How can we raise them humanely and then butcher them?
The answer—schizophrenia—only leads to more perplexing questions
We value our solitude until it pinches
After it became our permanent home, we overfilled it with overloved horses and dogs
Our losses give vitality to our lives
But all life’s passion not quite spent
“Could we have been better parents?” At 87, Cornell emeritus professor James McConkey reflects on the inadvertent ways that parents—especially fathers—shape their children. “Most parents don’t want their children to suffer the kind of grief inflicted on them by their own parents,” he says in this essay from our Spring 2008 issue. “By saving them from that, though, they may inflict upon their children difficulties of another kind.” As the father to three sons, McConkey is acutely aware of how his relationship with his own father informed his relationship with his children. His essay “What Kind of Father Am I?” is a meditation on aging, parenthood, and the bond between fathers and sons.
Snow Falling on Cedars at 20
John Updike’s obsession with ordinary life made him the writer by whom we came to know ourselves
The struggle to keep it together
Tough on other species, too
In search of adventure and engagement
A literary critic’s ugly deception
The end of the peculiar institution
Separating man from myth