The Man Who Knows Himself  

When Irving Howe died suddenly, in May 1993, no one was sure whether Dissent would keep going. The magazine’s young-ish editors and writers wanted to see it continue, but we all felt that it would thrive only if Michael Walzer …



Archive Image

Torture as a Growth Experience: Zero Dark Thirty  

If you go to Metacritic and look up the reviews of Zero Dark Thirty, you’ll come away with the impression that it’s a masterpiece. It has a “metascore” of 95, signifying “universal acclaim.” The New York Times called it “unexpectedly …



The Madness of Art  

In Henry James’s short story “The Middle Years,” an ailing writer is troubled by the conviction that only now, after many books, has he begun to find his true voice. All the work he’s done so far has been nothing …









Remembering Joe Wood  

I met Joe Wood in 1992, after mutual friends suggested that I might ask him to write for Dissent. I remember liking him immediately. He was an interesting mix: he was blunt, almost fierce, in his opinions, yet in his …



Emanuel Geltman (1914-1995)  

When I first came to work at Dissent, Mark Levinson told me a little about the different people who worked at the magazine. When he got to Manny, he said, “You’ll like Manny. Manny’ll make you feel at home.” Then …





Remembering Irving Howe  

Writers sometimes write a little differently after their reputations are made. Some become mandarins in their old age—wise, all too wise. Some let the belt out a few notches and settle into verbosity. A few, at the height of their …



Dialectics of Boxing  

In the late 1950s, Jean-Paul Sartre decided that it was necessary to rethink his entire philosophy. Writing for twenty hours a day, taking amphetamines to spur himself on, Sartre wrote the two enormous volumes of the Critique of Dialectical Reason. …