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Australian pulp fiction: these works can be read as a symptom, laying bare the unspoken fears, desires, dreams and nightmares of the time. Author provided

Friday essay: the complex, contradictory pleasures of pulp fiction

Mid-20th century pulp fiction was trashy, tasteless, exploitative and lurid. There’s a lot there to love. You might read pulp as a cultural Freudian slip, loony bulletins from the collective Id.
Nancy Miriam Hawley, founder of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, Inc., with different editions of ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves’ at her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/AP Photo

Feminist activists today should still look to ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves’

Like their predecessors, today's feminists can get mired in disagreements over strategies and goals. The celebrated feminist text suggests a more constructive approach.
In Leo Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina,’ each character approaches marriage with a different set of expectations – and many succumb to disappointment. Internet Archive Book Images

As the Royal Wedding approaches, what can one of the world’s greatest novels teach us about marriage?

In their coverage of Meghan and Harry, the media are focusing on all of the wrong things. Thankfully, Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy had sharp insights about marriage that still resonate today.
Edward Hopper’s ‘Office in a Small City’ (1953). Gandalf's Gallery

A history of loneliness

Although loneliness may seem timeless and universal, the word seems to have originated in the 16th century,
The theme at the core of Rowling’s wizarding world speaks directly to a universal human reality: The struggle to come to terms with our mortality. Shutterstock

Harry Potter and the surprisingly poignant literary theme

We may think of _Harry Potter_ as escapist delight, but J.K. Rowling’s books also contain an extended theme that has more in common with _King Lear_ than most English professors might care to admit.
Even common knowledge isn’t immune. ledokolua/Shutterstock.com

Writing’s power to deceive

Reading something that sows doubt about a widely agreed-upon fact – even the election of George Washington as president – can have a profound effect.
A connection can be made in between Ursula Le Guin’s fiction and her father’s groundbreaking work in anthropology. Oregon State University

The education of Ursula Le Guin

Le Guin's father, Alfred Kroeber, was at a forefront of a movement that rejected social Darwinism and cultural superiority. In his daughter's fiction, we see these ideas come to life.
Christina Ricci as Zelda and David Hoflin as F. Scott in the TV series Z: The Beginning of Everything (2015). Two films about Zelda’s life are currently underway, starring Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lawrence respectively. Amazon Studios, Killer Films, Picrow

Zelda Fitzgerald: a creative voice curtailed who speaks to our cultural moment

During her lifetime, Zelda Fitzgerald's creativity and contribution to her husband's work were woefully undervalued. Two new films will tell her story.
North Korean women work at the cashier table of a bookstore in Pyongyang, North Korea. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Inside North Korea’s literary fiction factory

The state-produced stories, which include tales about apartment lotteries, theme parks and the Clintons, might seem absurd. But they offer a window into the regime's priorities and anxieties.

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