Literature

A Tribute to Theodore Margellos

John Donatich— The recent passing of Theodore Margellos sent me to my bookshelf to look at the Margellos World Republic of Letters volumes lined up side by side. Together, they form a considerable library, with Yale and Margellos imprints on their spines. These books are among my most prized possessions.

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From Dante to Disney

José María Pérez Fernández and Edward Wilson-Lee— A few days ago, a subsecretary in the newly-installed Italian government led by Mario Draghi tweeted out to followers an inspiring message which showed the continuing relevance of the great poet Dante to our present day: “Chi si ferma è perduto, mille anni

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A Conversation with Marilyn Booth

This month, Yale University Press published Voices of the Lost by Hoda Barakat, a chilling novel that weaves together a series of devastating confessions about life in contemporary Arab society.  Set in an unnamed, war-torn country, the novel consists of six letters—all intercepted by unintended recipients, all of whom are compelled

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A Poem for Spring

Spring officially arrived this past weekend, bringing with it the reminder that roughly one year has passed since the United States first entered lockdown. Maya C. Popa’s poem, “Spring,” recalls that initial period when time and season seemed to “persist” without us. It suggests the grief and isolation felt amidst

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The Orphanage

Last month, Yale University Press published The Orphanage by Serhiy Zhadan, translated from the Ukrainian by Reilly Costigan-Humes and Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler.  Recalling the brutal landscape of The Road and the wartime storytelling of A Farewell to Arms, The Orphanage is a searing novel that excavates the human collateral damage wrought by the ongoing conflict

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George Eliot vs. Shakespeare’s Empathetic Imagination

Paula Marantz Cohen— Before I ever read Shakespeare, I read George Eliot. I was inspired to study Victorian literature by George Eliot’s novel, Middlemarch. I love all Eliot’s work, and I especially love Middlemarch. Yet I want to argue with the general belief that Eliot is a hugely empathetic writer. Eliot shows a

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Police Before “The Police”

Sal Nicolazzo— In his Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue, and Arms—the precursor to The Wealth of Nations—Adam Smith defines “the objects of police” as “the cheapness of commodities, public security and cleanliness.” This broad mandate for “police”—most of which has little or nothing to do with crime prevention—may sound idiosyncratic to

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A Conversation with Hoda Barakat

Next month, Yale University Press is pleased to publish Voices of the Lost by Hoda Barakat, translated from the Arabic by Marilyn Booth, a novel that weaves together a series of devastating confessions about life in contemporary Arab society. We sat down with Hoda to discuss the relationship between literature and

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Making Room for Books

Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen— When in 1656 Rembrandt was forced to declare bankruptcy, a full inventory was made of all of his remaining possessions. Among the paintings, furniture and household goods at the house on the Breestraat, were only twenty-two books. By this time Rembrandt, one of the

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Heinrich Heine

George Prochnik— What’s life without glory, blazing love affairs, and apple tarts? That’s to say, what is life without song and true liberation for all? Heinrich Heine at thirteen, diminutive and dashing with wavy chestnut hair and a passion for play, charged into the crowd beneath the linden trees of

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