Humanities

The View from the Postcolonial Caucasus

Rebecca Gould— High in the mountains running along the border between Azerbaijan and Georgia, in the garrison town of Zaqatala, former outpost of the famed Imam Shamil who in the mid-nineteenth century led the longest resistance to Russian rule, I meet an elderly woman crossing the street. “Come inside and

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The Lesser-Known Works of Miguel de Cervantes

Roberto González Echevarría— Twelve brilliant short novels, packed with compelling plots and fascinating characters, redolent with literary games of the greatest variety and sophistication, were the author of Don Quixote’s response to his suddenly acquired fame. It was a new kind of book, never seen before in the Spanish language,

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How The Nutcracker Can Help Heal Post-Election America

Jennifer Fisher— Heading into the holiday season, many Americans will have tickets for The Nutcracker, or at least they will be considering which of the twelve nearby versions to see. The ballet features a Christmas party, children having fun, and candy dances, so why not? At the same time, in

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A Closer Look at Contemporary Greek Fiction

Today, we’re highlighting two works of contemporary Greek fiction published in English through our Margellos series: Thanassis Vatinos’s Orthokostá and Zyranna Zateli’s At Twilight They Return. First released in 1994 to a storm of controversy, Orthokostá defied standard interpretations of the Greek Civil War. Through the documentary-style testimonies of multiple narrators, among them

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Bob Dylan: Reluctant Prophet

David Yaffe— The biggest misconception about Dylan, among the unbelievers, is that his cawing derision is somehow an impediment to appreciation. The second biggest (and this is among the believers) is that he is a poet before he is a lyricist and a performer, and that the latter two represent

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Religion and the State in China

Chloë Starr— Religion in China is closely managed by legislation. Unlike the U.S., where church and state are technically separate, the Chinese state governs religion just as it governs other areas of life. So when new legislation on religion comes out, everyone gets a little nervous. (“Everyone” means those in

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From Sinophobia to Sinophilia

Albert Wu— Consider the following stereoscopic photograph, taken by the famous travel photographer James Ricalton in 1900 and published by the popular distributor Underwood and Underwood in a box set called China Through the Stereoscope. On first glance, the photograph appears to be a typical example of orientalist travel photography

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Foreigners and Strangers: Irène Némirovsky’s Jewish Protagonists

Susan Suleiman— The French word étranger means both “foreigner” and “stranger,” meanings that overlap but are not synonymous. One can be a stranger to a community or group without being a foreigner, while some foreigners are not strangers to a given individual or group—many people have foreign friends. But both

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Writing Children’s Stories in Wartime

The following entries are excerpted from War Diaries, 1939-1945 (Yale University Press, 2016), a transcription of the personal diaries of Astrid Lindgren, author of the Pippi Longstocking books. Illustrated with family photographs, newspaper clippings, and facsimile pages, Lindgren’s diaries provide an intensely personal and vivid account of Europe during the Second World War. ∞

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The Success Gospel of Norman Vincent Peale and Donald Trump

Christopher Lane— “Trust God, have faith, stick it out.” In the depths of the Great Depression, following years of worry and instability, these words by Norman Vincent Peale were a balm to millions of Americans. They offered hope and encouragement, paired belief in oneself with a sunnier future for all,

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