The Disadvantages of an Elite Education

Our best universities have forgotten that the reason they exist is to make minds, not careers

by William Deresiewicz

The End of the Black American Narrative

A new century calls for new stories grounded in the present, leaving behind the painful history of slavery and its consequences

by Charles Johnson


Revisiting the gritty Roman neighborhood of his youth, a writer discovers a world of his own invention

by André Aciman


Knitting a new life in America after a mother’s suicide, long ago in Japan

by Kyoko Mori

Her Own Society

When Emily Dickinson and her radical friend Thomas Wentworth Higginson met for the first time

by Brenda Wineapple

The Bout

When George Plimpton, the boyish editor of The Paris Review, went three rounds with the light-heavyweight champion of the world

by Blair Fuller


In literature, as in life, the art of swimming isn’t hard to master

by Willard Spiegelman


Editor's Note

Unpulled Punches

Robert Wilson


Response to Our Spring Issue

Our readers

Letters From …

Antarctica: Cold Comfort

Emily Stone

Commonplace Book


Anne Matthews

Point of Departure

The Art of Surprise

Steve Vineberg

Book Essay

The Grasshopper and His Space Odyssey

Jeremy Bernstein

Book Reviews

Over There

Jean Bethke Elshtain

Democracy in Three Dimensions?

Heather Ewing

Ireland Revised

George O’Brien

Repatriating Art

Susannah Rutherglen

A Look Beyond the Tragic Mystique

Matthew Ladd


Happy with Crocodiles

Jim Shepard


Sheila Kohler


Confluences of Sound and Sense

Kay Ryan’s idiosyncratic approach to the commonplace

Langdon Hammer

Six Poems

Kay Ryan

After Callimachus

John Talbot


Grand Horse Opera

The best Westerns celebrate our history and criticize the ugly stereotypes of the genre

Richard Locke

Syncopated Clock, Indeed

On Leroy Anderson’s centennial, a defense of the popular composer from an orchestra’s stage

Janet Frank

Tuning Up

A Most Interesting Young Man

Was that Bob Dylan my sister met on a weir above Woodstock?

Brian Doyle