Evenings in Paris

There were no more than twenty or thirty people in the audience. To my surprise, I loved Godot—how could you not? Dick was beaming. I guess this had been… More

Peter Matthiessen: Story Lines

John Steinbeck’s admirable early work was an important part of my own formative reading: the grit of his descriptions, his deceptive simplicity, so free of the intrusive style that… More

A Mighty Heart

In 1933 John Steinbeck was so poor he couldn't afford a dog. The literary critic Lewis Gannett uncovered this fact in Steinbeck’s correspondence with his agents during the time… More

With Fire and Bare Hands

How do we speak to you who is our voice and still now. Too patient to laugh at us but smiling yes yes and the glass in your hand your steepled knee that elegant rag of… More

The Play’s the Thing: A Discussion

BEGINNINGSCHARLES MEE: I had polio when I was a kid, and up until I was fifteen I had never read anything but comic books. Then a high school English… More

The Real Story: Literary Fact and Fiction

CHARLES MCGRATH: It seems fair to say that we’re living in an age of porosity; the traditional boundaries between fact and fiction have become permeable, with factual narratives borrowing techniques… More

James Baldwin’s Grand Tour

In America I’m not really a private person. No, I’m a public person. And a public person cannot write. Writers always have to find a way to do their… More

One-Legged Walter

One-Legged WalterHe always made me wonder.Eyes crow-footed from sun,on snow.Body slumped,from slack times.He lived in Sullivan’s junk-yard,in a gutted ’51 Chevy.On the floorboard,tattered blankets, neatly sewn together,made his bed.Sunkist… More

Proust Regained

And now a translation of the opening passage composed for this occasion. Those of you who have tried to translate the first sentence will know that it is impossible.… More