Books

Artwork From the First-Ever Illustrated Version of Vladimir Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’

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Last year, the New Republic celebrated the 60th anniversary of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita with a selection of mini-essays from women writers. The first of these, from debut novelist Alexandra Kleeman, offers a brilliant close reading of the novel’s first lines. After a fiery opening that seems to be addressed to Lolita, Kleeman writes, our narrator veers off, “leaving the reader uncertain whether he refers to the girl or to himself, or to the latter in the guise of the former.”
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‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Will Soon Be an Aaron Sorkin Play

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Harry Potter can be a play. Spongebob can be a play. Carole King can be a play. It actually even makes a little more sense for the newest, just announced, surprise-it-can-be-a-play play to be a play: To Kill a Mockingbird will be a play. Especially because it’s already been a play, adapted by Christopher Sergel, in the past. The big news is, rather, that this new version will be adapted by Aaron Sorkin
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25 Excellent Novels About Americans Abroad

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I don’t know about you, but this is about the time in the election cycle when I start dreaming of escaping across the ocean, camping out in Berlin or Paris or Copenhagen and resolving never to pay attention to American politics again. And maybe (definitely, considering publishing timelines) it’s just a coincidence, but there seem to have been a number of good expat novels cropping up recently, with Garth Greenwell’s lovely What Belongs to You being only the most recent example.
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Archie’s Pal Jughead Is Asexual, According to New Comic

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Representation of the LGBT community has come a long way in the past decade or so, but one group that’s gone almost entirely unrepresented — in life, media, and the aforementioned acronym — is asexuals. Characters who outwardly identify as asexual are rarely seen in film, TV, literature, or comic books, and they’re rarely even mentioned outside of a joke. That’s about to change, though, in an upcoming issue of Jughead.
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Is the Critic a Parasite? On A. O. Scott’s ‘Better Living Through Criticism’

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“Our drive to create originates in — and compensates for — a primal feeling of alienation, of lostness in the universe and confusion about our identity,” New York Times film critic A. O. Scott writes in Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth. If the title here implies self-help (and it wouldn’t be the first such book inspired by Rilke’s final injunction in “Archaic Torso of Apollo”), the tone of the above suggests pop psychoanalysis. Scott goes on: “Frequently aligned with that sense of our original inadequacy is, somewhat paradoxically, a perception of our subsequent decline.”
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The Art of Ancient Love Poems

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In an attempt to appreciate the innocence of Valentine’s Day without the dreaded Hallmark sentiment, we’re looking back at several ancient love poems. The term “ancient” is applied loosely in some instances. But throughout the centuries, fragments of swoon-worthy, erotic lines from poets often unnamed have offered clues about some of the oldest literary examples from the ancient world. Here are some of the most compelling.
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