Isaiah Berlin split intellectuals into two groups: foxes, who know a great deal about many things, and hedgehogs, who know one big thing. But I wonder if there isn’t a third type, too, mysterious and misunderstood: the individual who knows a great deal about one thing—and that thing is herself.
Leela, the young exotic dancer at the center of "Beautiful Thing," is a genius of vulgarity. In this intimate and valuable book of literary reportage by Sonia Faleiro nearly every word out of Leela's mouth is spit like a cartoon hornet. Few of these sentences, alas, are publishable here.
On December 9, 2011, the ABC News program 20/20 aired a dramatic report from India, presented by the show’s Emmy Award–winning anchor Elizabeth Vargas. In an uncharacteristically long piece devoted to social issues in a foreign country not recently liberated from tyranny by an American
"Whatever I wrote was surrounded by rays of light," a young Raymond Roussel told his psychoanalyst, Pierre Janet. "I used to close the curtains, for I was afraid that the shining rays emanating from my pen might escape into the outside world through even the smallest chink; I wanted suddenly to throw
I. IN HER NOVELS AND in her nonfiction essays, Marilynne Robinson's questions are always roughly the same: Who are we, and where did we come from? The first is a matter of metaphysics, the second of history. At least since the publication of her first collection of essays, The Death of Adam
Somebody always takes it about as far as it'll go, and no one took the hard-boiled farther than Paul Cain. Cain's entire contribution to the genre — a slim novel and 14 stories, some of which haven't seen print since the 1930s — is now available as The Complete Slayers from Centipede Press.
As befits a well-practiced and much-lauded controversialist, Michel Houellebecq’s novel The Map and the Territory first incited a mini-hubbub over plagiarism upon its publication last year in France, then went on to win the Prix Goncourt. The lifted sections (as Houellebecq readily acknowledged) were
It should come as no surprise that Ben Marcus has written a novel about language toxicity—a language plague that kills any adult within range of words, speech, text, even emotive gesture. From the author of Notable American Women (2002), itself a venture in derangements of language, we should have
I first heard of Patti Smith in 1971, when I was seventeen. The occasion was an unsigned half-column item in the New York Flyer, a short-lived local supplement to Rolling Stone, marking the single performance of Cowboy Mouth, a play she cowrote and costarred in with Sam Shepard, and it was possibly
On a frigid January evening in 2009, a week before his Inauguration, Barack Obama had dinner at the home of George Will, the Washington Post columnist, who had assembled a number of right-leaning journalists to meet the President-elect. Accepting such an invitation was a gesture on Obama's part that