“We’ve never had a period like this in modern American history,” lamented Governor DeSantis in April 2020, one with “such little new content.”
A behind-the-scenes look at what Public Books editors and staff have been reading this month.
Does loving a work of literature mean seizing it? How should critics feel about their feelings toward a text?
Maria Dahvana Headley’s translation of “Beowulf” forces us to think about what we need to be true about the past, and our access to it.
“I always thought that the challenge of writing my grandmother’s story was capturing her singular voice. Rereading her emails, I remember why.”
Lamming never lets readers forget that within that one man—as within all of us—is a boiling multitude.
His characters—in 1919 Ireland, 1857 India, and 1940 Singapore—intuit that the world is about to collapse. But they can do nothing to save it.
Capitalism seeks wealth to meet desires. But foraging societies follow “the Zen road to affluence”: not by getting more, but wanting less.
Even in Shakespeare’s era, theaters literally shielded people from the state. Today’s theaters might talk sanctuary, but rarely practice it.
Why does the city of Chicago have a monument, gifted by a Fascist dictator, commemorating another Fascist? And why does it still stand?
Female journalists in Vietnam returned, like the soldiers, nursing wounds that their countries would refuse to acknowledge.
“What would it mean to create a sanctuary for all?”
“If we want technologies that will not undermine our humanity, social analysts must join with other researchers.”
“As a teenager, I also worked at HaMeshulash for several months. It’s quite possible that I was the worst waiter in the history of the café.”
Butler’s work helps us see how time is a spiral, how the present moment is always layered with multiple pasts and underlying alternate futures.
Rather than politically utopian, Butler’s stories teach us about grief, consolation, hope, and—most of all—how to live in struggle.
Pandemics, racist violence, climate change, democratic collapse: it’s finally clear that it’s Butler’s world. We’re just living in it.
Agatha Christie’s “At Bertram’s Hotel” allows us to have our nostalgic cake and read it too.
Since 1892, the United States has deported more immigrants (over 57 million) than any other nation.
In what ways might art resist a colonial state? Can a painting function as a land rights claim?