What Should We Be Teaching?  

A debate is now going forward—sometimes raging, sometimes smoldering—over the kind of curriculum that should be offered to college students in literature and the humanities generally. For example, core humanities classes are sometimes offered to freshmen and sophomores as a …



A Mixed Response  

The best thing Jesse Jackson did during the Democratic primary was to name the problems. He was the one Democratic candidate who stressed that there are serious social wrongs in the United States requiring more than superficial treatment. He offered …



Sad Events of Long Ago  

Those of us who have been alive for seventy years or more are sometimes visited with a strange impulse: to take the middle-aged and the young in a firm grip and urge them to listen to the stories of our …



Gorbachev Meets Up with History  

I can think of at least two ways to approach history. There is the historian’s way, usually celebrated as realism, and…the “unhistorical” way, claiming for itself, in the name of an undogmatic moralism, nothing less than truth. The historian’s way …



Brendan Sexton 1911-1988  

When I first met Brendan Sexton in the mid-1930s, he was pure flame: an activist in the then still-vital Socialist party, a leader in the unemployed movement, a young man full of blazing energy. I saw him from a distance, …



Of Socialists, Liberals & Others  

Some of the contributors to this collection of essays would describe themselves as democratic socialists. Some as liberals. Others as liberal- socialists. And a few perhaps as people of the democratic left who prefer not to be labeled. So be …



America’s Bitter Harvest  

If anything like a national mood can be discovered in America, then we ought to be facing a moment of harsh sobriety. The party is over; the plates are broken; the debts unpaid. After the Crash. What happened on Bloody …



Social Retreat and the Tumler  

Human nature didn’t change once Ed Koch became mayor of New York, but it soon began to display its shabbier sides. The mood of the city seemed to grow sullen, as if in contempt of earlier feelings and visions…. Quick …



The Myth of Revolution  

This spring my book Politics and the Novel was reissued in paperback by New American Library. The publisher asked me to “bring it up to date” by discussing, however briefly, political fiction written since the Second World War. A formidable …





The Spirit of the Times  

Taking the train from Westchester County to Grand Central Station, you pass some dreadful slums. The abandoned houses in these neighborhoods are boarded up, but some are adorned with fake windows—”Occupied-Look” decals—that are supposed to trick you into believing they …



Ugly Stuff at the Nation  

This past March the Nation marked its 120th anniversary with a special issue containing articles of varying interest. One of them, alas, stood out—a racist diatribe by Gore Vidal concerning Israel, American Jews, and “fifth columnists.” It is many years …



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