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Shooting an Elephant – George Orwell

In Moulmein, in lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people – the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an aimless, petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter. No one […]


A Calm Place to Think: On Reading the Classics

Essay by Guy Patrick Cunningham at The Millions on active reading, and Twitter: The key is to take both together — to avoid getting trapped only reading classics, like Macdonald’s “catch-up” reader, or only reading fragments or bits of text online. The point is not to set up a dichotomy between old and new — and […]

One must have a mind of winter…

The Snow Man – Wallace Stevens One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; And have been cold a long time To behold the junipers shagged with ice, The spruces rough in the distant glitter Of the January sun; and not to think […]

A Life in Letters – F. Scott Fitzgerald

A letter to a family friend regarding her latest short story: November 9, 1938 Dear Frances: I’ve read the story carefully and, Frances, I’m afraid the price for doing professional work is a good deal higher than you are prepared to pay at present. You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the […]

A Jew Among Romans: The Life and Legacy of Flavius Josephus

Introduction to a A Jew Among Romans: The Life and Legacy of Flavius Josephus from Tom Bissell at Harper’s: In 70 a.d., a few decades after the crucifixion of Jesus, the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem after a long siege. Perhaps no event has had more enduring reverberations. Judaism lost the Second Temple, the site of nearly all its […]

December – Alexander Kluge

Alexander Kluge’s collection of stories December. “He had missed out on all the learning processes in the Stalingrad pocket, had not been subject to the physical emaciation which had already begun in September. He now arrived in the pocket with a fresh view of things. A parachute division, had it been dropped on the winter surface, […]