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Tolstoy and the Rousseau Threshold

From First Thoughts

Arrogant Without wading too deep into any technical lit-crit battles over the so-called death of the author, I think I can safely endorse the rule that, in general, one should not criticize a writer’s work by attacking his personal life. If an author happens to have been an adulterer, a . . . . Continue Reading »

Books of the Year 2012

From First Thoughts

There is more fiction than non-fiction on this list, but that’s only because my non-fiction reading this year has been dominated by a succession of esoteric obsessions. I encountered some very good books that way, but the mini-reviews for all of them would have gone something like “A . . . . Continue Reading »

Strom Thurmond’s America, and Ours

From First Thoughts

My review of Prof. Joseph Crespino’s new biography of Strom Thurmond is in the current edition of National Review : The black comedian Dick Gregory said in 1971 that race relations in America were easy to understand: “In the North they don’t care how big I get, long as I . . . . Continue Reading »