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The Brooklyn Rail’s Player-of-the-Year, 2012

Volumes of horse race punditry notwithstanding, the 2012 presidential campaign seemed like anything but a day at the track. Instead it felt more like we were waiting at the 18th hole in a golf tournament that kept getting rain delayed.

My Wounded Constitution

I have memories of who I once was, but they are beginning to fade from me. I hear words like lawyer and writer and they fall from me like dead fruit.

In Conversation

PANKAJ MISHRA with Hirsh Sawhney

For the past 20 years, author Pankaj Mishra has been exposing how India’s two main political parties have marginalized ethnic and religious minorities and failed to alleviate poverty in an era of rapid economic growth.

Reading Eugene Genovese in the Age of Occupy

Eugene D. Genovese—leading historian of slavery, son of Bensonhurst, graduate of Brooklyn College—died in September at age 82. Although many remembrances of Genovese have focused on his political transition from card-carrying Communist to Catholic cultural conservative, a close look at a concept underlying his work reveals more continuity than change.

Searching for the “I” in History

In the fall of 1944, T.S. Eliot gave his presidential address to the Virgil Society in London, an event that J.M. Coetzee historicized in his essay “What is a Classic?” During the address, Eliot argued for an understanding of Western Europe as a single civilization descending from the Roman Empire, and purported his belief that its definitive classic must therefore be Virgil’s Aeneid.

His Mother’s Son

It takes all of three sentences of Richard Russo’s new memoir, Elsewhere, for the Pulitzer Prize winner to confirm what even his most casual reader must suspect: This is a man who grew up among the shuttered factories and potholed souls that make up his fiction.

Twentieth-Century Blues

It is hard to write a review of someone’s diaries without it turning into a review of the diarist himself. The critic, ideally, is not in the business of reviewing the content of the writer’s character. But in the case of diaries, it is precisely the writer’s identity that is on display.

America’s First Foodie

It’s hard to overstate the influence that Julia Child had on the American food landscape. The engine or inspiration behind countless cookbooks and television shows, Julia was a one-woman industry decades before such a thing even existed.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 12-JAN 13

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