Character Assassination | How the Hindu Right Distorted Gandhi

Aditya Narayan Sharma

Even outside India, it can be difficult to escape the cult of Mohandas Gandhi, the lawyer, thinker, and politician who helped liberate the nation from British colonial rule in 1947. The praise ranges from the anodyne (Gandhi is a “hero not just to India but to the world,” per Barack Obama) to the ironic (“really phenomenal,” according to Burmese political prisoner turned genocide defender Aung San Suu Kyi) to the...

Dance, Revolution | George Balanchine and Martha Graham Trade Places

Juliana DeVaan

“Dance these days — spring ’59 — is decidedly split into two main factions,” wrote the dancer Paul Taylor: neoclassical ballet, a modernist update of classical ballet, and modern dance, which broke free of ballet’s strictures to use movement as an expressive tool. These two genres were epitomized by the work of the choreographers George Balanchine and Martha Graham, respectively. “So when it’s announced that the two giants will collaborate...

Maud | Fiction

Noor Qasim

What I really want to talk about is the work.  Of course.  If we have to talk about something, it might as well be the work.  Well, we don’t have to talk about anything.  But you’d like to, right? So you have something to write about.  I’m open to discussing anything that interests you.  Okay. I don’t know. It’s just been a lot. I’d just like — I mean, we...

A Bullshit Genius | On Walter Isaacson’s Biographical Project

Oscar Schwartz

On a friendly stroll somewhere in Colorado in the summer of 2004, Steve Jobs asked Walter Isaacson if he would consider writing his biography. Isaacson, a journalist, academic, and policymaker who was then CEO of the Aspen Institute, an influential think tank, had just published a six-hundred-odd-page study of Benjamin Franklin, and was at work on another about Albert Einstein. “My initial reaction was to wonder, half jokingly,” Isaacson later...

Idol | Poetry

Topaz Winters

The god is wrapped in a blue towel. Mascara clumping their lashes. On the bathroom floor, a dozen Q-tips hemmed with waterproof eyeliner. The man is coming in an hour & they are trying to look as fuckable as possible when he photographs them for his shrine. The god is changing the bandages around their torso. The god is wearing noise-canceling headphones trying to drown out the devotees. Before they...

Taylor Swift | Poetry

Ellie Black

Hail our rift Jailer’s gift Tailor’s weft Trail or sift Paler wife Mailed or missed Sailor oft Failed or kissed Wailer wept Bail or drift Tail her deft Ailer’s grift Sail her left Nail her shift Whale has left Whaler miffed Gale you swept Tempest lift Save our ship Days are ripped Failure left Gave short shrift Say bereft Say be with

Past Tense | Our Historical Fiction Hang-Ups

David Schurman Wallace

The historical novel isn’t cool. Popular? Yes. Enduring? Yes. A bit, well — for nerds? Also yes. Coolness lies in being at the right place at the right time, particularly before everyone else — in possessing a sensitivity to the zeitgeist. This grasp of the bleeding edge, crucial to literature considered broadly countercultural, is used by writers (in a downtown bar, or up in a garret) to make history, not...

The Wolf Man | Fiction

Caroline Gioiosa

I met the Wolf Man at a pool hall in Point Reyes last summer. Under the sickly bar lights, his face looked scrambled, like a Cubist collage — one eye higher than the other, an uneven nose, a mouth that could swallow a fist. I’d arrived alone on a Thursday night, after driving a half hour north from my parents’ beach house on the mesa. The Wolf Man was the...

Unfathomably Deep | Fiction

Sophie Madeline Dess

I know indeed what evil I intend to do, But stronger than all my afterthoughts is my fury, Fury that brings upon mortals the greatest evils. — Euripides’s Medea, 431 B.C.E. Three men were supposed to spread me open, check me out. One of the men was late. The other two began without him. The room was hot and forbidding. As the men locked me in my stirrups, they told...

An Apology | Poetry

Robert Wood Lynn

I awoke. You weren’t there but there were horses on the beach. I got up, made believe nothing hurt and my evidence was horses on the beach even though the beach horses were remarkably indifferent to the thrill of horses on the beach. I went about my day. I went for a run in the surf. The horses only sauntered, heads slung low as an apology. With my long hair...