Summer 2008 Issue


Editor's Note

Unpulled Punches

Robert Wilson


Response to Our Spring Issue

Our readers

Letters From …

Antarctica: Cold Comfort

Emily Stone

Tuning Up

A Most Interesting Young Man

Brian Doyle

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


The Disadvantages of an Elite Education

William Deresiewicz

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

The End of the Black American Narrative

Charles Johnson

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


André Aciman

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


Kyoko Mori

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

Her Own Society
Not available online

Brenda Wineapple

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

The Bout

Blair Fuller

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


Willard Spiegelman

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


Happy with Crocodiles

Jim Shepard

Not available online

Sheila Kohler


Confluences of Sound and Sense
Not available online

Langdon Hammer

Kay Ryan’s idiosyncratic approach to the commonplace

Six Poems
Not available online

Kay Ryan

After Callimachus
Not available online

John Talbot


Grand Horse Opera

Richard Locke

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

Syncopated Clock, Indeed

Janet Frank

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