Lives & Histories

Editor: Deborah Cohen

Signs and Wonders

I’m walking to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair in Sydney’s Domain at high tide, scanning the small bay in Woolloomooloo, as I always do, for fish or stingrays. There’s nothing to see in the flat green water nudging the sandstone cliffs ...

Are Sharp Women Enough?

Twitter was a medium made for Dorothy Parker—alas, a century too late. Her famous poem “Resumé” is 141 characters. Her breakout feature in Vanity Fair, a series of Hate Songs, begs for a hashtag ...

Michelle Obama’s Embrace

I told Michelle Obama that I admired Becoming for its courage, honesty, risk taking, and optimism. But my admiration went further, because in her story I had seen myself, and not just in the book’s main character ...

Reading Lives, Writing Lives

My tiny captor sleeps beside me. I don’t know how long it will last, but I welcome such moments of respite. Stolen hours to write, periods in which I feel my foggy ...

Our Mothers, Ourselves

I intended to begin with a personal admission. “I didn’t like being pregnant,” I was going to write, before describing the bodily discomforts (hypersalivation!) and psychic stresses (due date during ...

Carolyn Heilbrun Told You So

Over the course of a few weeks in April, amid the usual tiny indignities that beset women in academe, I read through Carolyn Heilbrun’s entire oeuvre. April ...

Guns Were for White Men

This image from the 1773 edition of Mary White Rowlandson’s narrative of her 1675 captivity by Native people presents us with a puzzle, one historian Jill Lepore queried in her influential history of ...

Toward the Black Girl Future

To read Eve L. Ewing is to read Chicago. Born and raised in the city’s Logan Square neighborhood in the 1980s and 1990s, Ewing’s love for the city is palpable in ...

In Memoriam: Philip Roth

The obituaries are striving to strike the properly respectful note, but with Philip Roth that was always going to be a challenge. The New York Times highlights Roth’s interest in masturbation, and ...