term examinations often require students to write a short essay in two or three hours.

In these countries, so-called academic essays also called papers, are usually more formal than literary ones.[citation needed] They may still allow the presentation of the writer's own views, but this is done in a logical and factual manner, with the use of the first person often discouraged. Longer academic essays (often with a word limit of between 2,000 and 5,000 words)[citation needed] are often more discursive. They sometimes begin with a short summary analysis of what has previously been written on a topic, which is often called a literature review.[citation needed]

Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other supporting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.

One of the challenges facing universities is that in some cases, students may submit essays purchased from an essay mill (or "paper mill") as their own work. An "essay mill" is a ghostwriting service that sells pre-written essays to university and college students. Since plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty or academic fraud, universities and colleges may investigate papers they suspect are from an essay mill by using plagiarism detection software, which compares essays against a database of known mill essays and by orally testing students on the contents of their papers.[18]

Magazine or newspaper

Main article: Long-form journalism

Essays often appear in magazines, especially magazines with an intellectual bent, such as The Atlantic and Harpers. Magazine and newspaper essays use many of the essay types described in the section on forms and styles (e.g., descriptive essays, narrative essays, etc.). Some newspapers also print essays in the op-ed section.

Employment

Employment essays detailing experience in a certain occupational field are required when applying for some jobs, especially government jobs in the United States. Essays known as Knowledge Skills and Executive Core Qualifications are required when applying to certain US federal government positions.

A KSA, or "Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities," is a series of narrative statements that are required when applying to Federal government job openings in the United States. KSAs are used along with resumes to determine who the best applicants are when several candidates qualify for a job. The knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for the successful performance of a position are contained on each job vacancy announcement. KSAs are brief and focused essays about one's career and educational background that presumably qualify one to perform the duties of the position being applied for.

An Executive Core Qualification, or ECQ, is a narrative statement that is required when applying to Senior Executive Service positions within the US Federal government. Like the KSAs, ECQs are used along with resumes to determine who the best applicants are when several candidates qualify for a job. The Office of Personnel Management has established five executive core qualifications that all applicants seeking to enter the Senior Executive Service must demonstrate.

Non-literary types

Film

A film essay (or "cinematic essay") consists of the evolution of a theme or an idea rather than a plot per se, or the film literally being a cinematic accompaniment to a narrator reading an essay.[citation needed] From another perspective, an essay film could be defined as a documentary film visual basis combined with a form of commentary that contains elements of self-portrait (rather than autobiography), where the signature (rather than the life story) of the filmmaker is apparent. The cinematic essay often blends documentary, fiction, and experimental film making using tones and editing styles.[19]

The genre is not well-defined but might include propaganda works of early Soviet parliamentarians like Dziga Vertov, present-day filmmakers including Chris Marker,[20]Michael Moore (Roger & Me (1989), Bowling for Columbine (2002) and Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)), Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line (1988)), Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me: A Film of Epic Portions) and Agnès Varda. Jean-Luc Godard describes his recent work as "film-essays".[21] Two filmmakers whose work was the antecedent to the cinematic essay include Georges Méliès and Bertolt Brecht. Méliès made a short film (The Coronation of Edward VII (1902)) about the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII, which mixes actual footage with shots of a recreation of the event. Brecht was a playwright who experimented with film and incorporated film projections into some of his plays.[19]Orson Welles made an essay film in his own pioneering style, released in 1974, called F for Fake, which dealt specifically with art forger Elmyr de Hory and with the themes of deception, "fakery," and authenticity in general. These are often published online on video hosting services.[22][23]

David Winks Gray's article "The essay film in action" states that the "essay film became an identifiable form of filmmaking in the 1950s and '60s". He states that since that time, essay films have tended to be "on the margins" of the filmmaking the world. Essay films have a "peculiar searching, questioning tone ... between documentary and fiction" but without "fitting comfortably" into either genre. Gray notes that just like written essays, essay films "tend to marry the personal voice of a guiding narrator (often the director) with a wide swath of other voices".[24] The University of Wisconsin Cinematheque website echoes some of Gray's comments; it calls a film essay an "intimate and allusive" genre that "catches filmmakers in a pensive mood, ruminating on the margins between fiction and documentary" in a manner that is "refreshingly inventive, playful, and idiosyncratic".[25]

Music

In the realm of music, composer Samuel Barber wrote a set of "Essays for Orchestra," relying on the form and content of the music to guide the listener's ear, rather than any extra-musical plot or story.

Photography

A photographic essay strives to cover a topic with a linked series of photographs. Photo essays range from purely photographic works to photographs with captions or small notes to full-text essays with a few or many accompanying photographs. Photo essays can be sequential in nature, intended to be viewed in a particular order — or they may consist of non-ordered photographs viewed all at once or in an order that the viewer chooses. All photo essays are collections of photographs, but not all collections of photographs are photo essays. Photo essays often address a certain issue or attempt to capture the character of places and events.

Visual arts

In the visual arts, an essay is a preliminary drawing or sketch that forms a basis for a final painting or sculpture, made as a test of the work's composition (this meaning of the term, like several of those following, comes from the word essayJA's meaning of "attempt" or "trial").

See also

References

  1. ^Holman, William (2003). A Handbook to Literature (9 ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall. p. 193. 
  2. ^Gale – Free Resources – Glossary – DEArchived 2010-04-25 at the Wayback Machine.. Gale.cengage.com. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  3. ^Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays, "Preface".
  4. ^"Book Use Book Theory: 1500–1700: Commonplace Thinking". Lib.uchicago.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  5. ^ abessay (literature) – Britannica Online EncyclopediaArchived 2009-12-04 at the Wayback Machine.. Britannica.com. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  6. ^Chapter 7: Cause and Effect in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
  7. ^Chapter 5: Classification and Division in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
  8. ^Chapter 6: Comparison and Contrast in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
  9. ^Chapter 2: Description in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
  10. ^Section 2.1 of the Simon Fraser University CNS Essay Handbook. Available online at: sfu.ca
  11. ^"How to Write an Ethics Paper (with Pictures) - wikiHow". Archived from the original on 2016-08-28. Retrieved 2016-07-01. 
  12. ^Chapter 4: Exemplification in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
  13. ^Fadiman, Anne. At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays. p. x. 
  14. ^Fadiman, At Large and At Small, xi.
  15. ^History Essay Format & Thesis Statement, (February 2010)
  16. ^Chapter 3 Narration in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
  17. ^"'Mission Possible' by Dr. Mario Petrucci"(PDF). Archived from the original on 2014-10-26. Retrieved 2014-10-25. 
  18. ^Khomami, Nadia (20 February 2017). "Plan to crack down on websites selling essays to students announced". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 April 2017. 
  19. ^ abCinematic Essay Film GenreArchived 2007-08-08 at the Wayback Machine.. chicagomediaworks.com. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  20. ^(registration required) Lim, Dennis (July 31, 2012). "Chris Marker, 91, Pioneer of the Essay Film"Archived 2012-08-03 at the Wayback Machine.. The New York Times. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  21. ^Discussion of film essaysArchived 2007-08-08 at the Wayback Machine.. Chicago Media Works.
  22. ^Kaye, Jeremy (2016-01-17). "5 filmmakers that have mastered the art of the Video Essay". Medium. Archived from the original on 2017-08-30. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  23. ^Liptak, Andrew (2016-08-01). "This filmmaker deep-dives into what makes your favorite cartoons tick". The Verge. Archived from the original on 2017-08-30. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  24. ^Gray, David Winks (January 30, 2009). "The essay film in action". San Francisco Film Society. Archived from the original on March 15, 2009. 
  25. ^"Talking Pictures: The Art of the Essay Film". Cinema.wisc.edu. Retrieved March 22, 2011.

Further reading

  • Theodor W. Adorno, "The Essay as Form" in: Theodor W. Adorno, The Adorno Reader, Blackwell Publishers 2000.
  • Beaujour, Michel. Miroirs d'encre: Rhétorique de l'autoportrait'. Paris: Seuil, 1980. [Poetics of the Literary Self-Portrait. Trans. Yara Milos. New York: NYU Press, 1991].
  • Bensmaïa, Reda. The Barthes Effect: The Essay as Reflective Text. Trans. Pat Fedkiew. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1987.
  • D'Agata, John (Editor), The Lost Origins of the Essay. St Paul: Graywolf Press, 2009.
  • Giamatti, Louis. "The Cinematic Essay", in Godard and the Others: Essays in Cinematic Form. London, Tantivy Press, 1975.
  • Lopate, Phillip. "In Search of the Centaur: The Essay-Film", in Beyond Document: Essays on Nonfiction Film. Edited by Charles Warren, Wesleyan University Press, 1998. pp. 243–270.
  • Warburton, Nigel. The basics of essay writing. Routledge, 2006. ISBN 0-415-24000-X, ISBN 978-0-415-24000-0

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Essays.
University students, like these students doing research at a university library, are often assigned essays as a way to get them to analyze what they have read.
An 1895 cover of Harpers, a US magazine that prints a number of essays per issue.
"After School Play Interrupted by the Catch and Release of a Stingray" is a simple time-sequence photo essay.

Essays

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Urban Wild

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A Jane Austen Kind of Guy

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I get it that women find my affinity for their writer intrusive, but her world has much to offer men, too

Our Nuclear Future

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We may think the bomb is back, but it never really went away

Dishonorable Behavior

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The scourge of military sexual assault and the warrior’s masculine code

Reading Thoreau at 200

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Why is the seminal work of the great American transcendentalist held in such scorn today?

My Mongolian Spot

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An ephemeral birthmark is a rare gift, connecting me to generations spanning the centuries

Things Sweet to Taste

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Much to my regret, I never truly knew the woman who helped raise me

Goodbye to Westbrook Acres

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As a writer walks and muses, the world’s sorrows intrude upon the peaceful streets he will be leaving

A Brief History of Secession

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Why Calexit might not be as crazy as you think

On Political Correctness

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Power, class, and the new campus religion

Interstates

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How My Italian-American husband ate his way into the good graces of my African-American family

The Cloistered Books of Peru

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A convent in the Andes is home to a treasure trove of rare, and possibly unique, early volumes

Keeping Faith

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After a loss from which there is no recovery, I turned to books—not for solace or forgetting, but simply to survive

The Ultimate Pawn Sacrifice

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My brother’s life mirrored that of Bobby Fischer, the deeply troubled chess master

“We Must Not Be Enemies”

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Milton Friedman’s Misadventures in China

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The Life Unlived

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On W. G. Sebald and the uncertainties of time

Good Neighbors

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When beavers came between us and a farmer down the road, we knew something more was at stake

Homebodies

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A life spent mainly in the company of cats has meant relishing the comforts of domesticity and solitude

Tales From Motor City

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Left for dead yet pulsing with life again, Detroit survives as a place of inconsistency and contradiction

The Last Bursts of Memory

James VanOosting

As my father’s dementia progressed, the stories of his life became less accurate but more vivid

The Virtue of an Educated Voter

Alan Taylor

The Founders believed that a well-informed electorate preserves our fragile democracy and benefits American society as a whole

Chicago Hope

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Can the collaboration between a progressive boarding school and a big-city charter academy transform American Public High School Education?

Writing the Unimaginable

Amitav Ghosh

When future generations look back at the fiction of our time, what will they make of the failure to address the crisis of climate change?

Put a Bird on It

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How did a beguiling South American hummingbird end up in the basement of a Pennsylvania museum?

Turbulence

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Death can come at any time, from above or below, but life requires putting fear aside

Thine as Ever, P. T. Barnum

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A scholar offers three utterly fictitious letters he wishes the famous showman had written

Little Bowls of Colors

Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough

Writing in a foreign language can reveal secrets long buried in our mother tongue

The Taming of the Wild

David Gessner

As we celebrate the centenary of the National Park Service, a meditation on “the best idea that America ever had”

The FBI, My Husband, and Me

Shirley Streshinsky

What I know now about Ted, whose photographs documented the 1960s, and about J. Edgar Hoover’s attempts to label him a Soviet spy

The Truth About Dallas

Howard P. Willens and Richard M. Mosk

Looking back at the investigation of the Kennedy assassination and the controversies that dogged it from the start

The Other Woman

Sheila Kohler

A mother’s devastating secret, and its many reverberations, present and past

Flight Behavior

Amy Butcher

A restless traveler finds solace in the quiet beauty of the annual sandhill crane migration

Waiting for Fire

James Conaway

As smoke thickens and ash falls, an esteemed Napa vintner prepares to save his home and livelihood

Common Sense

Robert Wilson

It’s time for police officers to start demanding gun laws that could end up saving their own lives

Saving the Self in the Age of the Selfie

James McWilliams

We must learn to humanize digital life as actively as we’ve digitized human life—here’s how

A New Heaven and a New Earth

Adam Hochschild

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I Will Love You in the Summertime

Christian Wiman

Between the rupture of life and the rapture of language lies a world of awe and witness

The Remains of My Days

Doris Grumbach

Fond and fading memories of a robust literary life

Meditation on a Rat

Lucy Ferriss

Who would have thought that this unlikely creature could help make a family whole again?

Kindly Nervous

Lee Smith

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Medication Nation

Philip Alcabes

Our increasing reliance on drugs—prescribed, over-the-counter, illegal, and ordered online like pizza—suggests we have a deeper problem

How Chemistry Became Biology

Priscilla Long

And how LUCA, Earth’s first living cell, became Lucas, my adorable grandnephew

Awakenings

Susan Jacoby

The advent of new religions in the 1800s led to fierce debates that persist today

My Newfoundland

Paul West

The sensations of landing on the island long ago haunted a writer’s final memories

A Life in Letters

Merrill Joan Gerber

A decades-long correspondence with the Italian writer Arturo Vivante covered it all: hardship, love, and the endurance of art

Where the Heart Is

Leslie Berlin

A grandmother’s life in five moves, from Hitler’s Europe to the American Midwest

The Well Curve

Harriet A. Washington

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The Sweet Briar Opportunity

Carol T. Christ

Small colleges with too few applicants and large universities with too many should work together

Hope Is the Enemy

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Caring for a patient suffering from dementia means coming to terms with the frustrating paradoxes of memory and language

The Mysteries of Attraction

Edward Hoagland

Its many splendors do not only include the carnal: animate, inanimate … love it all

Capital of Willows

Eben Wood

On a trip to North Korea, a writer remembers his troubled father, a victim of the “Forgotten War”

Test of Faith

Mark Edmundson

The Roman Catholic Church may forgive us our sins—but can it be forgiven for its own?

The Examined Lie

James McWilliams

A meditation on memory

Talk of the Town

Robert A. Gross

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Matters of Taste

Paul Lukacs

A work of literature and a bottle of wine require similar skills of their respective critics

The Wandering Years

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The travel journals of a literary icon making his way in the world

My Mother’s Yiddish

Phyllis Rose

The music of my childhood was a language filled with endearments and rebukes, and frequent misunderstandings

Net Gains

Robert Roper

Nabokov's profitable summer chasing butterflies and settling scores in the Utah mountains

Saigon Summer

Sarah Mansfield Taber

A spy’s daughter remembers the haunting unreality of embassy life in South Vietnam before the fall

How to Write a Memoir

William Zinsser

Be yourself, speak freely, and think small

The Embattled First Amendment

Lincoln Caplan

The Supreme Court is interpreting free speech in new ways that threaten our democracy

A Terrible Loss

Jonathan W. White

Lincoln’s assassination 150 years ago turned plans for postwar reconciliation to a frenzy of violence

Kill the Creature

Christian Wiman

In search of snakes—and the balm of charity and love in a world of infinitely lonely space

Confessing and Confiding

Emily Fox Gordon

Knowing the difference between the two can elevate an essay from therapy to art

Failure to Heal

Philip Alcabes

Today’s medical industry thrives on diagnosing and curing, but it doesn’t reach the soul

Meeting the Mystics

Sissela Bok

My California encounters with Gerald Heard and Aldous Huxley

School Reform Fails the Test

Mike Rose

How can our schools get better when we’ve made our teachers the problem and not the solution?

Habits of Mind

Anthony Grafton and James Grossman

Why college students who do serious historical research become independent, analytical thinkers

What I Have Taught—and Learned

William M. Chace

After 50 years as a professor, I understand that my job is to make students think hard about thinking

Remains

Donald Hall

As the forest reclaims large stretches of New Hampshire, animals come and go, as do memories of a beloved 19th-century farmhouse

For Better and for Worse

Clellan Coe

The aftermath of a disorienting divorce

Traveling Corpse

Andrea Barrett

How an American sergeant’s journey through frigid North Russia inspired a work of historical fiction

Instant Gratification

Paul Roberts

As the economy gets ever better at satisfying our immediate, self-serving needs, who is minding the future?

Why Science Is Not Enough

John Lukacs

Only through our imagination can we know the world

Going Haywire

Richard Restak

Delusions can occur in perfectly “normal” people

Frankfurt, Farewell

Werner Gundersheimer

A family escaped the Nazis in 1939, finding refuge in America, but its hardships were far from over

Silences

Sheila Kohler

A South African family of privilege kept its secrets

A Tale of War and Forgetting

Neil Shea

Rescuing the memory of a cataclysm

The Fear Factor

Lincoln Caplan

Long-held predictions of economic chaos as baby boomers grow old are based on formulas that are just plain wrong

4 Popes, 4 Saints, One New Guy

Ingrid D. Rowland

Perhaps you’ve heard the news from Rome. But what does it really have to do with the man from Assisi?

Keep Smiling

Jan Morris

An agnostic sermon

On Visitors

Ann Beattie

When the Bachelor Girl and the Red Death come calling, are they mirrors for our eccentricities?

Proust Goes to the Country Club

Willard Spiegelman

At a largely forgettable class reunion, remembrances of things past

A Prophet Without Honor

Alex Beam

There’s no authoritative biography yet for Joseph Smith, the notorious founding figure in Mormonism

Loving Animals to Death

James McWilliams

How can we raise them humanely and then butcher them?

What Killed My Sister?

Priscilla Long

The answer—schizophrenia—only leads to more perplexing questions

On Loneliness

Edward Hoagland

We value our solitude until it pinches

The Making of PoBiz Farm

Maxine Kumin

After it became our permanent home, we overfilled it with overloved horses and dogs

The Presence of Absence

Bethany Vaccaro

Our losses give vitality to our lives

A Whole Day Nearer Now

Doris Grumbach

But all life’s passion not quite spent

Where Are the People?

Jim Hinch

Evangelical Christianity in America is losing its power—what happened to Orange County’s Crystal Cathedral shows why

My Kingdom for a Wave

Amitai Etzioni

If your life as a public intellectual takes you to the highest crests, be prepared for the troughs that follow

My Friend Melanie Has Breast Cancer

Anna Blackmon Moore

How it might have happened, and why we are looking in the wrong places to prevent similar cases

Homeless in the City

Theodore Walther

A writer describes the decade he has spent living on the streets

Our Farm, My Inspiration

Maxine Kumin

How a weekend getaway became a poet’s muse

Tutors

Paul West

My many mentors at Oxford, from Lincoln College to All Souls, linger like spirits in the mind

At Sixty-Five

Emily Fox Gordon

After the excesses of youth and terrors of middle age, a writer faces the contingencies of being old

One Road

Donald Hall

Driving through postwar Yugoslavia was nearly impossible, but a young poet and his new wife struggled through the desolate landscape to Athens

Kodachrome Eden

James Santel

With purple prose and oversaturated images, National Geographic reimagined postwar America as a dreamspace of hope and fascination

On Friendship

Edward Hoagland

The intimacies shared with our closest companions keep us anchored, vital, and alive

Mortify Our Wolves

Christian Wiman

The struggle back to life and faith in the face of pain and the certainty of death

Joyas Voladoras

Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle, who died on May 27, considers the capacity of the heart—including his own. Rest in peace.

Rites of Passage

Steve Macone

When a quirky old man who lived on the Cape died, I thought I didn’t care

The Complete Zinsser on Friday

William Zinsser

Congratulations to William Zinsser, winner of the 2012 National Magazine Award in the category of Digital Commentary

Affirmative Inaction

William M. Chace

Opposition to affirmative action has drastically reduced minority enrollment at public universities; private institutions have the power and the responsibility to reverse the trend

A Jew in the Northwest

William Deresiewicz

Exile, ethnicity, and the search for the perfect futon

Dubya and Me

Walt Harrington

Over the course of a quarter-century, a journalist witnessed the transformation of George W. Bush

LBJ’s Wild Ride

Ernest B. Furgurson

Hanging on for dear life during the 1960 campaign

The Psychologist

Brian Boyd

Vladimir Nabokov's understanding of human nature anticipated the advances in psychology since his day

Scar Tissue

Emily Bernard

When I was stabbed 17 years ago in a New Haven coffee shop, the wounds did not only come from the knife

A Mother’s Secret

Werner Gundersheimer

The images in a treasured photo album preserve an idealized past, while leaving out the painful story of a family torn apart by the Holocaust

Making Sparks Fly

Mike Rose

How occupational education can lead to a love of learning for its own sake

In the Orbit of Copernicus

Owen Gingerich

A discovery of the great astronomer's bones, and their reburial in Poland

Plunging to Earth

Robert Zaretsky

Once the sport of daredevils, skydiving now offers it existential thrills to grandmothers, pudgy geeks, and even the occasional college professor

The Forgotten Churchill

George Watson

The man who stared down Hitler also helped create the modern welfare state

Plucked from the Grave

Debra Gwartney

The first female missionary to cross the Continental Divide came to a gruesome end partly caused by her own zeal. What can we learn from her?

Civil Warfare in the Streets

Adam Goodheart

After Fort Sumter, German immigrants in St. Louis flocked to the Union cause and in bloody confrontations overthrew the local secessionists

How Longfellow Woke the Dead

Jill Lepore

When first published 150 years ago, his famous poem about Paul Revere was read as a bold statement of his opposition to slavery

Interview with a Neandertal

Priscilla Long

What I always wanted to ask our distant cousins about love and death and sorrow and dinner

‘I Tried to Stop the Bloody Thing’

Adam Hochschild

In World War I, nearly as many British men refused the draft—20,000—as were killed on the Somme's first day. Why were those who fought for peace forgotten?

The View from 90

Doris Grumbach

Even when those in my generation have reached a state of serenity, wisdom, and relative comfort, what we face can hardly be called the golden years

Baseball’s Loss of Innocence

Diana Goetsch

When the 1919 Black Sox scandal shattered Ring Lardner’s reverence for the game, the great sportswriter took a permanent walk

Unauthorized, But Not Untrue

Kitty Kelley

The real story of a biographer in a celebrity culture of public denials, media timidity, and legal threats

Empathy and Other Mysteries

Richard Restak

Neuroscientists are discovering things about the brain that answer questions philosophers have been asking for centuries

To Accept What Cannot Be Helped

Ann Hulbert

At 80, a woman with a fatal disease knows she doesn't want to die in the hospital and discovers, with her family, what that really means

The Seduction

Paula Marantz Cohen

After years of favoring the endurance-test approach to teaching literature, a professor focuses on how to make books spark to life for her students

The Passionate Encounter

Alfred Kazin

A noted midcentury critic has much to say in his journal about his fellow writers and the literary world they shared

Reassessing Rossellini

Joseph Luzzi

Restoration of Rome Open city, the director’s masterpiece, prompts a look at why he later retreated from the neorealism it introduced

Prozac for the Planet

Christopher Cokinos

Can geoengineering make the climate happy?

Every Last One

Brad Edmondson

A guy with a weakness for demography goes door to door for the census and discovers what a democracy is made of

Wonderlust

Tony Hiss

"Deep Travel" opens our minds to the rich possibilities of ordinary experience

Blowdown

Tamara Dean

When a tornado tears through a beloved landscape, is it possible to just let nature heal itself?

We’ll Always Have McSorley’s

Robert Day

How Joseph Mitchell's wonderful saloon became a sacred site for a certain literary pilgrim

What the Earth Knows

Robert B. Laughlin

Understanding the concept of geologic time and some basic science can give a new perspective on climate change and the energy future

All Style, No Substance

Amitai Etzioni

What’s wrong with the State Department’s public diplomacy effort

Too Bad Not to Fail

William J. Quirk

Just what are derivatives, and how much more damage can they do?

Voices of a Nation

Brenda Wineapple

In the 19th century, American writers struggled to discover who they were and who we are

Hive of Nerves

Christian Wiman

To be alive spiritually is to feel the ultimate anxiety of existence within the trivial anxieties of everyday life

The Bearable Lightness of Being

Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough

If you live long enough and contentedly enough in exile, your feelings of estrangement can evolve into a sense of living two lives at once

Solitude and Leadership

William Deresiewicz

If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts

Reading in a Digital Age

Sven Birkerts

Notes on why the novel and the Internet are opposites, and why the latter both undermines the former and makes it more necessary

Nabokov Lives On

Brian Boyd

Why his unfinished novel, Laura, deserved to be published; what’s left in the voluminous archive of his unpublished work

They Get to Me

Jessica Love

A young psycholinguist confesses her strong attraction to pronouns

When the Light Goes On

Mike Rose

How a great teacher can bring a receptive mind to life

To Die of Having Lived

Richard Rapport

A neurological surgeon reflects on what patients and their families should and should not do when the end draws near

My Brain on My Mind

Priscilla Long

The ABCs of the thrumming, plastic mystery that allows us to think, feel, and remember

The Stolen Election

Gelareh Asayesh

An expatriate Iranian writer travels her troubled homeland in the weeks after a disputed presidential vote

Seventy Years Later

John Lukacs

The Second World War destroyed Adolf Hitler, but his legacy is showing disturbing signs of life

Strange Matter

John Olson

The physics and poetics of the search for the God particle

Wrestling with Two Behemoths

Ved Mehta

A longtime New Yorker, and New Yorker writer, gets the cold shoulder from powerful New York cultural institutions

Writing About Writers

Bob Thompson

Covering the book beat

The Doctor Is IN

Daniel B. Smith

At 88, Aaron Beck is now revered for an approach to psychotherapy that pushed Freudian analysis aside

A Mindful Beauty

Joel E. Cohen

What poetry and applied mathematics have in common

Armchair Travelers

Toby Lester

The Renaissance writers and humanists Petrarch and Boccaccio turned to geography to understand the works of antiquity

Mother Country

Evelyn Toynton

A daughter examines a life played out in romantic defiance of bad fortune

Not Ready for Mt. Rushmore

Matthew Dallek

Reconciling the myth of Ronald Reagan with the reality

Shock Waves

Bethany Vaccaro

A blast in Baghdad tests the endurance of a soldier and his family

The Devil You Know

John B. Renehan

Keeping the peace in Ramadi calls for a little moral dexterity

Blue-Collar Brilliance

Mike Rose

Questioning assumptions about intelligence, work, and social class

Enough Already

Mark Edmundson

What I'd really like to tell the bores in my life

Words Apart

Witold Rybczynski

A writer in Quebec finds that language creates an unbridgeable divide

Any Way You Slice It

Rob Gurwitt

Sundays at the community oven aren't just about the pizza

Saratoga Bill

Zachary Sklar

He bet cautiously at the track, but elsewhere he was drawn to those with the odds stacked against them

The Terminator Comes to Wall Street

Joseph Fuller

How computer modeling worsened the financial crisis and what we ought to do about it

Purpose-Driven Life

Brian Boyd

Evolution does not rob life of meaning, but creates meaning. It also makes possible our own capacity for creativity.

Second Chances, Social Forgiveness, and the Internet

Amitai Etzioni

We need the means, both technological and legal, to replace measures once woven into the fabric of communities

The Potency of Breathless

Paula Marantz Cohen

At 50, Godard’s film still asks how something this bad can be so good

The Man Who Shot the Man Who Shot Lincoln

Ernest B. Furgurson

The hatter Boston Corbett was celebrated as a hero for killing John Wilkes Booth. Fame and fortune did not follow, but madness did.

Visions and Revisions

William Zinsser

Writing On Writing Well and keeping it up-to-date for 35 years

Dawn of a Literary Friendship

John McIntyre

In 1969 the writer Robert Phelps first wrote to the novelist James Salter. Here are the letters that forged a bond of two decades.

The Dowser Dilemma

Kate Daloz

How a town in Vermont found water it desperately needed and an explanation that was harder to swallow

Putting Man Before Descartes

John Lukacs

Human knowledge is personal and participant—placing us at the center of the universe

The Future of the American Frontier

John Tirman

Can one of our most enduring national myths, much in evidence in the recent presidential campaign, be reinvented yet again?

Affirmative Action and After

W. Ralph Eubanks

Now is the time to reconsider a policy that must eventually change. But simply replacing race with class isn’t the solution.

Spies Among Us

Clay Risen

Military snooping on civilians, which escalated in the turbulent '60s, never entirely went away and is back again on a much larger scale

A Country for Old Men

Edward Hoagland

Having reached the shores of seniority himself, the author finds a surprising contentment in the eyes of his fellow retirees

Collateral Damage

Robert Roper

The Civil War only enhanced George Whitman's soldierly satisfaction; for his brother Walt, however, the horrors halted an outpouring of great poetry

My Bright Abyss

Christian Wiman

I never felt the pain of unbelief until I believed. But belief itself is hardly painless.

The High Road to Narnia

George Watson

C. S. Lewis and his friend J. R. R. Tolkien believed that truths are universal and that stories reveal them

The Censor in the Mirror

Ha Jin

It’s not only what the Chinese Propaganda Department does to artists, but what it makes artists do to their own work

The Torture Colony

Bruce Falconer

In a remote part of Chile, an evil German evangelist built a utopia whose members helped the Pinochet regime perform its foulest deeds

Where Does American History Begin?

Ted Widmer

Mixing geography with invention, the first explorers and mapmakers made the New World a very hard place to pin down

Something Called Terrorism

Leonard Bernstein

In a speech given at Harvard 22 years ago and never before published, Leonard Bernstein offered a warning that remains timely

The New Old Way of Learning Languages

Ernest Blum

Now all but vanished, a once-popular system of reading Greek and Latin classics could revitalize modern teaching methods

The Disadvantages of an Elite Education

William Deresiewicz

Our best universities have forgotten that the reason they exist is to make minds, not careers

The End of the Black American Narrative

Charles Johnson

A new century calls for new stories grounded in the present, leaving behind the painful history of slavery and its consequences

Intimacy

André Aciman

Revisiting the gritty Roman neighborhood of his youth, a writer discovers a world of his own invention

Pullovers

Kyoko Mori

Knitting a new life in America after a mother’s suicide, long ago in Japan

The Bout

Blair Fuller

When George Plimpton, the boyish editor of The Paris Review, went three rounds with the light-heavyweight champion of the world

Buoyancy

Willard Spiegelman

In literature, as in life, the art of swimming isn’t hard to master

The Broken Balance

Edward Hoagland

The poet Robinson Jeffers warned us nearly a century ago of the ravages to nature we now face

Passing the Torch

Stephen J. Pyne

Why the eons-old truce between humans and fire has burst into an age of megafires, and what can be done about it

The Liberal Imagination of Frederick Douglass

Nick Bromell

Honoring the emotions that give life to liberal principles

What Kind of Father Am I?

James McConkey

Looking back at a lifetime of parenting sons and being parented by them

Rome’s Gossip Columnist

Garry Wills

When the first-century poet Martial turned his stylus on you, you got the point

Shipwrecked

Janna Malamud Smith

Like Robinson Crusoe after the storm, a daughter salvages what she can after her mother’s death

A Slow Devouring

Steve Macone

Banter, beer, and bar food smooth a disciplined but difficult passage through Finnegans Wake

Who Cares About Executive Supremacy?

Lincoln Caplan

The scope of presidential power is the most urgent and the most ignored legal and political issue of our time

Moral Principle vs. Military Necessity

David Bosco

The first code of conduct during warfare, created by a Civil War–era Prussian immigrant, reflected ambiguities we struggle with to this day

Dreaming of a Democratic Russia

Sarah E. Mendelson

Memories of a year in Moscow promoting a post-Soviet political process, an undertaking that now seems futile

The Daily Miracle

William Zinsser

Life with the mavericks and oddballs at the Herald Tribune

Cuss Time

Jill McCorkle

By limiting freedom of expression, we take away thoughts and ideas before they have the opportunity to hatch

Alone at the Movies

Mark Edmundson

My days in the dark with Robert Altman and Woody Allen

Balanchine’s Cabinet

Ann Hagman Cardinal

A young woman wins a drawing and learns to give and to receive

Confluences

Jennifer Sinor

As a beloved uncle makes his final journey in the wilderness, a new life begins

The Cradle of Modernism

Jacques Barzun

From the Autumn 1990 issue of The Scholar

Findings: Meditations on the Literature of Spying

Jacques Barzun

From the Spring 1965 issue of The Scholar

To the Rescue of Romanticism

Jacques Barzun

From the Spring 1940 issue of The Scholar

Wonder Bread

Melvin Jules Bukiet

Come with us to a place called Brooklyn, where the stories are half-baked and their endings bland and soft

Unto Caesar

Ethan Fishman

Religious groups that have allied themselves with politicians, and vice versa, have ignored at their peril the lessons of Roger Williams and U.S. history

The Trojan War

William Nichols

Now even some environmentalists are supporting the use of nuclear power to generate electricity. One man’s story suggests the industry can’t be trusted

Poetry Stand

Diana Goetsch

How a precocious group of high school poets learned to provide verse on demand

Lady of the Lake

Alice Kaplan

Writer Brenda Ueland and the story she never shared

Apologies All Around

Gorman Beauchamp

Today's tendency to make amends for the crimes of history raises the question: where do we stop?

Findings: Amateurism

William Haley

From the Spring 1976 issue of The Scholar

The Mystery of Ales

Kai Bird and Svetlana Chervonnaya

The argument that Alger Hiss was a WWII-era Soviet asset is flawed. New evidence points to someone else

The Mystery of Ales (Expanded Version)

Kai Bird and Svetlana Chervonnaya

The argument that Alger Hiss was a WWII-era Soviet asset is flawed. New evidence points to someone else

Love on Campus

William Deresiewicz

Why we should understand, and even encourage, a certain sort of erotic intensity between student and professor

Remember Statecraft?

Dennis Ross

What diplomacy can do and why we need it more than ever

Gazing Into the Abyss

Christian Wiman

The sudden appearance of love and the galvanizing prospect of death lead a young poet back to poetry and a “hope toward God”

‘Mem, Mem, Mem’

Paul West

After a stroke, a prolific novelist struggles to say how the mental world of aphasia looks and feels

Between Two Worlds

Christopher Clausen

The familar story of Pocahontas was mirrored by that of a young Englishman given as a hostage to her father

The Invasion of Privacy

Richard H. Rovere

From the Autumn 1958 issue of The Scholar

A New Theory of the Universe

Robert Lanza

Biocentrism builds on quantum physics by putting life into the equation

When 2+2=5

Robert Orsi

Can we begin to think about unexplained religious experiences in ways that acknowledge their existence?

In Pursuit of Innocence

Paul Sears

From the Spring 1953 issue of The Scholar

The Judge's Jokes

John Barth

Shards of memory, for better or for worse, from my father the after-banquet speaker

The Apologist

Michael McDonald

The celebrated Austrian writer Peter Handke appeared at the funeral of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Should we forgive him?

The Cook's Son

Frank Huyler

The death of a young man, long ago in Africa, continues to raise questions with no answers

One Day in the Life of Melvin Jules Bukiet

Melvin Jules Bukiet

A Manhattan writer runs afoul of the local penal system and lives to tell the tale

Findings: Privacy Revealed

Richard E. Nicholls

From the Archives

The Dispossessed

William Deresiewicz

First we stopped noticing members of the working class, and now we're convinced they don’t exist

THE SCHOLAR AT 75: An Educated Guess

Ted Widmer

Who knew that mixing the intelligent and the idiosyncratic would yield a long life for a certain small quarterly?

Not Compassionate, Not Conservative

Ethan Fishman

A political traditionalist critiques our pseudo-conservative president

Scooter and Me

Nick Bromell

Professing liberal doubt in an age of fundamentalist fervor

Fear of Falling

James McConkey

Working in the mop-and-bucket brigade in college created the perspectives of a lifetime

Glorious Dust

Robert Roper

The posthumous masterwork of an influential black historian tells how slavery itself undermined the Confederacy

Fired

Emily Bernard

Can a friendship really end for no good reason?

Getting It All Wrong

Brian Boyd

The proponents of Theory and Cultural Critique could learn a thing or two from bioculture

Lincoln the Persuader

Douglas L. Wilson

Seeking to get people behind his policies, he made himself the best writer for all our presidents

My Mother’s Body

Mary Gordon

Just remembering her is not enough; resurrecting her is the ultimate goal

Tomorrow Is Another Day

Carol Huang

An Ethiopian student survives a brutal imprisonment by translating Gone with the Wind into his native tongue

Bearing Gifts

Anne Matthews

The Ordinariness of AIDS

Philip Alcabes

Can a disease that tells us so much about ourselves ever be anything but extraordinary?

The Sack of Baghdad

Susannah Rutherglen

The U.S. invasion of Iraq has turned cultural icons into loot and archaeological sites into ruins

Miles from Nowhere

Edward Hoagland

On a return trip to the wilderness of British Columbia, the author revisits a rough and exquisite landscape

Rum and Coca-Cola

Wayne Curtis

The murky derivations of a sweet drink and a sassy World War II song

The Embarrassment of Riches

Pamela Haag

Do not pity me for having more money than anyone I know. Still, wealth does have its mild difficulties

The Case for Love

Natalie Wexler

Did the friendship of an early Supreme Court justice and the wife of a colleague ever cross the line of propriety?

Leaving Race Behind

Amitai Etzioni

Our growing Hispanic population creates a golden opportunity

On the Outside Looking In

Nancy Honicker

Paris and its banlieues in November 2005

Onward, Christian Liberals

Marilynne Robinson

Christianity's long tradition of social injustice

What Jesus Did

Garry Wills

Forget about Christ as secular sage, historical figure, or even as Christian

Two Strangers, Three Stories

James McConkey

All the lonely people and where they come from

Shouldn’t There Be a Word ... ?

Barbara Wallraff

The holes in our language and the never-ending search for words to fill them

The Idea of Bombay

Gyan Prakash

Bollywood epitomized modernity for a boy in a distant province. As an adult, he sees a troubled city.

Henry James vs. the Robber Barons

Gorman Beauchamp

Why Italian art should stay in England, where it belongs, and not fall into the hands of foreigners

The New Anti-Semitism

Bernard Lewis

First religion, then race, then what?

My Holocaust Problem

Arthur Krystal

If we cannot speak of it—though speak of it we must—how do we remember what happened to the Jews of Europe?

Palladio in the Rough

Witold Rybczynski

A South Carolinian builds classical revival houses that really look old

Fadeaway Jumper

Mark Edmundson

A Sunday-afternoon player of a certain age says his farewell to basketball

Flat Time

Robert Finch

The ebb and flow of life in a Newfoundland fishing village

Buster Brown's America

Jiri Wyatt

How a Jew from Slovakia became a Catholic from Manhattan, then fell from grace and turned into a real American

A Visit to Esperantoland

Arika Okrent

The natives want you to learn their invented language as a step toward world harmony. Who are these people?

Teaching the N-Word

Emily Bernard

A black professor, an all-white class, and the thing nobody will say

The Rise and Fall of David Duke

Lawrence N. Powell

Breaking the code of right-wing populism in Louisana

Chekhov's Journey

James McConkey

Finding the ideal of freedom in a rugged prison colony

Custom and Law

Melvin Jules Bukiet

After the death of his father, a not-notably observant Jew turns to the mourning rituals of his faith

Accidental Elegance

Mary Beth Saffo

How chance authors the universe

Genome Tome

Priscilla Long

Twenty-three ways of looking at our ancestors

Roosevelt Redux: Part Two

Thomas N. Bethell

Robert M. Ball and the battle for Social Security

Summer Visitors

Ann Beattie

Buy a house in Maine and they will come. And come.

Roosevelt Redux

Thomas N. Bethell

Robert M. Ball and the battle for Social Security

End Game

Amitai Etzioni

The elderly are entitled to what they have earned

All About Eve

Cynthia Russett

What men have thought about women thinking

A Long Cold View of History

Donald Worster

How ice, worms, and dirt made us what we are today

The Big Roundup

Ted Gioia

John Lomax roamed the West, collecting classic songs from the cowboy era

The Glue Is Gone

Edward Hoagland

The things that held us together as individuals and as a people are being lost. Can we find them again?

So Help Me God

Ted Widmer

What all fifty-four inaugural addresses, taken as one long book, tell us about American history

What We Got Wrong

Lawrence Rosen

How Arabs look at the self, their society, and their political institutions

The Coming of the French

Phyllis Rose

My life as an English professor

The Software Wars

Paul De Palma

Why you can't understand your computer

The Crooner and the Physicist

Jeremy Bernstein

Jacques Brel and The New Yorker profile that never reached critical mass

A Sturdy Man

Brian Doyle

Notes on a human symphony

Sweet Mayhem

Spencer Nadler

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