The Common Review ceased as a print publication with the Fall/Winter 2011 issue. However, we will be posting a series of ten new articles on this site over the next couple of months, at approximately 1-week intervals. We trust that you will find these articles interesting, provocative, and equal in quality to the high standards set by The Common Review during its ten-year run.



In this Issue



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    The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature Weighs In
    By Kristin Dykstra

    In many of my classes at Illinois State University, I’ve been setting aside time to ask the following questions of my students: How many works by US Latino or Latina writers have you encountered in your classes so far? Who are...[more]

    March 14, 2012 | 621 comment(s) | Share


    Culture Wars, Big Questions, and Geological Nanoseconds
    By Apurva Narechania

    In early 2009 the Texas Board of Education met to vote on whether the “strengths and weaknesses” of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution must be taught in the classroom. On the surface, this seems reasonable: assessing the...[more]

    March 14, 2012 | 3 comment(s) | Share


    A Mixed Grill of Much Study
    By Val Vinokur

    “Besides reading, there was no place,” declares Dostoevsky’s Underground Man. For most of its history, Russia has been a place where books have seemed more real, carried more authority, than the “real” world. And, from Tsar...[more]

    March 14, 2012 | 1 comment(s) | Share


    Revolution Is No Tea Party but It’s Easier in a Salon: Reading the Leaves Afterwards
    By Ian Williams

    In the memorable words of those other ‘60s hangovers, the Grateful Dead, “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” There have been few stranger trips than the intellectual odyssey undertaken by some of the Dead’s contemporaries, as...[more]

    March 14, 2012 | 2 comment(s) | Share


    What You Are Thinking About When You Have Nothing in Particular to Think About
    By Jonathan Rée

    Gianni Vattimo’s book-length essay, The Responsibility of the Philosopher, first published in 2000 in Italian, is a kind of apologia for a philosophical life that has always been, to say the least, exposed to controversy....[more]

    March 14, 2012 | 4 comment(s) | Share


    Here's Mud in Our Eyes
    By Tom McBride

    In literary theory the mimetic fallacy is an error authors make when they depict a condition too literally. An example is the portrayal of cruelty in a way that is repulsive in the eyes of the audience or a portrayal of boredom...[more]

    January 04, 2011 | 6 comment(s) | Share


    The Future Looks Impossible
    By Michael Lynn

    The summer of 2010 was a tough one on planet Earth. It also should have discomfited climate change skeptics. This past summer, nine nations set all-time-high temperature records. Unprecedented monsoons and flooding left 20...[more]

    January 04, 2011 | 3 comment(s) | Share


    Islamic Feminism: A Seat at the Table
    By Rafia Zakaria

    On its August 9 cover, Time magazine published the image of Aisha, a young Afghan girl whose face had been horrendously mutilated by a Taliban commander on the grounds that she had disrespected her in-laws. Around the same time,...[more]

    January 04, 2011 | 12 comment(s) | Share


    The Crying Giant: On Rilke's Poetry
    By Brett Foster

    The new collection of Edward Snow’s translations of the poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the great figures of twentieth-century European literature, ideally will accomplish two things. First, it will allow new readers to...[more]

    January 04, 2011 | 5 comment(s) | Share


    Taking the California Out of Buddhism
    By John Clark

    In his provocative and readable little book Why I Am a Buddhist, Stephen Asma aims to introduce the uninitiated to Buddhism, to “remin[d] and inspi [e]” those who are already familiar with it, and to show how to apply basic...[more]

    January 04, 2011 | 56 comment(s) | Share


    Just the Facts
    By Jackson Ayres

    The arrival on the bookshelves of Alex S. Jones’s new book, Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy, seems serendipitous. Scant months after the book’s release, the Obama White House disavowed Fox News...[more]

    August 31, 2010 | 3 comment(s) | Share


    Jim Harrison’s Rugged Zen Porn
    By Adam Davis

    If Jim Harrison is not a pornographer, he’s close. He has always written about appetites—usually for food, drink, sex, sleep, and nature—but the older he gets, the more the one appetite dominates his prose and the less hungry his...[more]

    August 31, 2010 | 3 comment(s) | Share


    Labor Without Love
    By Al Gini

    Labor Without Love Reviewed by Al Gini The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, by Alain de Botton Pantheon, 326 pages, $26 Alain de Botton is the most widely read English language philosopher in the world today, and if you take...[more]

    April 14, 2010 | 1 comment(s) | Share


    Lighting Up on Gordita Beach
    By Sean McCann

    Inherent Vice: A Novel, By Thomas Pynchon  Penguin, 384 pages, $27.95 Reviewed by Sean McCann Thomas Pynchon may be our last great Calvinist writer. Since the publication of his first novel V. in 1963, a dark...[more]

    April 14, 2010 | 1 comment(s) | Share


    Mama Holds the Key
    By Jeffrey A. Kurland

    Mothers and Others: The Evolution of Mutual Understanding, by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy Belknap Press of Harvard University, 422 pages, $29.95 A major theme that runs through all of Sarah Blaffer Hrdy’s books is the role of...[more]

    April 14, 2010 | 7 comment(s) | Share