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“Breaking Bad” on Verdi’s Birthday With the Rebirth of Badfinger’s “Baby Blue”

You never know. Somehow a column marking Giuseppi Verdi’s 200th birthday has gone astray and broken bad. What could possibly justify putting the man who gave us Rigoletto, Falstaff, and…

J.D. Salinger Unbound and Unbowed: “There Is Monumental Work To Be Done In This Appearance”

J.D. Salinger’s refusal to publish anything in the 45 years between the June 19, 1965, issue of The New Yorker and his death at 91 in 2010 was disappointing, to …

Thomas Wolfe and Maxwell Perkins, Honored Guests at This Year’s Book Sale

My friend, the editor, has likened his own function at this painful time to that of a man who is trying to hang onto the fin of a plunging whale.…

Thomas Pynchon With the Wind in His Sails: In “Bleeding Edge” New York Is “The Real Story”

Thirty chapters into Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, Bleeding Edge (Penguin $28.95 ), the familiar voice that has been riffing on “ghost stops on abandoned subway lines” and girls “whose fashion…

“Strangest of All Strange Companions” — D.H. Lawrence and September 11

David Herbert Lawrence was born on this day, September 11, 1885, in the mining town of Eastwood, near Nottingham. He died March 2, 1930, some seven decades before the terrorist…

Remembering Julie Harris, Elia Kazan’s Angel and James Dean’s Guiding Light

I doubt that Jimmy would ever have got through East of Eden (1955) except for an angel on our set. Her name was Julie Harris and she was goodness itself…

On the Money: Front Page Fun With Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Kelly Clarkson

What’s not to like when two giants of English literature are making news in the 21st century? What’s not to like about seeing a portion of Shakespeare’s handwriting on the…

“The Paris Wife” Meets “The Killers”: In Hemingway Six Words Are Worth a Thousand Pictures

“Ever go to the movies?” “Once in a while.” “You ought to go to the movies more. The movies are fine for a bright boy like you.” —from Ernest Hemingway’s “The…

Celebrating Vivekananda’s American Adventure on His 150th Birthday

If you want to know India, study Vivekananda.  —Rabindranath Tagore to Romain Rolland The song really came from Swami Vivekananda, who said, ‘If there is a God, we must see…

Live From Detroit: Standing in the Shadows Searching for a Silver Lining

Everything good about Detroit is available on iTunes. —post on New York Times blog “When the nation catches a cold, Detroit gets pneumonia,” people would say during the Depression, with…