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Letters & Essays: S-U

Letters & Essays of the Day

Denis the Pirate

By Denis Johnson

Ever since the earliest humans learned to sail boats on the sea, there have been pirates. Their main job is to steal treasure and bury it in secret places, but they also sink ships, take prisoners, collect strange animals, and perform bizarre tricks of magic. The most bloodthirsty and terrible pirate ever to sail the Caribbean Sea was my own great-great-great-great grandfather, Denis the Pirate. In the early 1700s no man lived who did not fear his name.

Burning the Days

By James Salter

In Manhattan, in the lower right-hand corner, I had found a place in which to write, a room near the river, within sight of the cathedral piers of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was on Peck Slip, a broad street near the fish market, strewn with paper and ripped wood by the time I arrived each morning, but quiet with the work of the day by then over. I wrote in this room with its bare wooden floor and ruined sills for a year—it was 1958—struggling with pages that turned bad overnight.

A Remembrance: Niccolo Tucci

By Jonathan Schell

One of the earliest and most informed young opponents of the Vietnam War (The Village of Ben Sue was published in 1967 when he was twenty-three), Jonathan Schell wrote strongly worded articles week after week, year after year, in the “Notes and Comments" section of The New Yorker. His moral but never preachy tone as well as his grasp of the philosophical and historical aspects of political-military conflicts immediately attracted Niccold Tucci, who recognized a kindred spirit.