Arts & Entertainment

Emancipation’s Limitations

New York Review of Books

Sponsored by Classical Pursuits

Sean Wilentz
The Emancipators’ Vision

Was abolition intended as a perpetuation of slavery by other means?

Natalia Ginzburg and
Alba de Céspedes
On Women: An Exchange

“That article of mine spoke of women in general, and said things we all know: that women are not much worse than men and can also accomplish something worthwhile if they try.”

Ange Mlinko
The Transplanted Ironist

Iman Mersal’s feminism manifests not as a creed but as a tone, a disposition toward life and love.

Marilynne Robinson
A Theology of the Present Moment

Can bringing Scripture and science back into dialogue help answer the question of why there is something rather than nothing?

Susan Tallman
Bring Up the Bodies

In “Exquisite Corpse,” Kerry James Marshall makes enigmatic riffs on the Surrealist game.

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro
The Guerrilla Scholar

Mambo, for Robert Farris Thompson, was everything.

Free from the Archives

Today is Edna O’Brien’s ninety-second birthday. The author of dozens of novels, children’s books, travelogues, plays, and poems, in 1999 she added a biography of her compatriot, James Joyce, to her eclectic bibliography. Joyce “commanded, during his life and after it, the best and most sympathetic of ‘biografiends,’ as he dubbed them,” wrote John Banville in the Review’s December 16, 1999, issue. Glancing at the long list of Joyce studies (including Richard Ellman’s—“one of the greatest literary biographies of the century”), Banville found that the virtue of O’Brien’s addition to the genre was in her artistry: “Her attitude to him is warm, almost matronly, in the skittish way of a mother who is half in love with her waywardly brilliant son…. The book is less a biography than a sort of biographical poem set out in brief, vivid sketches of Joyce as man and writer.”

John Banville
The Motherless Child

“Edna O’Brien is enough of an artist herself to understand that prose is always most poetic when it is most specific, and pays good heed to Molly Bloom’s famous apostrophe to her garrulous husband, ‘O rocks! Tell us in plain words.’”



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