Author Archive

Pasternak: the People’s Poet

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Boris Pasternak is best known for writing Doctor Zhivago, a novel which documents these years of national upheaval through the eyes of a poet and physician. Like his eponymous character, Pasternak was famous in his native Russia for his verses.

Mindfulness and Rainer Maria Rilke

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Often cited as self-help before the genre existed, Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet contain much wisdom in few pages.

The Age Gap in 19th Century Literature

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Mona Chalabi's op-ed for the NYTimes states that as women age, they examine the dating profiles of their contemporaries, while men, no matter their ages, peruse photos of women in their early 20’s.

“What Shall We Do Before Eternity?”

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It’s an upsetting premise: The estranged parents of Ninon, a twenty-three-year-old woman dying of AIDS, travel across Europe to attend her wedding in Italy.

The Reckless Romanticism of Mary Wollstonecraft

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The collected letters Mary Wollstonecraft wrote to Gilbert Imlay from 1791 to 1795 are not as widely read as her political and travel writings. Still, they offer precious glimpses of a lively, intellectual eighteenth-century woman in the midst of heartbreak, pregnancy, motherhood, and a blooming writing career.

Ages of Love

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Pablo Neruda’s rivers and seas are far from skyscrapers and train lines. His verdant island isn’t much like Eileen Myles’s neon city, where rivers tend to be placid and not ones in which to dip the toes of your feet.

Female Eroticism in The Wallcreeper and The Argonauts

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What’s missing in the literary world, especially when it comes to women, is a dialogue around anal sex.

The Zen Leopard

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Lately, it seems mindfulness is next to godliness. For many, concentrating time on a rich inner life is an antidote for overstimulation—the meditation smart phone app serving as a one-swipe pharmacy for this modern malady.

The Chapter in THE SECOND SEX Men Should Read

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Up until recently, I’d always stacked Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex on the same mental shelf as War and Peace and In Search of Lost Time—books unwieldy in size and densely written, requiring a nearly extinct attention span.

Laurence Sterne’s Beating Hearts

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Though it’s less travel writing and more personal memoir, Laurence Sterne’s A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY contains one of the most authentic, challenging descriptions of why one might journey from their home in the first place.