A mystery exists at the heart of all literary biography: How does the mush of experience get turned into glittering artifact?
Daniel Maier-Katkin and Nathan Stoltzfus
The 1963 publication of her Eichmann in Jerusalem sparked a debate that still rages over its author’s motivations
When a novice writer received a letter from Jacques Barzun, asking her to write a book, how could she have known what she was in for?
The folk tales gathered by the Brothers Grimm not only enchant us; they record the hardships European families endured for centuries
David J. Wasserstein
Mahmoud Darwish was the voice of the Palestinian people—chronicling not just the struggles and political injustices, but also the rhythms of daily life
On visits to Cambridge University late in life, Jorge Luis Borges offered revealing last thoughts about his reading and writing
The Jazz Age novelist’s chronicle of his mental collapse, much derided by his critics, anticipated the rise of autobiographical writing in America
Rediscovering the novels of Iris Owens
The two counterculture heroes, one representing the Beat ’50s and one the psychedelic ’60s, had a lot less in common than you might expect
Remembering the novelist Reynolds Price
Janna Malamud Smith
Discovering a World War II tale that mesmerizes, then horrifies
Edwin M. Yoder Jr.
Variations on a theme of deception
When Lady Chatterley's Lover ran afoul of Britain's 1959 obscenity law, the resulting case had a cast worthy of P.G. Wodehouse
Steven L. Isenberg
My meals with W. H. Auden, E. M. Forster, Philip Larkin, and William Empson
Paula Marantz Cohen
What I’ve learned from 30 years of teaching The Merchant of Venice
William J. Quirk
What F. Scott Fitzgerald's tax returns reveal about his life and times
William H. Pritchard
A critic and his decades-long correspondence with one of America's best "freelance writers"
David A. Taylor
Letters between Federal Writers’ Project cohorts Richard Wright and Nelson Algren depict a mutual admiration rare among young novelists
Remembering Grace Paley and her wise, fierce, funny, sad, innovative short stories
A scientist remembers the celebrated science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke
The delight we get from detecting patterns in books, and in life, can be measured and understood
In Aegypt, John Crowley's just-completed four-book masterwork, ordinary people bear a faint symbolic glow through real and mythological realms
The languid bazaar of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet still beckons 50 years later
If Iraq is not another Vietnam, why do I find myself rereading Dispatches?
When American literature became good enough for Americans, what happened to the literary canon?
Literature in miniature has a 500-year history, but what's the appeal of a volume too small to read?
Paula Marantz Cohen
Her novels are just modern enough—and just old-fashioned enough, too
Authorities on the Revolutionary era say how the Founding Fathers became culture heroes.
Why I’m leaving my book group