Articles tagged "History"


Not Necessarily About Politics: Contemporary Czech Prose

The Czechs are cultural overachievers. In film, photography, theater, architecture, music, art, they punch above their weight, with an impact far beyond what you’d expect from a nation of ten million…...

from “Kumait”

He couldn’t help but see the school; from the time he had left the bus at the township’s station, he had never thought of going any other way. His feet felt at home on the township’s…...

Reading Gregor von Rezzori

A Dutch newspaper asked me to review the recently published Dutch translation of Gregor von Rezzori's Memoirs of an Anti-Semite. I have to admit that the name Rezzori vaguely rang a bell, but that was…...

An Interview with Péter Esterházy

Péter Esterházy is one of Hungary's foremost contemporary novelists, having won literary distinctions both at home and abroad. A number of his works, including Helping Verbs of the Heart,…...

Embedded in Iraq

While looking for something else, I recently stumbled upon Cynthia Ozick's essay íPublic Intellectualsë in her collection Quarrel and Quandary. The essay itself is worth reading—as is…...

Reading Rutka Laskier

From to time to time, a Dutch publisher will ask me to write a preface or an afterword to a book he plans to publish. I have written prefaces for authors as different as Machiavelli, Stendhal and Boris…...

The Last Farm Novel?: An Interview with Michiel Heyns

I met Michiel Heyns—author, translator, and professor of English at Stellenbosch University from 1987 until 2003—last year when he was here in the U.S. as a visiting professor at the University…...

The Trial of Jean-Marie Le Pen

By the time it starts the Blistier trial has already been known for months as "the trial of Jean-Marie Le Pen." Civil rights groups were the first to call it that, but by now the phrase, borne along on…...

Free Aung San Suu Kyi!

As the feeding frenzy that is Frankfurt Book Fair gets into full swing, a more mindful energy is fuelling the monks leading the people power revolution against the Military Junta in Burma. Last Saturday,…...

A Drawing Textbook

The main characters: Sergei Ilyich Tatarnikov: a dissolute and disaffected sixty-year-old historian. Roza Crantz: a middle-aged academic, an art historian and culturologist, enthusiastic about the fall…...

Annihilation, from Pyramid Texts

. . . of an old family, much noted, mentioned in manuscripts that have yet to be printed. He personally was well known, much in demand in the town and elsewhere. Those with experience in climbing its four…...

Llywelyn’s Breath

For the Welsh original, please click here. (at the Llanelwedd National Eisteddfod) The border is near, its rugged soil continuing to sear its history on the face of our language's acres, our no man's…...

Our Holocaust

The Holocaust extended its reach beyond the neighborhood. Traces of Shoah lurked in the most surprising places, like the little shops where Dad went to order wallpaper or buy light bulbs. He often took…...

Halls of the National Museum

I lost sight of my child in the Yi dynasty hall: Like a forgotten royal concubine, I had been staring at the king's rice bowl, goblet and spoon. I dash back at once to the Goryeo dynasty hall, shedding…...

The Infinite Horses

I have seen them sleeping in the pastures, repeated through the fields, at rest; furious and on their knees I have seen them, like haughty gods, completely white, dressed and with ribbons, and wild with…...

The Lanterns of Seville

To Julienne Peters of Brussels, who was moved to tears by the beauty of the Alcazar in the Seville of the Arabs, I dedicate these lanterns. "Would you look down on a cousin of yours if he addressed you…...

Basra Stories

I was born in Basra many times, in all of the stories that I heard about it-in the stories which were told around me when I was a child, in the images I formed of it during my first trips there with my…...