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Allen Wilcox

Never Stop Writing

“Transparent things, through which the past shines!” Nabokov writes in his short novel regarding the wellsprings and pitfalls of memory.

A Big Watch

Nadine Gordimer’s propulsive, powerful new nonfiction collection, Telling Times: Writing and Living, 1954 – 2008, represents a half-century of fervent dedication to moral truth and literary value, expressed with an eyewitness’s bracing candor and a poet’s sense of rhythm.

Deception Points

Lying, spinning, and concealment: three forms of international political deception. From Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman to Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, American political leaders have lied to their citizens and to their executive counterparts with a variety of strategic motivations and with varying degrees of moral justification.

Letters to Posterity

“I go by books, not by authors,” Nabokov averred. But there’s something important to be said for Milan Kundera. If he had asked for permission, it may never have been granted.

Thirst For Debt

In literature, as in life, the importance of being responsible with one’s money is as central a moral issue as being responsible with one’s words. Oftentimes, a breech in one will upset a balance in the other.

Moral Memory

We are living in the end times, according to journalist and moral thinker Chris Hedges. We are living in the end times, if the end times mean the subsumption of moral life into corporate life.

City of God

Entering its fifth millennium of continuous settlement, Jerusalem—the Holy Land, al-Quds, city of God, birthplace of Solomon, resting place of Jesus, home of the Temple, keystone of the Middle East, and capital of modern Israel—continues to endure the virulent downsides of Abrahamic righteousness.

Life Is Elsewhere

“Mother of Romans, joy of gods and men, / Venus, life-giver who under planet and star / visits the ship-clad sea,” resurrect for us the German Empire, in the year 1417.

Out of Africa

Two forms of life have come to develop eusociality, or, highly-sophisticated, complex societies: humankind and insects (ants, bees, wasps, and termites). The predominate attribute we ascribe to the surviving eusocial species must be luck: It was a long road that brought us here, with almost every conceivable obstacle to success standing in our path.

Future of the Living Dead

“History teaches us that we rarely learn from history,” writes John Quiggin, Professor of Economics at the University of Queensland. This is an especially troubling cognitive tic for economists, who are often championed as soothsayers in our era.

In the Manor of Lord Bryson

England, 1851: Queen Victoria is in power, Karl Marx is in London, and Charles Dickens is in print. It is the year of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park and the Immortal Game of Chess at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand.

Voilà, Paris!

These special Americans, enumerated and discussed in David McCullough’s new narrative history, The Greater Journey, were traveling to Paris in the 19th century; to the Paris that had yet no Tour Eiffel; to a post-Bonaparte Paris that saw the reign of King Louis-Philippe and Napoleon III.

Interested Parties

A handful of years ago, Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Harvard University, began executing on a longstanding commitment.

Conflicted States

Embattled on cable television and embroiled in public debate, Christopher Hitchens is perhaps the world’s most conspicuous atheist in a foxhole.

In Dubious Battle

Let us not mince words: if there is one element of Republican governance that truly does trickle down, it is its pernicious incompetence.

All Ears

Giddy clauses, sonorous exposition, tart and tangy descriptors clustered like grapes across the latticework of his paragraphs: if you want to read what’s best in contemporary music journalism, you must perforce encounter the work of Alex Ross.

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The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 19-JAN 20

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