Issue 52 | January-February 2018

Essays by Sybil Baker, Olivia Cronk, Sarah Jilani, Vickie Sullivan, and Kirsten Tambling

Re-inhabiting culture, transforming the self: R.K. Narayan’s The Guide

In R. K. Narayan’s novel The Guide (1958) a common con-man, “Railway” Raju, asks for a few choice morsels under the guise of a religious requirement. He’s begging from the…

Vision as palimpsest: on Johannes Göransson’s translations of Ann Jäderlund

Translations emit. They pull us in and push at us at once. Emit, that curious word: it’s time spelt backward. Translation makes time go backward. Translation’s process … helps me…

Despotism is all around us: the warnings of Montesquieu

It is commonplace for citizens of liberal, democratic nations to believe that despotism is foreign to their own experiences. Their political constitutions display in some form or other a separation…

Noli me tangere

In 1939, as London braced itself for the bombs, the National Gallery’s paintings were moved to the dining room of Penrhyn Castle, North Wales. It wasn’t necessarily safer. Martin Davies,…

The radical re-visioning of Anna Kavan

I first read Helen Ferguson/Anna Kavan in 1997 or 1998 when I was living in Ansan, an industrial city an hour subway ride from Seoul. Every few months I’d receive…

Shields: A poem founds the world it finds

Editor’s note: The following essay is excerpted from Of Silence and Song, a book of essays, fragments, and poems forthcoming from Milkweed Editions (December 2017). Reading Hesiod on the shuttle bus to the…

Love song por La Condesa

On the night of September 19, 2017, I find a small map online of the oval park in front of my father’s house with its surrounding streets that extend out…

The authority to say anything at all

When I was a Catholic teenager, I was an altar server and reader at my parish church. Our parish priest was forward-thinking. At one Easter Vigil Mass, I played the…

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