Marriage in the Movies of Stanley Kubrick

David Mikics— We usually don’t remember that Stanley Kubrick made movies about marriage, but he did. Three of his films center on a married couple, and all of them are masterpieces: Barry Lyndon, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrick had half a century of experience of married life, and

Continue reading…

The High Middle Ages

Steven Ozment— If experimentation and preservation characterized the early Middle Ages, self-discovery and definition marked the high Middle Ages (1000–1300). In this period Western people began to assert their identity as they came to know and impose themselves on others. Two larger developments made this possible. The first was the

Continue reading…

A Personal Canon: Susan A. Phillips on Five Influential Texts

One of my favorite things in life is an accidentally curated small shelf of books in a place like a hotel or a break room. When I was thirteen, my family and I lived in Rome for a year and wound up in an apartment with just such a collection.

Continue reading…

Trouble in Sant’Anna

Luigi Pirandello— Without knowing how or why, one fine day Jaco Naca found himself the owner of the whole sunny hillside below the city, from which there was a magnificent view of the open countryside, of hills and valleys and plains, and in the distance the sea, far away, after

Continue reading…

Diabetes among Native Americans

Arleen Marcia Tuchman— Like African Americans, Native Americans did not suffer from diabetes. At least, that was the nearly universal belief in the first decades of the twentieth century. Not that they were healthy. Tuberculosis was ravaging their communities. Trachoma, enteritis, and other infectious diseases were rampant as well. But

Continue reading…

The Meetings of Mussolini and Hitler

Christian Goeschel— The meetings between Mussolini and Hitler were robust projections of an aggressive challenge to the Wilsonian post-war order. The Fascist and Nazi regimes defied lurking tensions to promote a powerful image of unity, a unity symbolised by the dictatorial friends meeting amidst their peoples – in marked contrast

Continue reading…

Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate

Alexandra Popoff— Vasily Grossman began Life and Fate, a powerful anti-totalitarian novel, when Stalin was still alive. Back then he had no prospect of publication. But after the dictator’s death, when the regime admitted half truths about Stalin’s crimes, there was a glimmer of hope. Despite knowing that the repressive

Continue reading…

The Perils of Peacemaking

Paul A. Rahe— It is much easier to initiate a great war than to end one. Even when an attempt to do the latter seems, to the unsuspecting glance, to be an unqualified success, it frequently lays the foundations for a renewal of the struggle. The origins of the Second

Continue reading…

The Lizzie and Its Founder

Walter Goffart— Yale’s Elizabethan Club was founded in 1911, a big year not just at Yale. A pandemic in Manchuria was an unpromising start. This pneumonic plague was fully checked by the wearing of cloth facial masks. A tragic note was struck again by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in

Continue reading…