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The Wet Flame of Your Tongue: Translating Yvan Goll
NAN WATKINS with Tony Leuzzi

Here was a writer who absorbed and transcended aspects related to the most salient literary movements in European literature from the first half of the 20th century.

Village People

John Strausbaugh has assembled a treasure trove of personality profiles and gossipy tidbits covering the nearly 400-year history of what is broadly identified as Greenwich Village.

The Status is Quo

Matthew Frazier’s *****Original Message***** doesn’t try to mystify, confuse, or control, and that’s a good thing in a world as ironically detached as ours.

Speaking of Evil

Just over a month after watching CNN get pilloried by rival media for its sympathetic coverage of two convicted teenage rapists in Steubenville, Ohio, I found myself glued to the television as every media outlet filled the tense hours following the identification of the Boston marathon bombers with bland updates, vague live-video angles, pointless maps, and whatever information they could scrounge up about who these young men were.

Kafka’s Campus

From a pair of tall towers, a German university is ruled by the brilliant and controversial President Ihre Magnifizenz (German for “Your Magnificence”), who commands the fear (and trembling) of her many existential deans, including the Dean of Why I Am Here, the Dean of Let Me Have It, the Dean of I Can’t Take Any More, the Dean of Oh Lord What Are We Do To Do Now That Our Rope Has Ended, the Dean of Why Must We Go On With This, The Dean of I Can’t Go On, and The Dean of Fear and Trembling himself.

Searching for the Man Behind the Cat

If you’ve heard of Erwin Schrödinger, and your knowledge of physics is limited to a dimly remembered high school class, it’s probably because of his hypothetical cat.

Now the Story of a Wealthy Family Who Lost Everything

Toward the end of The Astor Orphan, as Alexandra Aldrich, a descendant of the Astor, Chanler, and Livingston families (among others), prepares for her boarding school interviews at the age of 14, she describes her life.

Something Has Happened

Aphoria is an antiquated term synonymous with barren, specifically regarding female reproduction. There’s also aporia, which is (according to “A figure of speech in which the speaker expresses or purports to be in doubt about a question,” plus there’s aphasia, having to do with language disorders, losing the ability to speak, etc.

The Way We Weren’t

It’s not strictly true to say that humankind came from apes—after all, apes aren’t what apes once were—but it is accurate to point out that we share a common ancestor both with chimpanzees and with bonobos. The single fact commonly learned about bonobos is that they engage in polyamorism with partners of both sexes.

Sideways as a State of Being

On the cover of Gregory Spatz’s new story collection Half as Happy is a black-and-white photograph of a couple. The woman (her one-piece suit says ’50s) sits knees aligned on a twine-covered diving board and smiles down at the man who is reaching up from the water, one of his hands clasping the board, the other holding hers.

A Matter of the Mind

What do we know? The oceans, the cosmos—our own minds—lie largely unknown.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2013

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