N1BR: Issue 6

March 2010

There are a few obvious reasons why rural society (or lack of society) takes up so much space in our literature. The literary magazine Avsagd Hagle once did a tongue-in-cheek analysis of contemporary Norwegian poetry and found a surprisingly high frequency of the words “hand,” “bird,” and “tree.” More…

Solnit brings to public light the findings of academic social scientists, who have discovered that in periods of disaster people more often than not behave with altruism and empathy towards each other, rather than, as conventional understanding has it, violently and selfishly. This discovery alone is fascinating and unexpected, but in Paradise Solnit wants more. More…

Together with the quaint aesthetics of the Scandinavian countryside, this socialist backdrop is precisely what makes the genre work. It’s shocking enough when a bloated corpse turns up floating in Stockholm’s pristine, well-managed waterways or when a serial killer disrupts the huddles of little red cottages that dot the Swedish countryside. More…

The expectation in the American West, when looking at a map of public and private lands, is one of apparent socialism: the closest this country gets, at least on paper, to the appropriation of property by the people. The numbers are well known: 85 percent of Nevada is owned by the federal government, 57 percent of Utah, 50 percent of Idaho, even 45 percent of California. More…

Image: Justine Kurland, Keddie Wye, This Train is Bound for Glory, 2007. C-print, 24 x 31 1/2". Courtesy Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NY.