The Day I Finally Met Baldwin

The 1960s opened propitiously for me, and for my country, Nigeria. In 1960 Nigeria freed itself, at last, from British colonial rule. I published my second novel, and proved… More

The Consolations of Art

No matter how strange Proust’s life might have been, it has been subsumed, as he hoped, into the radiant vision of it that he presented in his writing. Nevertheless,… More

Herself and Strangers

Who’s afraid of Gertrude Stein? I’m not, nor, I trust, are you. We’re paying tribute tonight to a Stein who may, at last, no longer be avoided and pigeonholed… More

Theories of Relativity

Marcel Proust lived from 1871 to 1922, an era that he characterized as the Age of Speed. These exciting, momentous years encompassed the Fin de Siècle, Belle Epoch, and… 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

Toward Total Recall

Was it in the summer? It probably was . . . when you thought you had enough time on your hands to fill them with a book, when an unappointed… More

Nikki Giovanni: Making James Baldwin

This excerpt is part of the Twentieth-Century Masters Tribute to James Baldwin, sponsored by PEN American Center and Lincoln Center, with The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture… 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

Parce Que C’était Lui

The little phrase I’m about to read comes from a famous passage in Sodom and Gomorrah when Marcel the narrator is suddenly reminded of his grandmother. He had stayed… More

Unwearied Blues

Langston Hughes wrote “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” when he was eighteen years of age and published it when he was nineteen—in 1921, in W. E. B. Du Bois’s… More