Root, Tree, and Branch

The ostensible arc of The Poison Tree takes us from a child’s domination by a ruthless, unyielding father to a successful adult’s enlightenment and forgiveness. But the actual course of the narrative is less straightforward and, as with the poem from which it takes its inspiration, far more unexpected in its outcomes.

The Absent Women of Jazz

Whether as audience members, scholars, or performers, women have been in short supply throughout jazz history. The representation of jazz in the films La La Land (2016) and Whiplash (2014), by director and writer Damien Chazelle, demonstrates this problem clearly.

The Musical World of Joan of Arc

The world that compositions about Joan of Arc evoke is filled with angels and demons, kings and clerics, bells and disembodied voices, and their musical interpretations reveal striking details about how the modern age looks back on the mysterious medieval world Joan inhabited.


About The Common Reader

The Common Reader, a publication of Washington University in St. Louis, offers the best in reviews, articles and creative non-fiction engaging the essential debates and issues of our time.