America's love affair with mass incarceration

Joan Petersilia (Stanford) and Francis Cullen (Cincinnati): Liberal but Not Stupid: Meeting the Promise of Downsizing Prisons. Patrice A. Fulcher (Atlanta’s John Marshall): The Double Edged Sword of Prison Video Visitation: Claiming to Keep Families Together While Furthering the Aims of the Prison Industrial Complex. Elizabeth Bennion (BYU): Banning the Bing: Why Extreme Solitary Confinement Is Cruel and Far Too Usual Punishment. We know solitary confinement annihilates the minds of its victims

Paper Trail

The Baffler debuts a sleek new website this week, for the first time collecting its full digital archive from 1988 to the current issue, which includes: “25 issues, 432 contributors, 277 salvos, 450 graphics, 172 poems, 73 stories, 3,396 pages made of 1,342,785 words.” There’s something for every cheerful pessimist: Nicholson Baker’s “Dallas Killers Club,” say, or


Weird Sex

Vanessa RovetoThere's good sex and there's bad sex. And then there's weird sex—a Freudian purgatory that somehow neither stimulates the libido nor inhibits it. In art and life, we're inclined to seek out pleasure

Daily Review

Last Words from Montmartre

Nineteen years ago, at the age of twenty-six, the much-lauded Taiwanese novelist Qiu Miaojin killed herself. At the time of her death she was living in Paris, leading a lively and queer intellectual life very much like the narrator of her 161-page epistolary novel, Last Words from Montmartre. The sensational quality of the book's content in relation to its seeming parallels with Qiu Miaojin's life is an inextricable part of reading it.
  • Fear
    by Gabriel Chevallier


William T. Vollmann

William T. Vollmann's latest story collection considers death from a variety of perspectives, veering from realistic to supernatural, from reportage-like writing to the ghost story. Bookforum talks with the author about his new book, his FBI files, his ongoing research of coal mines and the environment, and his female persona, Delores.


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Benita Eisler & Sanford Schwartz discuss George Catlin


F for Fake

Brian Dillon

What exactly do we mean when we call an artist or writer a charlatan? What manner of truth is in question? Assuredly, an artistic or literary charlatan is not merely a fraud, a forger, or an impostor. Such quasi-criminal categories have their own clear-cut logic: The perpetrator either is or isn't what he purports to be. But an accusation of charlatanry points to something far more fundamental than a simple waywardness with the facts.