Lives & Histories

Past Editor: Deborah Cohen

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Thelma Toole, the mother of the novelist John Kennedy Toole—author of the extraordinary almost-unpublished novel A Confederacy of Dunces—delivered one of the most irresponsible accusations in ...

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 ...

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 ...