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Articles by Victoria Olsen

Looking Back: Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, and Robert Frank in New York City

August 1st, 2016
Looking Back:  Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, and Robert Frank in New York City

Diane Arbus’s photographs are weird. Their subjects are weird. She herself was weird. A new exhibit takes us back to the origins of that strangeness –and asks what it says to us now.

The Loneliest Number

March 1st, 2016
The Loneliest Number

Is loneliness a failure, or just a sign that one is alive? Olivia Laing’s new book explores the paradox of being alone in one of the world’s most crowded cities.

Pilgrimages to Paris

November 1st, 2015
Pilgrimages to Paris

What is the allure of famous cemeteries like Paris’s Père Lachaise? Perhaps the crowds – of graves, and of visitors – reassure us that even in death we won’t really be alone.

Turning Points: Jane Avril in Paris

October 1st, 2015
Turning Points: Jane Avril in Paris

For the woman who became dancer Jane Avril, life was transformed when she realized that what had been called mental illness she could claim for herself as art.

Romancing the Convention

September 1st, 2015
Romancing the Convention

Think romance novels aren’t worth taking seriously? The Romance Writers of America’s annual convention brings together thousands of smart, self-aware readers and writers ready and able to prove you wrong.

Hot and Cold

September 1st, 2013
Hot and Cold

Distance is complicated: it measures intimacy, but in unpredictable ways. Rebecca Solnit’s evocative new book explores the meaning of distance and closeness.

Arendt in New York City

July 1st, 2013
Arendt in New York City

When Hannah Arendt published Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1964, her moral authority was called into question. Now Margarethe von Trotta’s new film Hannah Arendt explores both who has the right and who has the responsibility to speak about the Holocaust.

Flowers in the Pit

February 1st, 2013
Flowers in the Pit

“The eye says ‘Here is Anna Karenina,’” wrote Virginia Woolf; “A voluptuous lady in black velvet wearing pearls comes before us. But the brain says ‘that is no more Anna Karenina than it is Queen Victoria.’” Joe Wright’s cinematic adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic novel avoids the pitfalls of such literalism.

Ou-Boum

December 1st, 2012
Ou-Boum

“I knew my trip would mean an encounter with Adela Quested”: Victoria Olsen reflects on what she found, and what was lost in translation, when she travelled to India with E. M. Forster on her mind.

Those Feet

August 1st, 2012
CoF

This summer’s London Olympics take us back to 1981’s Chariots of Fire, the 1924 Olympics, and the poetry of William Blake. The connection? All remind us of the fragility of glory and our endless wish to make the past present.

Looking for Laura

February 1st, 2012
LauraStephenEarlswoodAsylum

She’s a shadow, an absence, that haunts the letters, diaries, and novels of her famous half-sister Virginia Woolf. What can we really know about Laura Stephen?