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364batesLarissa Bates
The Impossibility of Seeing: Animals of the Universal History of the Things of New Spain, or the Florentine Codex
Gold leaf and gouache on panel
(14 x 11 inches), 2015
Copyright held by the artist
Frontispiece Winter 2017

To slow down panic on planes
or just before sleep,
think back, if you can,
to the work of water clocks—
Spring 2017, page 91

Welcome to Raritan—a journal of wide-ranging inquiry. In the tradition of independent magazines from the Spectator to Partisan Review, Raritan offers writers and readers the opportunity for sustained reflection and aesthetic pleasure, uncluttered by academic jargon. Founded in 1981 by the distinguished literary critic Richard Poirier, and supported by Rutgers University, Raritan aims to reach the common reader in everyone and to provide a particular experience of reading, one that nurtures an engaged and questioning approach to cultural texts of all sorts: literary, artistic, political, historical, sociological, even scientific.

Our contributors include some of the most prominent thinkers of our time—David Bromwich, Adam Phillips, Jacqueline Rose, Pankaj Mishra—as well as talented younger writers whose voices we have just begun to hear—Corey Robin, Elizabeth Samet, Timothy Parrish, Kate Northrop, Jennifer Burns. In fiction, poetry, and translations as well as reflective essays, Raritan shows that probing inquiry is perfectly compatible with personal style, and that intellectual life, at its best, is a form of serious play. We invite you to explore Raritan and, if you like what you see, to subscribe to our magazine.

Jackson Lears
Editor in Chief

A Note on the Spring 2017 Issue
A few years ago, one of our contributors said to me, "Raritan is a good place to get thinking done." What she meant was that Raritan allows writers to follow their curiosity wherever it leads, without requiring a tidy resolution. Her comment reflects Raritan’s commitment to providing a space for long-form essays and sustained reflection, and the writers in this issue are thinking through some problems that have long remained controversial and not easily resolved. Read more...

Editor's Note

Hobson's Choice
Jackson Lears
Donald Trump embodies a rogues’ gallery of cartoonish figures: the confidence man, the master of misdirection, the buffoonish big shot, the demonic clown. But he is a clown with a semiautomatic assault weapon. In pursuing terrorists, his predecessors in the White House have provided this president with the tools to pursue executive tyranny...

Selections from our Spring 2017 issue…

Lincoln as Realist and Revolutionist
David Bromwich
The quantity of the evidence showing the steadiness of [Lincoln's] commitment against slavery is weightier than is now commonly understood…

Two Poems
Henri Cole

Culture Wars and the Humanities in the Age of Neoliberalism
Andrew Hartman
In 1988, a debate played out on the Wall Street Journal editorial page about whether Stanford University ought to assign John Locke or the anticolonial theorist Frantz Fanon...

Spring 2017

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