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Truth, Reading, Decadence

After Harold Bloom died in ­October 2019, E. D. Hirsch told a story from the early 1960s, when they were assistant professors of English at Yale. They both had lived not far from campus, and Hirsch frequently spotted Bloom walking past his house and joined him for a stroll to the office. They had . . . . Continue Reading »

Learning by Heart

In Darwin, Australia, sometime in 1958, an old man lay dying in hospital. He asked to see—of all people—the British writer ­Malcolm Muggeridge. They didn’t know each other, but ­Muggeridge was touring Australia and the old man had heard him on the radio. As ­Muggeridge recalled it, . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

The only excuse I can imagine for David P. Goldman’s taking up the shopworn claim that T. S. Eliot was an anti-Semite (“T. S. Eliot and the Jews,” March) is that, having been repeated so many times before, it might as well be repeated again as one of the unexamined prejudices of our culture. . . . . Continue Reading »

True Jewish Lit

The title of Adam Kirsch’s survey of twentieth-­century Jewish literature can be read in two ways. In historical terms, the Holocaust was the curse. The founding of Israel and the welcome Jews received in America were the blessings. But as a literary matter, the blessing and the curse were the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Gospel 
According to Dickens

In the popular understanding of Christmas, Charles Dickens’s 1843 novella looms large. A Christmas Carol seems to represent not only Christmassy warmth, fellowship, and cheer, but the very essence of Christian practice. At the end, Ebenezer Scrooge, the old skinflint, is redeemed by an . . . . Continue Reading »

At Home on Revolutionary Road

One of the hoariest clichés of American popular culture is anti-suburban sentiment. Common throughout literature, film, and television, it arguably received its most tuneful expression in Malvina Reynolds’s 1962 song “Little Boxes,” which disparages the tracts of affordable housing that were . . . . Continue Reading »

Dark Greene

Readers of Russian Roulette: The Life and Times of Graham Greene may finish the book with a sense of relief. That isn’t the fault of the biographer Richard Greene (no relation), who has done an impressive job of tying together the many strands of the novelist’s life. It’s just that . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

I appreciated Sohrab Ahmari’s generous review of my book Live Not by Lies (“Resist in Truth,” November), and I credit his observation that what I deem “authentic liberalism”—­tolerant and pluralistic—is difficult to sustain. But it’s hard to see any realistic . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

This handsomely produced book represents both the riches and the absurdities of the academic world circa 2020. Anyone who is, as I am, besotted with books to a degree some judge unhealthy will want to have a copy at hand, along with Roger S. Bagnall’s Early Christian Books in Egypt, Richard . . . . Continue Reading »

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