At Ease Amid the Ruins

Costica Bradatan and Geoff Dyer explore the virtues of failure and humility in the face of the next-to-nothingness of human existence.

In Praise of Failure: Four Lessons in Humility

by Costica Bradatan

The Last Days of Roger Federer and Other Endings

by Geoff Dyer

Ducks in the Drawing Room

The disorienting vitality of Barbara Comyns’s novels is one reason they tend to be forgotten and revived every few decades.

Barbara Comyns: A Savage Innocence

by Avril Horner

Alone in Paradise

George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s opera Picture a day like this illuminates not just the loss of a child but also music’s power to create imagined spaces so alluring they become an escape from reality.

Picture a day like this

an opera with music by George Benjamin and text by Martin Crimp, directed by Daniel Jeanneteau and Marie-Christine Soma at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, September 22–October 10, 2023

Circuit Breakers

Judges on the Fifth Circuit, many of them Trump appointees, are attempting to transform the law and challenge the very structure of American government.

Her Infinite Variety

A joyously broad, often hilarious look at the treatment and agency of women in the Middle Ages.

The Once and Future Sex: Going Medieval on Women’s Roles in Society

by Eleanor Janega

Cartoon Rules

Bill Griffith’s Three Rocks is a portrait of an artist obsessed with the formal mechanics of the comic strip.

Three Rocks: The Story of Ernie Bushmiller, the Man Who Created Nancy

by Bill Griffith

‘She Talk Her Mind’

Zadie Smith’s Wife of Willesden offers an exhilarating counterpoint to the writer’s understanding of character as it emerges in her fiction.

The Wife of Willesden

by Zadie Smith

A New Force Set Loose

A new history of pre-1789 France by Robert Darnton examines the emergence of a “revolutionary temper” produced by salacious and scandal-mongering newsletters, pamphlets, songs, and even gossip and graffiti. But did it really bring down the ancien régime?

The Revolutionary Temper: Paris, 1748–1789

by Robert Darnton

Ready to Rumble

A new book by the volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer details the gifts and destruction brought by volcanoes, and the sublimity and terror experienced in their presence.

Mountains of Fire: The Menace, Meaning, and Magic of Volcanoes

by Clive Oppenheimer

‘Live All You Can’

The early lives of Emerson, Thoreau, and William James were marked by the loss of loved ones, and in their reflections one finds a characteristically nineteenth-century American sense of resilience and regeneration.

Three Roads Back: How Emerson, Thoreau, and William James Responded to the Greatest Losses of Their Lives

by Robert D. Richardson, with a foreword by Megan Marshall

Filming and Forgetting Taipei

Edward Yang’s films approach Taiwan’s transition from authoritarianism to democracy through everyday stories of love, work, and family.

Desire/Expectations: The Films of Edward Yang

a series at Film at Lincoln Center, New York City, December 22, 2023–January 9, 2024

Chronicles of Changing Times: The Cinema of Edward Yang

a series at the Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 29–May 22, 2024

A One and a Two: Edward Yang Retrospective

an exhibition at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, July 22–October 22, 2023

The Parent Trap

The sociologist Kelley Fong argues that we would do better by children and families if we were to widen our understanding of the social causes of adversity rather than relying solely on the blunt force of Child Protective Services.

The School for Good Mothers

by Jessamine Chan

Investigating Families: Motherhood in the Shadow of Child Protective Services

by Kelley Fong

The Thrill of Late Antiquity

The historian Peter Brown’s memoir recounts an academic career that has taken him from Oxford to Iran to California, in a nostalgic portrait of twentieth-century academic life that can still offer a primer to young scholars.

Journeys of the Mind: A Life in History

by Peter Brown

What’s Your Type?

Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You and Eleanor Catton’s Birnam Wood play with the novel’s traditional concern with character types.

Beautiful World, Where Are You

by Sally Rooney

Birnam Wood

by Eleanor Catton

Issue Details

Cover art
Friedrich Kunath: My Work Is Done Why Wait,
(Friedrich Kunath/Galerie Max Hetzler, London)
Series art
Tom Bachtell: Brush Dances, 2024

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