Our Most-Read Archival Pieces of 2021

In 2019, The Yale Review MARKED its 200th anniversary. To celebrate, we’ve been gathering archival highlights and making them available on our new website. Throughout this long and tumultuous year, these poems, essays, and short stories have been some of our most-read pieces. They include gifts from the long-ago past (Virginia Woolf’s meditation “How Should One Read a Book?” and Leon Trotsky’s “Hitler’s National Socialism”), as well as recent delights (Dina Nayeri’s story “The Pinch,” a tale of tensions in an Iranian-American family, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “Russian Winter Journal, February–March 1967”). We hope you’ll find much to relish here as we usher in a new year, including a reminder of the very reasons we turn to literature in times of crisis.

–The Editors

How Should One Read a Book?" by Virginia Woolf (1926)
Woolf reflects on book reviewing and the work of the critic.

The Pinch” by Dina Nayeri (2017)
A short story that plumbs family dynamics, old slights, and new longings.

Sunrise” by Louise Glück (2008)
“This time of year, the window boxes smell of the hills, / the thyme and rosemary that grew there…”

Hitler's National Socialism” by Leon Trotsky (1933)
An analysis of Hitler's rise to power by the exiled communist revolutionary.

The Achievement of Norman Maclean” by Marie Borroff (1994)
A remembrance of the author of A River Runs Through It.

In Those Years” by Adrienne Rich (1992)
“In those years, people will say, we lost track / of the meaning of we, of you / we found ourselves / reduced to I…”

For S., At The Boat Pond” by Jean Valentine (1967)
“The newspapers blowing over the street / made her cry, all the birds in New York were crying / because they couldn’t speak Greek…”

A Woman Painted on a Leaf” by Eavan Boland (1994)
“I found it among curios and silver. / In the pureness of wintry light. // A woman painted on a leaf…”

A Call for Papers” by John Ashbery (1992)
“It buttered no parsnips that it was raining / on some statues of older men...”

Russian Winter Journal, February–March 1967” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (2015)
A diary of the poet's 1967 trip to the Soviet Union.

Originally published:
December 21, 2021


Louise Glück’s Late Style

The fabular turn in the poet’s last three books
Teju Cole

The Critic as Friend

The challenge of reading generously
Merve Emre

Rachel Cusk

The novelist on the “feminine non-state of non-being”
Merve Emre


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