Jennifer Kabat’s essays have appeared in Granta, Harper’s, Frieze, The Believer, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The White Review. Recently chosen for Best American Essays 2018, she’s working on a book GHOSTLANDS, exploring the histories of progressive values from the modernist suburb where she grew up to where she lives now in the Catskill Mountains. She teaches at NYU and the New School. (May 2018)


Thomas Cole: A Conservative Conservationist

Thomas Cole: View of the Round-Top in the Catskill Mountains, 1827

Credited as the force behind the Hudson River School (though the term was not used in his lifetime), Thomas Cole created a visual language for a young country. He popularized working from nature, traveling into the mountains and using his sketches there to paint landscapes that were breathtaking and inspiring. But while Cole may have been a social critic, his concern was for the land, for nature—not society, not people. I live in the Catskills, where he, too, lived and painted. It’s hardly the same place as when Cole was alive.