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literature



  • Sending Trump to Hell

    by Ariel Dorfman

    How would the earthly transgressions of Donald Trump fit into the schema of eternal punishment Dante described? 



  • How Saidiya Hartman Retells the History of Black Life

    The literary scholar Saidiya Hartman's studies of the aftermath of slavery and the African diaspora point to the limits of archival records for understanding historical Black experience. Some historians question whether her methods fill archival gaps too creatively.



  • Stories of Then That Still Hold Up Now

    Margaret Atwood, Héctor Tobar, Thomas Mallon and Brenda Wineapple on older political novels they admire that have a lot to say about the world today.



  • When Plague Is Not a Metaphor

    by Hunter Gardner

    It's not always a blessing when current events make a researcher's specialty suddenly and urgently relevant. 


  • “A Very Different Story”: Marian Sims and Reconstruction

    by David B. Parker

    Marian Sims's 1942 historical novel Beyond Surrender was not nearly as popular as Gone with the Wind. But it reminds us today of a history that might have been--both during Reconstruction and in the popular portrayal of the period.



  • The Tangled History of Illness and Idiocy

    by Jessi Jezewska Stevens

    Opining in public on things you don’t really understand is a form of idiocy in which Americans, in particular, are known to indulge.


  • Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year and the Year of COVID-19

    by Frank Palmeri

    Defoe's accomplishment as a work of history lies not so much in the accuracy of its numbers or facts as in its power as a work of fiction, in the observing eye and skeptical intelligence of H.F., and in the stories he tells, which convey through common language and the details of common life what it was like to live through the plague.