Of the major German-language writers of the past century, we may have a harder time pinning down the satirist Karl Kraus, who sat in judgment over the hothouse of Vienna from its combustible fin de siècle to the run-up to the Anschluss, than any other. We shouldn’t feel bad about it. Forever
Barbara Stanwyck had many gifts, but none was more central to her career than her capacity to communicate feeling in a way that seemed artless and unmediated. Her performances in a remarkable range of films are well known, or at least available for inspection. Her life, sometimes traumatic, was more opaque. Some actors disport or destroy themselves in spectacular ways; some go to war; some go into politics. Stanwyck just worked.
G. K. CHESTERTON ONCE distinguished between travelers, who “see what they see,” and tourists, “who see what they have come to see.” For this special issue of Bookforum, we asked writers to choose traveling over tourism—to meditate on a place and, most important, to look. The contributors raise
THERE'S A MAN WHO BEGS on the corner of Apollonia and Kitchener in Troyeville. As you’re waiting for the lights to change, he’ll suddenly appear between the cars. His bare feet and his head are as big as a grown man’s, but he’s no taller than a six-year-old. To attract attention he reaches
“THE CITY WILL FOLLOW YOU,” says Cavafy’s most famous poem, and it’s difficult not to agree, especially when we’ve spent our whole lives roaming and looking at the same streets. I love Santiago, sometimes I think I couldn’t live anywhere else, but like most people who live here I admit
DON'T LOOK NOW is a 1973 film shot in Venice starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as an English couple staying in La Serenissima after their young daughter’s accidental drowning. The movie’s Venice has no tourists. It’s winter. The sky is overcast, without a hint of titian pink. The
Going off the grid has always been an American aspiration. From the Quakers who fled English persecution, to David Koresh, who vainly hoped to build his own world in Waco, Texas, to that earlier generation of Texans who with the help of the US Army tore themselves away from the feeble Mexican grid,
The more nonfiction you read, and from further back in time, the harder it gets to pronounce the word "new" in New Journalism with a straight face. I'm thinking partly here of pieces like Ned Ward's "Trip to Jamaica," 1698—Edward Ward, seminal Grub Street hack, writing sarcastically and in a detail-studded first-person prose, a reportorial style that pointed forward to Defoe while listening to Bunyan, about an actual trip he'd made to Jamaica with other prospective settlers. Sixteen ninety-eight—that's early.
In Just Kids Patti Smith explains how, in the late 1960s, she and Robert Mapplethorpe met in New York, where they were both determined to become artists (were pretty convinced, actually, that they already were artists) even though they hadn’t a clue about what kind of art they might create. Mike