Tribute to Michael Harrington  

Where did he get the energy? Apart from his amazing productivity and range of activities, he even looked energetic, like a light bulb. Not having been among his personal friends, I have no intimate insight into this mystery. I observed …



John Updike’s Transparent Eyeball  

SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS: MEMOIRS BY JOHN UPDIKE. New York: Knopf, 1989. 257 pp. $18.95. A chapter from John Updike’s Self Consciousness ran some months ago in Commentary under the provocative title, “On Not Being a Dove.” Updike looked back at the loneliness …



Intellectuals After the Revolution  

The year of the stock market crash, 1987, was also the year of the intellectual crisis. Afterward the stock market seemed to right itself, but that can’t be said about the world of thought. Intellectual crises tend to be that …



Literature and the Indians  

Cuzcatlán, the title of Manlio Argueta’s new novel, is the old Indian name for El Salvador. In our own United States literature, names like that used to crop up often a century and a half ago: “Hiawatha,” “Chingachgook.” Unscrupulous poets …



The Face of Downtown  

Every place and time has a representative personality. For downtown New York in the period just ending—the New York of Soho and the East Village, middle 1980s—the representative personality is a certain type of bohemian, similar to other bohemians we …



The Anti-Imperialism of Fools  

The following remarks were delivered at the Socialist Scholars Conference in New York City in April 1986, at the panel on Israel and the U.S. Left.” The participants were Noam Chomsky, Ellen Willis of the Village Voice, and myself.—P.B. The …



A Bloody Critic  

Georg Lukacs wanted to write his autobiography shortly before he died in 1971, but his health wouldn’t permit it. Instead, he jotted an autobiographical sketch and gave a long interview to a couple of his students. One of them, Istvan …