In the middle of Europe

Mark Dincecco (Michigan): The Rise of Effective States in Europe. Isaac Nakhimovsky (Yale): A Republic of Cuckoo Clocks: Switzerland and the History of Liberty. Gabor Halmai (Eotvos Lorand): An Illiberal Constitutional System in the Middle of Europe. Pal Czegledi (Debrecen): Is an Anti-Capitalistic Mentality Cultural? The Case of Hungarians Inside and Outside Hungary in the World Values Survey. Veronika Dumbrovska and Dana Fialova (Charles): Tourist Intensity in Capital Cities in Central Europe

Paper Trail

In honor of its 150th anniversary, The Nation, which published its first issue on July 1, 1865, is publishing a celebratory issue that features articles by James Baldwin, Barbara Ehrenreich, Toni Morrison, Howard Zinn, among others, and is available as a free PDF download. Prospect magazine asked its readers to name their favorite “world thinkers,”


Andre Dubus's best characters

Bibi DeitzAndre Dubus's literary superpower is to hit upon that one thing about a character that makes him him, or her her. And in so doing, with subtle, clever details—breadcrumbs on the trail to the nucleus

Daily Review

Girl in a Band

Kim Gordon has been the object of many a projective fantasy. As she writes in her appealingly melancholy, nicely open-ended memoir, Girl in a Band, she has perhaps most often been seen as "detached, impassive, or remote," a woman "nothing could upset or hurt."


Jacob Rubin

Writing fiction about an impersonator is like playing Russian roulette with an allegory gun. Those who survive, whose books don't lapse into neat parables of the process of writing, tend to be brilliant. Examples include George Saunders (CivilWarLand in Bad Decline), Tom McCarthy (Remainder), and Pynchon (the reenactment of Alpdrucken in Gravity's Rainbow). The latest is Jacob Rubin, with his new novel The Poser, about the rise and fall of a gifted impressionist.


Repetition Compulsion

Namara Smith

Elena Ferrante is often asked about the classical influences in her work, and reading her early novels you can see why. They are strikingly compressed and spare, set largely in enclosed, almost anonymous, spaces that evoke the stage of a Greek drama, their focus turned inward. The Neapolitan series takes a different tack, resembling not the claustrophobic Greek tragedy but the expansive epic.