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literature



  • 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. 


  • George Orwell, 70 Years Later

    by John Rodden

    Would the visionary author of Nineteen Eighty-Four have ever imagined that George Orwell might become the most important writer since Shakespeare and the most influential writer who ever lived? 


  • Ross Douthat's Prescription for Academia Won't Solve the Real Problem

    by Ed Simon

    Humanities departments have shrunk, tenure track jobs have disappeared, and the academy has increasingly come to rely upon an exploited underclass of contingent, part-time faculty. The argument of who exactly is responsible for this state of affairs rages on, but New York Times columnist Ross Douthat insists he knows the answer.


  • Can America Recapture Its Signature Exuberance?

    by Tracy Dahlby

    Walt Whitman understood transcendence of national mood is an uphill climb. Periods of division and strife sort new realities into a renovated sense of purpose. Yet periods of upheaval must necessarily lead to a refitting, not obliteration, of our common story or democracy is toast.