New York

Letter from New York

31 July 2018

In 1993 Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library held an exhibition entitled Nothing but Degeneracy: Modernism at The Dial, which consisted of documents from the library’s archival holdings of the influential American literary magazine The Dial ...

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In the heyday of Manhattan hotels, the Chelsea Hotel had its own special niche. The Pierre exuded wealth and exclusivity, the Plaza a sort of bourgeois glamour as the place where the bridge and tunnel crowd would throw caution to the wind and rent a corner suite for big occasions, and the Algonquin, with its round table and Hamlet the cat, radiated intellectual chic. The Chelsea had a sleazy, dangerous style, a place where almost anything went, where famous edgy artists got up to no good. It is no surprise that when, on a hot summer night in 1953, Gore Vidal and Jack Kerouac decided that they owed it to literary history to have it off, they chose the Chelsea for the momentous coupling. Even in late 1970s Manhattan, among a certain group to have sex at the Chelsea was considered almost a rite of passage.

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Never far from one’s mind these days, the events of September 11, 2001, and their direct aftermath in Afghanistan and elsewhere, had to be prominent in this month’s issue of ABR, such is their complex resonance and ubiquitous iconography. To complement Morag Fraser’s essay in this issue on the consequences of ‘September 11’ for civic ...

Primo Levi, in two interviews given almost twenty years ago*, set a standard of critical sympathy that is not only exemplary, but peculiarly apt to the fraught debate about the post-September 11 world and the USA’s place and reputation within it.

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The New York City Opera could not have known when they programmed a revival of John Philip Souza’s The Glass Blower just how appropriate it would be post-September 11.

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