Jabari Asim

In my childhood home, we were not allowed to call each other liars. It fueled my father’s indignation. Slung with the casual malice that only bickering siblings can summon, Liar! somehow set off a warning beacon, alerting my father wherever he was.

Cailin O’Connor
James Owen Weatherall

Roger Revelle was one of the most distinguished oceanographers of the twentieth century. During World War II, he served in the navy, eventually rising to the rank of commander and director of the Office of Naval Research–a scientific arm of the navy that Revelle helped create.

Frederick Douglass
David W. Blight

Late in 1854, and especially during the first half of 1855, Frederick Douglass spent many weeks at his desk writing his ultimate declaration of independence, My Bondage and My Freedom, his second, more thorough and revealing autobiography.

Deborah Baker

Hatibagan, 139 Cornwallis Street, Calcutta, Early Twentieth Century

Calcutta, the capital of the province of Bengal, was once known as the Second City of Empire. Like London, the First City of Empire, it sat astride a river, the Hooghly, that carried traffic rivaling the Thames.

Tom Sleigh


I wanted to blow up the tanks of words, the RPGs of words, the bayonets of words that had only

one definition, one derivation, one root that went back before  .  .  .

Lyric Distance in Owen’s “Anthem for Doomed Youth”
Adam Keller

In the preface to his then unpublished oeuvre, Wilfred Owen characterized his poems as elegies, a move that has sparked much debate among his few devoted critics about the generic boundaries of his work.

or, Foam on the Wave
Lily Tuck

On my mother’s side, I am related to the Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn was born in Dessau, Germany, in 1729. By the age of six, despite many health problems, which included scoliosis, he had learned the entire Bible by heart.

Susan Sontag, in an essay called “Afterlives” published in The New Yorker in 1990, called Joaquin Maria Machado de Assis, who, along with journalist Euclides da Cunha, was Brazil’s most famous nineteenth-century literary figure  .  .  . 

J. D. McClatchy

Because I was the eldest child in my family, and because my father was off fighting in the Pacific, my mother kept an elaborate Baby Book, recording my earliest this and latest that. A few years ago, in a forgotten attic box, she discovered the book and sent it to me.

J. D. McClatchy

I hesitate before starting with this particular detail. I want to begin with what for me was a simple fact but what to others may seem a tiresome metaphor. The psychiatrists didn’t invent this metaphor, but I suppose they helped popularize and therefore trivialize it.