Langston Hughes’ Selected Poems

Langston Hughes remains the most beloved and well-known poet of the Harlem Renaissance, a period spanning roughly from the end of the First World War to the beginning of the Great Depression. Hughes was concerned with promoting a positive black […]

John Barth’s Lost In The Funhouse

John Barth, like Donald Barthelme, is another writer whose influence has managed to outstrip his fame. Rightly acknowledged as a master of postmodernist fiction, he remains little read by the general public, probably because of his formal difficulty. And yet Lost […]

Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

I first read Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass in 2005, on the 150th anniversary of its publication, and I must confess that it confused me unlike any poetic work I had yet read. Shakespeare, Tennyson, Keats, Poe – these were the poets […]

David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln

David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln, a one-volume biography of America’s 16th and most celebrated president, has been deservedly praised beyond what meager tribute I could hope to offer. I will content myself by saying that this book is a labor of love, […]

Alan Sokol & Jean Bricmont’s Fashionable Nonsense

In 1996, Alan Sokol published a paper in the prestigious academic journal Social Text arguing that quantum gravity is a “social and linguistic construct,” less a fact about the universe than an opinion or perspective, and one requiring “feminist and poststructuralist deconstruction” […]

Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer

First, some words on Eric Hoffer. He was born in 1902 in the Bronx, the child of poor German immigrants. By the age of five, he learned to read in both English and German, but one day, while carrying him […]

Donald Barthelme’s Forty Stories

Donald Barthelme is perhaps one of America’s most influential unread authors. He is not often canonized in “best of” lists, rarely named as someone’s favorite writer, and yet his influence over fiction in America is undeniable. His short stories have […]

Thomas Sowell’s Black Rednecks And White Liberals

Thomas Sowell is something of an iconoclast, but in the best possible way. He is ferociously intelligent, erudite in more disciplines than many can master in a lifetime, and articulate, in speech and writing, to a degree that causes me […]

Sigmund Freud’s Civilization And Its Discontents

Civilization And Its Discontents, although among the last of Freud’s output, remains amongst his most influential and widely read works, probably because it does not stand or fall on Freudian psychoanalytic theory but can profitably be read as a philosophical […]

John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty

John Stuart Mill was one of the 19th century’s most important philosophers and a paragon of academic devotion and moral rigor. He wrote extensively on the social issues of the day, particularly on slavery and women’s rights, and defended his […]