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The Global Family

Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe? by matthew pratt guterl ?harvard, 288 pages, $28.95 It is easy to see why Josephine Baker beckons to the postmodern mind. The famous entertainer of the Jazz Age seems tailor-made for theorists of racial and sexual identity. She was a known historical . . . . Continue Reading »

Counterfeit Goods

Republishing the early work of a novelist who has hit it big is usually a bad idea, but there are exceptions to the rule. It is interesting, for example, to learn that Patricia Highsmith’s second novel was a sympathetically drawn lesbian love story with a happy ending, since the psychological . . . . Continue Reading »

David Foster Wallace to the Rescue

Let’s not speak of suicide. Let’s not encourage the cottage industry bent on reducing David Foster Wallace to a literary Kurt Cobain, a romance of self-demise. This is a significant temptation for any posthumous reading of Wallace, whose writing is populated by suicides and addicts and clients . . . . Continue Reading »

Christians and Postmoderns

Joseph Bottum, a young medievalist, made his debut in First Things with an account of faith in a postmodern age. From the February 1994 issue. I We are living at a time near the end of the world. Not that our age is apocalyptic: apocalypse means an uncovering, a revelation, and revelation is what . . . . Continue Reading »

Beauty Is as Beauty Does

On Beauty by zadie smith penguin, 464 pages, $15 (paperback) In On Beauty, British writer Zadie Smith has turned her attention to the post-September 11 United States and has been widely praised for the result, which is a big comic novel that builds a topical tale on a classic foundation. . . . . Continue Reading »

American Satyricon

We live in what we like to think of as a very sophisticated society. International commerce keeps the economy humming day and night. Silicon chips grease the wheels of calculation and communication. Medical centers are engaged in perpetual expansion as research facilities grow at a furious pace. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Radical Orthodoxy Project

Novelty provides cheap thrills, and a student of Christian theology is rightly skeptical of agendas and programs that claim to renew Christian faith and practice with new concepts, new paradigms, and new theologies. Much that modern theology has hawked as “new” and “renewing” has led to . . . . Continue Reading »

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