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Winter 2020

Issue 21

The annotated table of contents below offers a sneak peek at what's in Issue 21.


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Correspondence

Simple Hearts

By

Much of what Dave taught me had to do with the sympathy and intelligence he applied to varieties of experience that that were alien to me, and that I might otherwise have dismissed as too low to take seriously.


 

Essays

Let Them Misunderstand

By

There were moments of inanity in everyday American life when I wanted to pull a Ninagawa and make things giant and absurd—drop a life-size horse on someone’s head—so that I didn’t feel obliged to be a cordial translator for “my” culture.


Real Characters

By

I now find myself fascinated by the emergence of a new kind of writing that emphasizes character, in what traditional critics would surely consider to be utterly old-fashioned, realist ways.


 

Letter

On the Hatred of Literature

By

The hatred of literature, though it remains almost unheard of among the general reading public, has become the default mode in the upper reaches of our literary culture.


 

Literature

Artur and Isabella

By

My name is Isabella, says Isabella, and then she smiles so that he, Artur, can see her full set of teeth.


Safety Meeting

By

I’m writing this right now two hundred feet up in the air on top of a part of the oil refinery that makes polypropylene plastic.


 

Reviews

Rape Fantasies

By

It’s possible, then, to see rape crisis centers as useful idiots, their volunteers as cheap alibis for the carceral state. But that too-pat radicalism doesn’t account for what can happen when the phone does ring.


Normal Novels

By

The Irish novelist Sally Rooney is a normal person. Or so she is always insisting, often with a trace of defensive desperation.


Man in the Crowd

By

Sen plunged headlong into the chaos. He would travel with his cameraman to rallies, or to scenes of potential unrest. The intention, one suspects, was not just to record the events on reel: Sen was returning to the crowd.


Friends Like These

By

While Gopnik’s liberal commitment to openness may enjoin him to give the criticisms of liberalism a fair hearing, what never seems to occur to him is what Trilling felt viscerally: that the criticisms of liberalism could be true.