Princeton students are special. We’ve been told this upon every rite of passage we have experienced. No one ever dares to contest that they have near-superhuman aptitudes for creativity and hard work, Renaissance men and women all, steeped in the finest principles of humanism. Yet there is one thing in which we cannot manage to surpass the national average.
Rorschach tests and free-association exercises seem to me too well known, too expected to be useful for psychoanalysis. But I have found a new test to capture the shallower motions of our subconscious: the words of students childishly bumbling and … Read More
Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano’s most famous novel, Dora Bruder, is something like a ghost story, though not in the traditional sense. It is a ghostly story about a young man and a nation haunted by history. Modiano received the Nobel Prize in literature in 2014, the fifteenth French writer to do so after the 2008 laureate Jean- Marie Georges Le Clézio. While Le Clézio’s writing is sensual and tinted with exoticism, Modiano’s is sparse, introspective, and heav- ily autobiographical, sometimes even termed “autofiction.”
Are you a dog person or a cat person? The question is laden with meaning. I have never had a pet, but the cat versus dog distinction is one I can understand. It is not about which animal’s wet fur you would prefer to clean up off your couch, but which traits you value the most.
One day this summer, sitting in a blank white apartment that was not mine, I felt a strange weariness. This apartment was full of more books than I will probably ever read and I had fellowships to apply to and emails to write and the whole Internet in front of me and all of New York City clamoring outside.
The following passage is adapted from the opening of Albert Camus’ The Plague, which is a description of Oran, a city in French Algeria, in the 1940s. I have translated it into English and into the setting of Princeton in 2013 (office jobs become classwork, going to the movies is replaced by the more common pastime of the Internet and so on), but those are the only changes I believe I have made.