Alphabet Politics

What prompted the development of systems of writing?

The Greatest Invention: A History of the World in Nine Mysterious Scripts

by Silvia Ferrara, translated from the Italian by Todd Portnowitz

Inventing the Alphabet: The Origins of Letters from Antiquity to the Present

by Johanna Drucker

The Instrumentalist

At the heart of the film Tár is a conductor who cannot see beyond her generation’s field of vision.


a film written and directed by Todd Field

Dress Rehearsal

Trump’s attempt almost two years ago to undermine the 2020 election reads today like a blueprint drawn for a future autocrat.

Feinting Spells

The thesis of an exhibition on the inspiration a subset of Cubism took from trompe l’oeil is convincingly built with objects made across four centuries.

Cubism and the Trompe l’Oeil Tradition

an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, October 20, 2022–January 22, 2023

Ukraine’s Volunteers

Even more impressive than Ukraine’s will to fight is the vast network of citizens who are supporting the armed forces and helping those in need of food and supplies.

When Diversity Matters

During October’s marathon argument in a pair of affirmative action cases, the most racially diverse Supreme Court in US history debated the value of diversity. 

The Faces of Victor Serge

The radical writer’s novels are unsettling explorations of the tension between individual and collective life.

Last Times

translated from the French by Ralph Manheim, edited and with an introduction by Richard Greeman

The Case of Comrade Tulayev

translated from the French by Willard R. Trask, with an introduction by Susan Sontag

Unforgiving Years

translated from the French and with an introduction by Richard Greeman

Birth of Our Power

translated from the French and with an introduction by Richard Greeman

Memoirs of a Revolutionary

translated from the French by Peter Sedgwick with George Paizis, with a glossary and notes by Richard Greeman, and a foreword by Adam Hochschild

Notebooks, 1936–1947

translated from the French by Mitchell Abidor and Richard Greeman, and edited by Claudio Albertani and Claude Rioux

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Two recent books explore the complex pleasure we take in ruins and the rediscovery of long-forgotten objects.

Shadowlands: A Journey Through Britain’s Lost Cities and Vanished Villages

by Matthew Green

Mudlark’d: Hidden Histories from the River Thames

by Malcolm Russell, with photographs by Matthew Williams-Ellis

Carlotta’s Brooklyn

It’s a daring move, paraphrasing a masterpiece like Joyce’s Ulysses, but in his new novel, Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta, James Hannaham shows us why a writer might do it.

Didn't Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta

by James Hannahan

The Encyclopedia of the Dance

The first full-length biography of Bronislava Nijinska does long-overdue justice to one of the twentieth century’s great women artists.

La Nijinska: Choreographer of the Modern

by Lynn Garafola


A new book recounts the “psoriasis years” of figures from John Updike to Pablo Escobar.


by Sergio del Molino, translated from the Spanish by Thomas Bunstead

Fear and Oil in Uganda

Its backers claim that the East African Crude Oil Pipeline will be a financial boon for Uganda, but families along its route claim that they have been inadequately compensated for their lost land, and activists opposing its construction have been harassed and arrested.

Living Outside of Time

In Eugene Vodolazkin’s polyphonic novels, the past addresses historians to come, time seems to repeat itself, and the future brings a fundamental change in temporality.


by Eugene Vodolazkin, translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz

The Aviator

by Eugene Vodolazkin, translated from the Russian by Lisa C. Hayden


by Eugene Vodolazkin, translated from the Russian by Lisa C. Hayden

Solovyov and Larionov

by Eugene Vodolazkin, translated from the Russian by Lisa C. Hayden

Making the Senate Work for Democrats

The very structure of the US Senate tilts it toward Republican rule. The Democrats hold the chamber now—what can they do to move their agenda forward?

Arc of Power: Inside Nancy Pelosi’s Speakership, 2005–2010

by John A. Lawrence

A World of Insecurity: Democratic Disenchantment in Rich and Poor Countries

by Pranab Bardhan

The Long Alliance: The Imperfect Union of Joe Biden and Barack Obama

by Gabriel Debenedetti

Issue Details

Cover art
Sigrid Calon: SC series nr. 56, 2020

Series art
Emily Hass: Shapes, 2022

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