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Nation Topics - Cultural Criticism and Analysis

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Four new books explore the politics, culture and racial awareness of the hip-hop generation.

The American left is in a semi-comatose state, thanks to the
striking ideological transformation wrought by its neoconservative
battalions.

Kwame Anthony Appiah's Cosmopolitanism explores the middle ground between the universal laws of liberalism and relativism's blind respect for all
differences.

The late socialist economist Harry Magdoff read Marx at
fifteen and never looked back. A self-educated co-editor of the
Monthly Review, he not only fought for a just and humane world;
he embodied his politics in the way he conducted his life.

From Brokeback Mountain's closeted cowboys to King Kong's
embrace of Anne Darrow, Hollywood has queered cherished icons of
masculinity. But the two films paint a bleak picture: Love that falls
outside the norm must struggle to be something more than
self-destructive.

As Nazis dropped bombs in Warsaw, poet Czeslaw Milosz wrote a collection of literary criticism that sought to trace the rise of totalitarianism by deconstructing the mythologies of Western modernity.

2006 marks Rembrandt's 400th birthday, and an array of exhibitions, from the sublime to the silly, will open in Amsterdam, Washington and beyond. As the aesthetic hype escalates, can great art withstand great commerce? Can consummate genius triumph over cute?

Two new books on indolence, How To Be Idle and Bonjour Laziness, issue low-energy cries for political apathy, a shorter work week and the fine art of slacking off.

Photographs are supposed to be unbiased recognitions of
reality, but they're really self-portraits of the photographer. The
Ongoing Movement
, a blend of biography and analysis, examines what
happens when photographers create deliberately untruthful pictures.

Four editors of October magazine trace the history of
contemporary art. Though Art Since
1900
seeks to be comprehensive, its writers leave out entire movements and impose moralistic
judgments on the artists and art they profile.

Blogs

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October 20, 2014

The quivering throngs of teen-aged girls, The Nation’s reviewer wrote, said much more about the susceptibility of Americans to fashionable trends than it did about the talent or novelty of the group itself.

March 8, 2014

New novels, poetry and short-story collections from up-and-coming and established writers of color.

September 24, 2013

The author's absorbing debut novel chronicles a young woman’s year in Paris, where she will have to choose the home wants most. 

September 13, 2013