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From Speculations, a special issue on aesthetics in the 21st century. Sheeva Azma (Georgetown): Poverty and the Developing Brain: Insights from Neuroimaging. From Contemporary Pragmatism, Erin C. Tarver (Emory): Signifying “Hillary”: Making (Political) Sense with Butler and Dewey. Are American politics redeemable? Matthew Brandon Wolfson on Robert Gates, Hillary Clinton and two memoirs of Washington, DC. From The Monkey Cage, charges on an "imperial presidency" usually center on war and foreign

Paper Trail

South African novelist Nadine Gordimer died yesterday evening at her home in Johannesburg. She was 90. Rachel Aviv reviewed Gordimer’s Beethoven was One-Sixteenth Black for Bookforum in 2008. Germany has won the World Cup. The tournament was record-breaking for Univision, which has enjoyed very high numbers of viewers in Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, and New York. Even


Weird Sex

Vanessa RovetoThere's good sex and there's bad sex. And then there's weird sex—a Freudian purgatory that somehow neither stimulates the libido nor inhibits it. In art and life, we're inclined to seek out pleasure

Daily Review

Winners & Losers

When Gloria Emerson's sprawling portrait of the United States in the wake of the Vietnam War was first published, it was hailed as a classic. But it also inspired some strikingly hostile reviews. This vastly polarized response would suggest that one of Emerson's major arguments—she insisted, in despair and disgust, that the Vietnam War had made no significant impact on America or Americans—might itself be wrong.


William T. Vollmann

William T. Vollmann's latest story collection considers death from a variety of perspectives, veering from realistic to supernatural, from reportage-like writing to the ghost story. Bookforum talks with the author about his new book, his FBI files, his ongoing research of coal mines and the environment, and his female persona, Delores.


F for Fake

Brian Dillon

What exactly do we mean when we call an artist or writer a charlatan? What manner of truth is in question? Assuredly, an artistic or literary charlatan is not merely a fraud, a forger, or an impostor. Such quasi-criminal categories have their own clear-cut logic: The perpetrator either is or isn't what he purports to be. But an accusation of charlatanry points to something far more fundamental than a simple waywardness with the facts.