Essays

Borders, Guns, and Freedom

Like the pioneers two hundred years before him, Mark Romano recently decided to head West. Like those pioneers, Mark—a white, unemployed electrician ...

John Kennedy Toole @50

Thelma Toole, the mother of the novelist John Kennedy Toole—author of the extraordinary almost-unpublished novel A Confederacy of Dunces—delivered one of the most irresponsible accusations in ...

The World the Gulf Has Built

The viewing platform of the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world, provides an exceptional view. On a clear day, you can see Dubai’s towers ...

In Memoriam: Agnes Heller

Agnes Heller, the Hungarian-born political philosopher, died recently, at the age of 90. The obituaries in outlets like the New York Times, Le Monde, and Deutsche Welle have been respectful, and even ...

Gig Authoritarians

In 2015, Stephen Colbert asked cofounder and then CEO of Uber Travis Kalanick how the company’s heavy investment in driverless car technology squared with its purported “commitment” to its “driver ...

In the Moment, On the Edge

What was literary impressionism? It is not an easy question to answer, since literary impressionism was less a movement than a sensibility. The impressionist writer ...

Exile by the Bay

Imagining home is an inescapable preoccupation of disinherited people. Of all the possessions lost or denied, none is more precious than the security and feeling of belonging that a genuine home ...

Translation’s Burden

A book is a strange vessel of expectation. A published book imagines a reader, for a published book without a reader is a book that loses someone’s money. And a book about translation seems to have ...

Acts of Mothering

Back in 1976, Adrienne Rich described what she called the “institution of motherhood.” When biological motherhood was turned into a social and historical institution, she explained, the potential ...