A Skeptic and a Democrat  

Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch by Eric Miller Eerdmans, 2010, 394 pp. $32 IN 1994, Christopher Lasch died at the age of sixty-one, an inestimable loss to all those interested in American politics and culture. …







Entrapments of Modernity  

Don’t Think, Smile: Notes on a Decade of Denial by Ellen Willis Beacon Press 192 pp $24 For thirty years, in a wide arc from the Village Voice and Social Text to the New Yorker and Mirabella, Ellen Willis has …



Puny Expectations  

The End of Utopia: Politics and Culture in an Age of Apathy by Russell Jacoby Basic Books, 1999 236 pp $26 “If you can’t say anything nice,” my mother used to admonish, “don’t say anything at all.” Presumably Russell Jacoby’s …



Pollyanna and Cassandra  

In “Literature and Science” (1883), a lecture delivered in America during the high noon of the Victorian culture wars, Matthew Arnold defended the study of Greek against utilitarian educational reformers and a newly assertive commercial class. “Literature may perhaps be …



Asking the Right Questions  

Economic Justice by Stephen Nathanson Prentice Hall, 1998 144 pp $19.95 Everyone loves a good argument; and as we know from the dialogues of Plato, few questions are more likely to get an argument going than “What is justice?” In …



Partisan Responsibilities  

The first two Partisan Review anthologies, published in 1946 and 1953 and now out of print, were of an almost unbelievable richness. The contributors whose names began with “A” were Lionel Abel, James Agee, Conrad Aiken, Sherwood Anderson, Hannah Arendt, …



Living By Ideas  

‘Lord, enlighten thou our enemies,’ should be the prayer of every true reformer,” wrote Mill in his essay on Coleridge. “Sharpen their wits, give acuteness to their perceptions, and consecutiveness and clearness to their reasoning powers. We are in danger …





Community or Collapse  

From time immemorial the prime agency of individual and social reproduction has been inertia, the biological form of which is instinct and the cultural form, tradition. That is to say, things were done because they had been done before— an …