Essays

Essays

Apr 12th 2015

Finally, to the chagrin of Tom Cotton and Israel hawks, and the delight of Iranians, who reportedly launched firecrackers into the Tehran sky last week, a deal on Iran's controversial nuclear program has emerged. I for one am relieved.

Apr 11th 2015

At the age of 50, Henry James created a detailed portrait of an experimental novelist in old age, in his story "The Middle Years." Terminally ill, the novelist Dencombe receives in the mail the published version of what he realizes will be his final work, a novel titled The Middle Years.

Apr 9th 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin has a secret fascination with Leo Tolstoy.

Apr 4th 2015

Enough press attention has been given to the "religious freedom" laws in Indiana and Arkansas that there was initially little incentive to write more. That is, until conservatives reacted to opposition to the laws with an excess that is astonishing even for Fox News.

Apr 2nd 2015

A Tale of Two Cities

Three decades and five thousand miles separate two photographs.

Apr 2nd 2015

Pope Francis is poised, within the next two or three months, to announce one of the signature documents of his papacy, an encyclical on climate change. And we can hope and pray that it will be "world-changing" in the very best sense of that expression.

Mar 28th 2015

In my never-ending quest to become hip, cool and trendy -- and of course to feel younger and assuage the ravages of time -- I have subwayed to distant Williamsburg to eat at the latest bohemian restaurant, I have taxied to the Lower East Side to hear contemporary 

Mar 27th 2015
“Do I love you because you’re beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you?” muses the Prince to Cinderella in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. It’s a question that many great thinkers have struggled with in some form or another.
Mar 26th 2015

As the Middle East descends ever further into chaos, Rome suddenly finds itself in the crosshairs of Islamic State (IS).

Mar 24th 2015

LONDON – Is it acceptable for doctors to withhold information from their patients? Some claim that it is not only acceptable; it is desirable.
Mar 19th 2015

"Even siblings we don't see, who live differently from us, who move in their own world, may be shoring up our lives, our sense of family, our feeling of being at home in the world without our knowing it."

Mar 18th 2015
What qualifications do I have to review a restaurant, especially one with a Michelin star? None, really, except for the fact that I have eaten every meal out (I mean virtually every meal) for thirty years.
Mar 18th 2015

So a Rabbi and an Atheist walk into a bar.

Mar 17th 2015

Recently, a friend sent me a list of people who did great things when they were old. It was a friendly gesture, meant to support my belief that it is possible to age "successfully." The list included Bizet, Cervantes, Cezanne, Churchill, El Greco, Rembrandt and Tennyson. Quite a group!

Mar 17th 2015

Paul Cézanne famously declared "I seek in painting." He spoke of his art in almost spiritual terms, as a quest to reach the distant goal he referred to as "realization." In a letter of 1904, the 65-year old master wrote that "I progress very slowly, for nature reveals herself to me in very comple

Mar 13th 2015
Senator Inhofe (R-Okla.) pitched a snowball on the floor of the United States Senate last month.

This was his way of disputing that 2014 was the warmest year on earth and that human-caused c

Mar 11th 2015

Parasites, pedants and superfluous men and women.
Mar 8th 2015

The French writer Marcel Aymé once wrote a short story in which the population of a small town, starving to death, suddenly discovered that if they looked at a painting of food with enough intensity, they would feel nourished, as if they'd eaten whatever was depicted on the canvas.

Mar 7th 2015

Every year I hope that someone like you or I will be celebrated on International Women’s Day. But it never happens.

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