Is it just us, or are people obsessed with William James these days? It seems like there’s a new book about him every other month.
Today, Columbia University awarded one of them the Bancroft Prize for excellence in American History: Robert D. Richardson's William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism (Houghton Mifflin).
(Hopefully this won’t Read More
The Master , by Colm Tóibín. Scribner, 352 pages, $25.
In his new novel, The Master , the Irish writer Colm Tóibín has undertaken a triply difficult task. Historical fiction poses one set of challenges, fiction about fiction-writers poses another. To attempt a novel about no less a figure than Henry James might Read More
I live on Hudson Street, north of Canal, pretty much in the exact spot where Jane Jacobs wrote her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities back in the 1960′s. The morning of Sept. 11-the morning that may change forever how Ms. Jacobs’ title resonates-a New York Post photographer and I scrambled onto Read More
The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America , by Louis Menand. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 546 pages, $27.
There’s a new book out about mauve, the color. Recently there was a history of the mirror. A book about longitude scaled the best-seller list last year. This is the trend: inflated trivia. The strategy Read More
God and the American Writer , by Alfred Kazin. Alfred A. Knopf, 272 pages, $25.
You would think that Alfred Kazin, on his pleasant stroll through the upscale neighborhoods of our literature, might feel encumbered by a grandiose title like God and the American Writer , but his book is relaxed and humble in its Read More