Eric Hobsbawm: Clear, Inclusive, Lasting

When Eric Hobsbawm died in 2012 at the age of ninety-five, he was probably the best-known historian in the English-speaking world. Though his work centered on the history of labor, he wrote with equal fluency about the crisis of the seventeenth century and the bandits of Eritrea, the standard of living during the industrial revolution and Billie Holiday’s blues. For range and accessibility, there was no one to touch him. What he gave his readers was above all the sense of being intellectually alive, of the sheer excitement of a fresh idea and a bold, unsentimental argument. The works themselves are his memorial. What is there to learn from his biography?
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Wanting Wrong

The narrator of Miranda Popkey’s first novel, Topics of Conversation, desires men who will tell her what to do. This might be an efficient enough thing to want in your life, except for the way it shifts, perhaps inevitably, into a need to be mistreated. It also leads to questions about consent that are so taboo they are almost beyond articulation: “Either the desires I had were possible desires or...or, this was the other option, I had been tricked. The other option was I was wrong.”
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The Pillage of India
William Dalrymple’s ‘The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire’ and Shashi Tharoor’s ‘Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India’

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Vector in Chief
To understand Trump’s incoherence, we have to take into account two contradictory impulses within the right-wing mindset: paranoia and risk.
The Master of Unknowing
Gerhard Richter is contemporary art’s great poet of uncertainty; his work sets the will to believe and the obligation to doubt in perfect oscillation.
Other Voices, Other Rooms
People told me motherhood would feel like deprivation—losing time, losing sleep, losing freedom—but in the beginning it felt more like sudden and exhausting plenitude.

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As Clean as Rage
There’s a war going on, Virginie Despentes’s books insist, not so much between men and women as on men and women, waged through the constructs of gender.

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