Almost fifty years after his death, J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973) remains a polarizing figure. His popular influence is unquestioned: he established, virtually singlehandedly, the modern genre of heroic fantasy.

We are used to seeing 1968 through the eyes of students in their early to mid-twenties. They protest government abuses, authoritarianism, racism, and the war in Vietnam; marching through Paris and Prague, these students announce a new political sensibility.

American poets today often remind us of other American poets. Few stand apart, chiefly because for now the common ground on which they stood in the first place has shrunk. The traditional commonality is a matter of form and technique, the mainstay of which is prosody …

Once, in the late sixteenth century when it was new, opera was conceived as a modern imitation of Greek tragedy and its subject matter was classical only. Serious operas remained that way through the eighteenth century, but by the nineteenth century almost any topic could be considered suitable for an opera plot.

The director Alice Rohrwacher, arguably one of the most interesting Italian filmmakers of the day, is having her moment. The Wonders (Le meraviglie) won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2014, and Happy as Lazzaro (Lazzaro felice) won Best Screenplay there in 2018. The Wonders tells the story of a family of beekeepers in rural Italy.

Charles Taylor

No contemporary filmmaker has shown the versatility of style and subject that Alfonso Cuarón has. Cuarón first got noticed in this country with his fourth film, Y Tu Mamá También, an earthy, raunchy road comedy that played as if Henry Miller had written an ode to the horny sons of the Mexico City bourgeoisie.

The question of what it means to be a Jewish American writer has as many answers as it does authors. Consider Isaac Bashevis Singer, then Cynthia Ozick; Bernard Malamud juxtaposed with Philip Roth; or Rebecca Goldstein and Allegra Goodman: magisterial, demotic, irreverent, earnest, schticky, obsessed, feminist …

Poets, Randall Jarrell quipped, are in the beginning hypotheses, in the middle facts, and in the end values. He meant (I think) that when you start writing seriously, or start publishing, you cannot, by definition, have a style that other readers recognize.

Rough Trade is a bricks-and-mortar store that stayed open during a fallow period of record buying to maintain a vital role in music consumers’ lives. The shop, off Brick Lane in East London, now functions as a prime organizer of musical genres–not simply by slotting CDs and vinyl albums …

To navigate James Baldwin’s enduring interest in novelistic adaptations is to live through a wide spectrum of emotions. In his 1976 movie-going memoir-cum-essay The Devil Finds Work, he notes feeling haunted by They Won’t Forget (1937), a movie based on the American novelist Ward Greene’s Death in the Deep South.