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The Work of Mourning

From the October 2022 Print Edition

In a significant essay entitled “Mourning and Melancholia,” Freud wrote of “the work of mourning,” meaning the psychic process whereby a cherished object is finally laid to rest, as it were buried in the unconscious, and the ego liberated from its grip. Until the work of mourning has been . . . . Continue Reading »

Living with a Mind

From the December 2015 Print Edition

I was brought up in a culture that made no special place for the “intellectual” as a distinct human type, and which regarded learning in the same way as any other hobby: harmless and excusable, so long as you kept quiet about it. The person who studied the classics at home, who wrote poetry . . . . Continue Reading »

The End of the University

From the April 2015 Print Edition

Universities exist to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and culture that will prepare them for life, while enhancing the intellectual capital upon which we all depend. Evidently the two purposes are distinct. One concerns the growth of the individual, the other our shared need for . . . . Continue Reading »

Is Sex Necessary?

From the December 2014 Print Edition

E. B. White and James Thurber’s prescient satire of the sexual revolution in America, Is Sex Necessary?, was published in 1929, just before things really got going. It reminds us that sex was already understood as an arena of contest between the individual and society. Social order meant . . . . Continue Reading »

The Good of Government

From the June/July 2014 Print Edition

In his first inaugural address, President Reagan announced that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” and his remark struck a chord in the hearts of his conservative supporters. American conservatives, called upon to define their position, reiterate the . . . . Continue Reading »

Pop Imperialism

From the April 2014 Print Edition

Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy, and America’s Image Abroadby martha baylesyale, 336 pages, $30During the Cold War the United States government made important attempts to manage America’s image in the world. Besides the radio stations—Voice of America and . . . . Continue Reading »