Writer and editor Andrew Mitchell Davenport uses Jean Toomer’s Harlem Renaissance novel Cane to shed light on the ongoing reality of racial terror.
High-wire artist Philippe Petit reflects on a lifetime of fear — its sound, its body language, and how to eliminate the taste of fear from your mouth: “To fear in life is human. And difficult to avoid. And a rude awakening each time. If it seizes you, be proud of your fifteen minutes of fear.”
While on a trip hunting for bison on the Canadian tundra, Robert Moor recounts the uncanny horror of the blank, white landscape. It’s a familiar feeling for him, similar to the terror felt by any artist facing the blank white page: “The creative abyss is a snowy field”
Reflections on Angela Merkel’s and Germany’s attitude toward refugees, from a daughter of refugees who themselves fled Germany in the 1930.
The high-profile murder trial that led to America’s first successful insanity plea: It involved a congressman who shot a man he believed was having an affair with his wife.
The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk was a bestselling book about sexual abuse in a convent, and it became one of the great literary frauds of the 19th century.
The forgotten history of World War I internment camps, and the story of imprisoned Austrian painter Paul Cohen-Portheim.
Memories of being a Southie kid and black in a mostly white neighborhood.
Reconsidering Virginia Woolf’s time-warping novel Orlando, “the longest and most charming love letter in literature.”
How Mark Twain turned frontier humor into literature:
It wasn’t easy. The notion that literature could emerge from the frontier’s barbaric yawp encountered violent resistance from America’s literary establishment. It didn’t help that tall tales abounded in vulgarity, drunkenness, and depravity, not to mention perversions of proper English that would make a schoolteacher gasp. Proving the literary power of the frontier would be a central part of Twain’s legacy, and a pie in the face of the New England dons who had dominated the country’s high culture for much of the nineteenth century. He wasn’t immune to wanting their approval, but he came from a very different tradition. His ear hadn’t been trained at Harvard or Yale; it was tuned to the myriad voices of slaves and scoundrels, boatmen and gamblers.