Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Demons

In university and in the many years since my graduation, I have had the repeated and uncomfortable experience of encountering human beings incapable of uttering an original thought. Otherwise intelligent, rational people, once confronted with a given political or philosophical […]

Virginia Woolf’s The Moment And Other Essays

In the last three or four years of trawling used book stores, estate sales and library fundraisers, no single find has been more felicitous than a complete set of Virginia Woolf’s essays, in such pristine condition as if they had […]

Clarice Lispector’s Complete Stories

Not even five years ago now, the name of Clarice Lispector was everywhere. A new biography and English translations of her most popular works were rescuing her from a provincial obscurity her talent was always destined to transcend, finding her […]

Russell Kirk’s The Roots Of American Order

Conservative philosopher Russell Kirk’s opus on American “order” appeared in 1974, a year of remarkable disorder: Vietnam divided the nation, university protests disrupted classes and frequently drew the attentions of the National Guard, and Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. The […]

Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped

Jesmyn Ward first came to my attention through her 2011 interview in The Paris Review, where she boldly staked her claim not to the parochial concerns of race or gender – however valuable these may be – but to the […]

José Saramago’s Blindness

Before his death in 2010, at the age of 87, the Portuguese novelist José Saramago was one of the world’s most decorated writers, winner of both the Nobel Prize and the prestigious America Award. His books have sold millions of […]

John Williams’ Nothing But The Night

My infatuation with John Williams continues, this time with his first novel, Nothing But The Night, written when he was just 22 years old, stationed in Burma during the Second World War. Even that statement downplays the conditions of its […]

Mark Lilla’s The Stillborn God

A gulf has opened up, within the Western world, between those who believe that religion ought to have a role in determining the political ends pursued by a nation, and those who have done everything in their power to restrain […]

Ryszard Kapuściński’s The Emperor

Who was Ryszard Kapuściński? The small biography appended to the end of The Emperor is admittedly terse: “Ryszard Kapuściński was born in 1932. During four decades reporting on Asia, Latin America, and Africa, he befriended Che Guevara, Salvador Allende, and […]

Mircea Eliade’s A History Of Religious Ideas (Vol.1)

In my continuing effort to shore up the glaring gaps in my education, I arrived at the work of Mircea Eliade, perhaps the 20th century’s most famous scholar of religion. Born in Bucharest, Romania, in 1907, Eliade manifested an early […]