Cover Story

Saving the Self in the Age of the Selfie

We must learn to humanize digital life as actively as we’ve digitized human life—here’s how

by James McWilliams


Common Sense

It’s time for police officers to start demanding gun laws that could end up saving their own lives

by Robert Wilson

A New Heaven and a New Earth

During the Spanish Civil War, an alternative vision of society briefly flourished in Barcelona

by Adam Hochschild

I Will Love You in the Summertime

Between the rupture of life and the rapture of language lies a world of awe and witness

by Christian Wiman

The Remains of My Days

Fond and fading memories of a robust literary life

by Doris Grumbach

Meditation on a Rat

Who would have thought that this unlikely creature could help make a family whole again?

by Lucy Ferriss

Kindly Nervous

My sweet, gentle parents had their demons, but they kept me safe

by Lee Smith


Editor's Note


Robert Wilson

Letter From …

Letter from Sinjar: Convert or Die

Cathy Otten

Tuning Up

Off to See the Wizard

Mark Edmundson

Commonplace Book

Spring 2016

Anne Matthews


Under the Lid

Idra Novey


The Fruit of the Real

Langdon Hammer

Three Poems

Maureen N. McLane

The Underworld

Brian Swann

Fidelity and the Dead Singer

Isaac Cates

Works in Progress

Hunger Pangs

Karen J. Coates

All Fall Down

Henry Petroski

All the World’s a Page

Charlotte Salley

Mapping a Hard Place

Chloe Taft

Drone Zone

Sara Goudarzi

Back Talk

Sharpening Old Saws

Ralph Keyes


The Sound of Silence

Jean Sibelius and the symphony that never was

Sudip Bose

The Hapless Hero

What can comedian Nathan Fielder do for you?

Michael Upchurch

Birds of a Feather

An ornithological mural takes flight

Our Editors

Book Essay

Inscriber’s Block

Just because you can write a book doesn’t mean you can sign one

Ralph Keyes

Book Reviews

Lives of the Philosophers

The postwar thinkers who stripped the world of preconceptions

Amanda Vaill

Taking It to the Street

What it’s like to be down and out in America

Jill Leovy

The Pursuit of Middle Heaven

Missives about sex, love, and the value of really good talk

George O’Brien

I Think, Therefore ...

How much can we really know about the mystery of ourselves?

Kathryn Tabb

As the Bard Turns

The international appeal of the man from Stratford-upon-Avon

Wendy Smith

The Spirit of May 35th

A tale of dissidence, exile, astrophysics, and puckish wit

Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Speaking in Form and Color

The extraordinary paintings of an ordinary man

Lincoln Perry