Spring 2009 Issue


Editor's Note

Updike at Rest

Robert Wilson


Response to Our Winter Issue

Our readers

Letters From …

Paris: A Twombly Ceiling

Grant Rosenberg

Works in Progress

Locks for Lettuces

Sam Kean

E Pluribus Unum

Emily Ochoa

A Stein Is a Stein Is a Stein

Elyse Graham

Smarter Than Dirt

Sam Kean

The Sound of Laptops

Jessica Wilde

Tuning Up

Who Was Hall?

Jeremy Bernstein

Commonplace Book


Anne Matthews

Point of Departure

Franklin in Paris

Stacy Schiff

Book Essay

Literary Cubs, Canceling Out Each Other’s Reticence

David A. Taylor

Book Reviews

The Peacock Problem

Priscilla Long

The Peacock Problem

Alexander Nehamas

Founding Portraitists

Fergus M. Bordewich

Dark Mysteries

Angeline Goreau

At Liberty to Divulge

John Rolfe Gardiner

Circular Bread Line

Sandra M. Gilbert


The Terminator Comes to Wall Street

Joseph Fuller

How computer modeling worsened the financial crisis and what we ought to do about it

Purpose-Driven Life

Brian Boyd

Evolution does not rob life of meaning, but creates meaning. It also makes possible our own capacity for creativity.

Second Chances, Social Forgiveness, and the Internet

Amitai Etzioni

We need the means, both technological and legal, to replace measures once woven into the fabric of communities

The Potency of Breathless

Paula Marantz Cohen

At 50, Godard’s film still asks how something this bad can be so good

The Man Who Shot the Man Who Shot Lincoln

Ernest B. Furgurson

The hatter Boston Corbett was celebrated as a hero for killing John Wilkes Booth. Fame and fortune did not follow, but madness did.

Visions and Revisions

William Zinsser

Writing On Writing Well and keeping it up-to-date for 35 years

Dawn of a Literary Friendship

John McIntyre

In 1969 the writer Robert Phelps first wrote to the novelist James Salter. Here are the letters that forged a bond of two decades.

I Wanted to Be Robert Phelps

Michael Dirda

The Dowser Dilemma

Kate Daloz

How a town in Vermont found water it desperately needed and an explanation that was harder to swallow


Without Wendy

Roberta Silman

Promises, Promises

Joseph O'Neill


Belmont Park
Not available online

John Koethe

Not available online

Tony Hoagland

Not available online

Esther Schor


The Potency of Breathless

Paula Marantz Cohen

At 50, Godard’s film still asks how something this bad can be so good

Vibrato Wars

Sudip Bose

Elgar, served neat and unshaken, stirs up the Brits