Ed Simon, The New York Times

Ed Simon

The New York Times

Pittsburgh, PA, United States

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Past articles by Ed:

We Need a Monument to the Unknown America

A memorial makes a statement about who is worth preserving. Why not a sacred and beautiful nothingness? → Read More

In Defense of Kitsch

The denigration of kitsch betrays a latent anti-Catholicism, one born from centuries of class and ethnic divisions. → Read More

The Book That Invented the World

Abraham Ortelius, with his comprehensive atlas, gave us not disenchantment, but a differing enchantment—a sense of the sheer magnitude… → Read More

Poetry Is Prayer

Prayer and poetry are defined by being words that gesture beyond words themselves. → Read More

Why We Will Need Walt Whitman in 2020

With our democracy in crisis, the poet and prophet of the American ideal should be our guide. → Read More

The Construction of America, in the Eyes of the English

In Theodor de Bry’s illustrations for Thomas Harriot’s Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, the Algonquin are made to look like the Irish. Surprise. → Read More

Ed Simon: A History of Why Trump Abandoned the Kurds

Nov. 4, 2019 – Ed Simon is the associate editor of The Marginalia Review of Books, a channel of The Los Angeles Review of Books. He holds a PhD in English from Lehigh University, and is a regular contributor at several different sites. He is also a contributing editor at the History News Network. He can be followed at his website, or on Twitter @WithEdSimon. Perdition’s antechamber is the circle… → Read More

King, God, Smart-Ass Author: Reconsidering Metafiction

Ed Simon draws on Daffy Duck, classic literature, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and more to redraw the rigid limits of metafiction and postmodernism. → Read More

The Universe in a Sentence: On Aphorisms

“An aphorism,” Friedrich Nietzsche aphoristically wrote, “is an audacity.” Exploring the pithiest of phrases, from Ben Franklin to Susan Sontag. → Read More

Here’s what Democrats must offer Americans to counter national conservatism – A

What the National Conservatives are presenting is a vampiric version of meaning, purpose and transcendence. → Read More

Toni Morrison, Prophet of America's Demons (1931-2019)

Morrison’s witness to language’s power to both destroy and create has been on ample display in our current season of American blood-letting. In 1993 Morrison warned of “Tongue-suicide,” which is “common among the infantile heads of state and power merchants whose evacuated language leaves them with no access to what is… human.” → Read More

How to Collapse the Distinction Between Art and Biology

What Xenotext does is cause its audience to reevaluate their ideas of creation, both literary and biological.Illustration by GiroScience… → Read More

Marks of Significance: On Punctuation’s Occult Power

The manipulation of the odd symbols we call letters and punctuation lend themselves to the discovery of greater truths, guideposts to a type of paradise. → Read More

Another Person’s Words: Poetry Is Always the Speaker

More than rhyme and meter, or any other formal aspect, what defines poetry is its self-awareness. Poetry is the language which knows that it’s language. → Read More


What to the Refugee Child is the Fourth of July?

What to the refugee child is the Fourth of July? How will so-called Independence Day be celebrated by the children whose families are escaping violence in Central America, only to be placed in the concentration camps of the Ursula Detention Facility, the Port Isabel Detention Center, Fort Sill where Japanese-Americans were once unjustly imprisoned, or the Tornillo tent city? For there is… → Read More

Philosophizing the Grave: Learning to Die with Costica Bradatan

He offers us a claim about how some brave souls die for ideas, how their sacrifices illuminate those malignancies that threaten a society in collapse. → Read More

Is There a Poet Laureate of the Anthropocene?

As far back as the 17th century, authors have been capturing the era of humankind's impact on the natural environment. → Read More

William Blake, Radical Abolitionist

Blake’s works offer an alternative to the failures of the Enlightenment, which couldn’t muster a consistent argument for abolition. → Read More

What the Fugitive Slave Act can teach us about anti-abortion legislation – A

Neo-Confederate apologists have long claimed, with spurious reasoning, that the American Civil War was simply about “states’ rights,” and in one ironic sense they were arguably right. The war was precipitated by a violation of regional sovereignty – of northern states rights. Case in point: the afte → Read More

Charcoal in an Empty Room: On Mary Beard’s How We Look Now —

In the ninth-century Byzantine Chludov Psalter, there is an unusual picture of Constantinople’s patriarch, John the Grammarian. Despite his mild-mannered name, The Grammaticus (as the Armenian theologian was titled), is depicted defacing an icon of Jesus Christ — with a long sponge-tipped brush, he wipes away the surprised face of the Son of Man. In order to make their intent explicit, the… → Read More