Not far into the second part of Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes offers a lexical bouquet to the photographer responsible for the sepia print of his late mother, Henriette, at age five, in which floated "something like an essence of the Photograph." What the "unknown photographer of Chennevières-sur-Marne"
In the final days of the Soviet Union, when the old icons were fast decaying and any future ones were frantically packing off to escape the ruins, the guardians of Russia's past had few relics to showcase. One of the last heroes standing, a Stalin Prize winner and two-time Hero of Socialist Labor,
Simon Reynolds's collection of interviews and essays, Totally Wired, sheds further light on the author's definitive book on post-punk, 2006's Rip It Up and Start Again. In its best chapters, Totally Wired is so conversational and discursive that it's possible to get lost in all the interconnections,
In "Self Portrait with Cheese," a story from Frederic Tuten's new collection, the narrator tries to give bears a seminar in the "history of humankind." But the bears, freshly escaped from the circus, soon grow bored of both his teachings and their newfound life of ease. They resolve to return to the
Sam Harris heads the youth wing of the New Atheists. "The End of Faith," his blistering take-no-prisoners attack on the irrationality of religions, found him many fans and, not surprisingly, a great body of detractors.
Since its christening in the late 1980s by science-fiction writer K. W. Jeter, the steampunk subgenre has undergone few changes to its gaslight-romance-by-way-of-Wired formula. Along with Jeter, authors James Blaylock and Tim Powers translated the dystopian fables of William Gibson and Philip K. Dick
In early February of 1962, poet Ted Berrigan, age twenty-seven and virtually unpublished, drove from New York to New Orleans to visit his friend Dick Gallup, a student at Tulane. (They had met in Oklahoma. The two of them, along with Joe Brainard and Ron Padgett, would eventually be affectionately
"I hate 'classical music': not the thing but the name," writes Alex Ross in the opening chapter of his new book, Listen to This. "It traps a tenaciously living art in a theme park of the past. It cancels out the possibility that music in the spirit of Beethoven could still be created today . . . [
What do you call a revival that never ends? Over the past two decades, publishers have added three biographies of H. L. Mencken—Mencken: A Life by Fred Hobson, The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken by Terry Teachout, and Mencken: The American Iconoclast by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers—to the three or
The jacket copy of Leslie Brody's new biography Irrepressible will tell you that Jessica Mitford, or Decca, as she was nicknamed, was "yoked to every important event for nearly all of the twentieth century." This is a bit much, but it's true that Mitford witnessed some of the century's major events.