“Good afternoon, ma’am. Do you ever feel that it is so hard to know how to be happy?”
Editor: Leah Price
How To Scuttle A Public Broadcaster
On the 100th anniversary of the founding of the BBC, national public broadcasters across the world are still subject to constant spurious attacks.
Reading after the University
If you want to support readers, the best hope will always be helping do away with economic compulsion and the division of labor.
Even the most successful authors—like Phillis Wheatley and W. E. B. Du Bois—fail to publish all they’d like. What can that reveal about literature?
The Text: Do Not Disturb
Does loving a work of literature mean seizing it? How should critics feel about their feelings toward a text?
In Praise of Search Tools
For centuries, book-makers, printers, furniture-makers and, now, programmers have worked to answer: how do you find what you need in a book?
What Is a Book?
The “papers” of Toni Morrison can be accessed through a Princeton computer terminal. But where do these digital drafts end, and Beloved begin?
The university has been changing, to be sure. But has the proportion of students who want to devote themselves to acts of humanistic creativity?
Rereading the Revolt
In May 1381, rebels burned documents at Cambridge, then scattered the ashes to the wind. But why were universities targeted by the rebels?
What Happens When a Metaphor Becomes Real?
The humanities can reveal the truth of the world’s crises, everything from contagions like the pandemic to apocalypses like right-wing violence.
What’s in a Bookstore?
For more than five centuries, equilibrium between profit and passion has remained elusive to book buyers and sellers.
When the Writing Takes Over the Writer
Louise Fitzhugh, author of Harriet the Spy, and the poet James Merrill were joined by friendship, craft, and graphomania: the compulsion to write.
The Spy Who Came In from the Carrel
In Nazi Europe, countless books were banned. So those who saved books—whether university archivists or Jewish scholars—became smugglers.
What Was the Classroom?
As many COVID-era courses have moved from seminar rooms to Zoom meetings, the haptic nature of teaching has changed. Is anything lost?
Stop Reading like a Critic
Think about your favorite book. Now ask yourself: Would you admit this to others? Most would share—but literature professors are not most people.
Longing for the Writer’s Space
How should readers and scholars look on the tangible traces writers leave behind?
All the World’s a Page
Paper was never simply a writing surface, but a complicated substance that folded itself into the fabric of culture and consciousness.
What distinguishes the American from the European intellectual? Does that matter?
The House That Form Built
Across the slatted border between the United States and Mexico, near Ciudad Juárez, the artists Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello recently installed several ...
The Posthuman Enlightenment
What does it take to think beyond the human? Can we imagine our human selves in other lives? And should we? While contemporary answers to these ...