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Devils in the Mind

From Web Exclusives

Aldous Huxley was in certain respects a modern disenchanted intellectual, and he had no use for actual demons; but there are persons as serious and sane as he was who can state with authority that demons and demonic possession are real. Continue Reading »

Churchill in Barbary

From the March 2022 Print Edition

Small wars, the kind that pit a superpower against an apparently overmatched enemy, are easy to slip into and can be hard to get out of. But it need not always be so. The British in their imperial magnificence at the turn of the twentieth century fought wars against Islamic fanatics on the northwest . . . . Continue Reading »

The Genius of Wordsworth

From the December 2020 Print Edition

“I wandered lonely as a cloud.” So begins a famous poem of William Wordsworth’s, one that was often taught to schoolchildren back when memorizing poetry was part of education. The poet comes upon “a crowd, / A host, of golden daffodils.” The flowers flutter and dance before him, their . . . . Continue Reading »

Russian Purgatory

From the June/July 2020 Print Edition

The Russian soul. The phrase serves as shorthand for Russia’s national character, after the manner of American innocence, French arrogance, Italian dolce far niente, and what used to be the English stiff upper lip. Russians are reputed to feel more than the rest of us do, think deep thoughts . . . . Continue Reading »

Ibsen's Soulcraft

From the December 2019 Print Edition

The Norwegian master Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906) is and will remain the most important modern playwright—which is not to say there are no flaws in his work. Of all artists, playwrights are the most beholden to the moralism of their time; they must love and hate what their audiences love and . . . . Continue Reading »

Starlight in Hell

From the June/July 2009 Print Edition

One cannot say with assurance that Russia has outdone all other modern nations in cruelty; the competition is just too stiff. Nevertheless, the memorabilia of inhumanity with a Russian face are indelible: the birch, the knout, the Cossack’s saber, the cattle car, the Arctic slave-labor camp, the . . . . Continue Reading »