The Governance of China

The opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, March 3, 2016

On January 15–16, 2016, The New York Review of Books, in collaboration with the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong and Fritt Ord, held an international conference to discuss the development of Chinese political economy and the role of governance within it. We are pleased to present the following video recordings from the conference.

Bacon at Gagosian

Francis Bacon, Self-Portrait, 1987; oil on canvas, 14 x 12 inches
Colm Tóibín’s essay “Late Francis Bacon: Spirit & Substance” and the accompanying illustrations were drawn from the catalog of the exhibition “Francis Bacon: Late Paintings” at the Gagosian Gallery, New York City, November 7–December 12, 2015.

Orson Welles at 100

Orson Welles was born on May 6, 1915. To mark the one hundredth anniversary of his birth, we present here four essays from the New York Review archives.

What’s Wrong with the Economy—and with Economics?

On March 14–15, 2015, The New York Review of Books Foundation, Fritt Ord, and the Dan David Prize held a conference, “What’s Wrong with the Economy—and with Economics?” at Scandinavia House in New York. We are pleased to present the following video footage of the event.

The Life of the Sea

A humpback whale breaching

A study published in the journal Science this week found that humans have “profoundly affected marine wildlife,” and that current trends suggest that the loss of marine animal life will “rapidly intensify as human use of the oceans industrializes.” We present here a selection of articles on the beauty and complexity of the marine life under threat and on human exploration of the sea.

2014: The Year in Film

A scene from Manakamana

A selection of reviews and commentary on film published in our pages in 2014, from American Hustle and Boyhood to Citizenfour, Gone Girl, Goodbye to Language, Snowpiercer, and Under the Skin.

Understanding the China Dream

Deng Xiaoping and Jimmy Carter sign diplomatic agreements between the United States and China, January 31, 1979

In this video produced by VICE News, Orville Schell discusses the significance of former president Jimmy Carter’s recent trip to Beijing, where he was treated offhandedly by China’s leaders, and how the US might benefit from better understanding the “China Dream.”

Power, Privacy, and the Internet


On October 30–31, 2013, The New York Review of Books held a conference at Scandinavia House in New York City on the internet’s transformative effect on our lives. We are pleased to present the following recordings from the event.

The Robert B. Silvers Lectures

Robert B. Silvers

The Robert B. Silvers Lecture is an annual series at the New York Public Library, created by Max Palevsky in recognition of the work of Robert B. Silvers, editor of The New York Review of Books, of which he was a founder in 1963. The series features writers and thinkers whose fields correspond to the broad range of Mr. Silvers’s interests in literature, the arts, politics, economics, history, and the sciences.

The Opening Editorial

On our 50th anniversary, we reprint here our editorial statement for the first issue of The New York Review of Books, published in February 1963 during the newspaper strike in New York City.

Covering Nixon

Richard Nixon waves goodbye as he boards a helicopter outside The White House, August 9, 1974

On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned as president, after a long effort to avoid impeachment on charges related to the Watergate scandal. We present below a few highlights of the Review’s coverage of the Nixon presidency, including pieces by Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, I.F. Stone, Garry Wills, Philip Roth, and Mary McCarthy.

Literary Journalism: A Discussion

Joseph Lelyveld, Alma Guillermoprieto, Andrew Delbanco, Ian Buruma, Zoë Heller, and Robert Silvers in the New York Public Library's Celeste Bartos Forum, April 3, 2013

On April 3, 2013 The New York Review of Books and the Cullman Center for Scholars & Writers at the New York Public Library presented a panel discussion celebrating the Review’s 50th anniversary. Five regular contributors discussed their careers, their experience writing for editors Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein, and their predictions and hopes for the future of literary journalism. We are pleased to present the excerpts below from this program.

Poetry and Criticism: Helen Vendler

Helen Vendler

We conclude our National Poetry Month celebration with work by the critic Helen Vendler, who has contributed over fifty pieces in The New York Review, from her 1975 consideration of the poems of William Carlos Williams to her essays in the past year on Edward Thomas and Robert Hass.

A Poet of Consciousness: Wisława Szymborska

Wisława Szymborska

For the fourth week of our National Poetry Month celebration, we will be focused on the work of Wisława Szymborska. Szymborska was born in 1923 in Bnin, a small town in western Poland, and from early childhood lived in Kraków. She worked on the editorial staff of the cultural weekly Życie Literackie (Literary Life) from 1952 to 1981. Szymborska wrote some twenty books of poetry, was a distinguished translator of French poetry into Polish, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996, “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality.” She died in February 2012.

Approaching Ashbery

John Ashbery, 1979

For the third week of our National Poetry Month celebration, we will be focused on the work of John Ashbery. Ashbery was born in 1927 in Rochester, New York. After studying at Harvard and Columbia, he spent several years in Paris in the 1950s on a Fulbright scholarship, and later as an art critic for the Paris Herald Tribune. His first collection, Some Trees (1956), was selected by W. H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Series. From 1966 to 1972 he was the executive editor of ArtNews. His collection Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975) received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award. From 1990 until 2008 Ashbery was the Charles P. Stevenson, Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. His latest collection, published last year, is Quick Question.

‘A Part of Speech’: Reading Joseph Brodsky

Joseph Brodsky, Vienna, 1972

Joseph Brodsky (1940–1996) was a Russian poet and essayist. Born in Leningrad, he moved to the United States in 1972 following his expulsion from the Soviet Union. His poetry collections include A Part of Speech (1980) and To Urania (1988); his essay collections include Less Than One (1986) and Watermark (1992). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987 and served as US Poet Laureate in 1991–1992.

National Poetry Month: W.H. Auden

To celebrate National Poetry Month, The New York Review throughout April will be posting poems and articles by poets and critics whose work in the magazine has spanned a period of years or decades. We’ll be focusing on one poet or critic at a time, presenting a selection of his or her work from our archive on this blog. We begin with W.H. Auden (1907–1973), whose contributions to the Review go back to its first issue of February 1, 1963. Auden was an English poet, playwright, and essayist who lived and worked in the United States for much of the second half of his life. His work represents one of the major achievements of twentieth-century literature.

In the Kingdom of the First Person

James Baldwin, New York City, 1976

At the Review’s fiftieth anniversary celebration at Town Hall on February 5, 2013, Darryl Pinckney spoke about his lifelong engagement with the writing of James Baldwin. You can read his lecture in the April 4 issue or listen to a recording of it here. In this post we excerpt from several pieces in the Review mentioned in Pinckney’s remarks.

At Town Hall: Readings and Reflections

Daniel Mendelsohn, Michael Chabon, John Banville, Joan Didion, Darryl Pinckney, Mary Beard, and Mark Danner, February 5, 2013

On February 5, 2013, The New York Review celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with an evening of readings and reflections at Town Hall in New York City. Seven regular contributors to the Review read from their work and spoke about their relationship with the magazine. We are glad to provide the following record of the occasion.

Ralph Ellison’s Birthday

Ralph Ellison, 1961

Reviewing LeRoi Jones’s Blues People in The New York Review in 1964, Ralph Ellison wrote:

Perhaps more than any other people, Americans have been locked in a deadly struggle with time, with history. We’ve fled the past and trained ourselves to suppress, if not forget, troublesome details of the national memory, and a great part of our optimism, like our progress, has been bought at the cost of ignoring the processes through which we’ve arrived at any given moment in our national existence.
Ellison’s own work, from his celebrated 1952 novel Invisible Man to his stories, essays, and the unfinished novel published posthumously as Juneteenth, sought to record those troublesome details and question our national memory. “Ellison incessantly pondered the ways that race pervaded America and he wrote about them with originality and eloquence,” Robert Stone wrote in these pages in 1999. “But above all he was an artist.” To celebrate the hundredth anniversary—or perhaps the ninety-ninth; accounts vary—of Ralph Ellison’s birth, we present a selection of pieces by him and about his work from the Review‘s archives.

Ronald Dworkin (1931–2013)

Ronald Dworkin, Martha’s Vineyard, August 2005

Ronald Dworkin, who died on February 14 at the age of eighty-one, published over one hundred articles, reviews, and letters on legal and philosophical issues in The New York Review, from his 1968 defense of conscientious objectors to the draft during the Vietnam War to his 2012 argument against color-blind college admissions policies. As we mourn the loss of a long-standing contributor and friend, we present the following selection of his writings from the Review.

Where the Elite Meet to Mate

The Personals section from the December 18, 1969 issue of The New York Review

The first personal ad to appear in The New York Review of Books was published in the magazine’s July 11, 1968 issue. “WIFE WANTED,” it read. “Intelligent, beautiful, 18 to 25, broad-minded, sensitive, affectionate. For accomplished artist and exciting life. NYR box 1432.” Ever since then the Review’s personals have been a widely-followed (and much-parodied) part of the magazine. Associate Publisher Catherine Tice spoke with NPR’s Scott Simon for Weekend Edition Saturday about love sought, and found, in the pages of the Review.