Monday, November 08, 2021

"Rescuing Socrates"

Ten years ago, I was reading to my then-nine-year-old daughter about an evil, one-eyed creature in Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories when she interrupted me and said, “wait, you mean Rushdie read The Odyssey too?” Literary conversations across time are central not only to understanding an author’s intent but also to seeing the common aspects of our humanity. In 1963, a different kind of “woke” was ascendent when James Baldwin told Life magazine, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was Dostoevsky and Dickens who taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”

Read all of Matthew Levey's City Journal review of the new book by Roosevelt Montás.

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