A review so maddening it made Hemingway smack the critic in the face, a tale of coat-checker woes so hysterical that it's become legend among New Republic staffers, a gripping account of how the United States just barely missed capturing Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora, a first-person narrative (from one literature's greats) of what it's like to endure the London Blitz, a poem that would come to galvanize the public. For the past one hundred years, these are the kinds of stories that The New Republic has strove to tell: Stories that captivate, and energize, and provoke furious debate.
One very, very, very long wall of our office is filled, edge to edge, with neat, leather-bound editions of The New Republic archives. One hundred years of essays, and film reviews, and editorials, and reporting, meticulously assembled and lined up. But those stories—thousands upon thousands of them—shouldn't just exist between the covers. So in honor of our one hundredth anniversary and the publication of a new collection from our archives, Insurrections of the Mind, we'll be curating a selection of one hundred notable pieces and making them open and available to the public.
Each day for the next hundred days, we'll be bringing you a new (old) piece from those leather-bound books. Each week we'll focus on a particular theme or idea: Profiles that entirely reframe their subjects, stories from far-flung regions of the globe, and more. This first week we're highlighting notable book reviews: Edmund Wilson's take on the sexiest book of all time, John Updike's heartbreaking glimpse into his friend John Cheever's journals, and five other reviews that we hope will have you rethinking the role of the literary critic. Start today by discovering what that reviewer said to enrage Hemingway to the point of violence, and come back each day to see what new story we're bringing you.