Francis Bacon put it best: "There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion." Novelist and critic Marilynn Robinson brilliantly essays the notion of beauty and its role in our changing society. Poet Crystal Williams views the subject through the kaleidoscopic lens of race, while Aimee Bender talks with the artist Amy Cutler, whose off-kilter, imaginative work boils in the same cauldron as Bender's fictions. The poets, naturally, are well-represented here, happily joining the ancient poetic cause. And just as unsurprisingly, the prose writers turn the notions of beauty inside-out. Maggie Shipstead chronicles a former child star's fall from drug-addled "It Girl." Michel Houellebecq sinks his teeth into the art world. And Eric Puchner spins a youth-only future. We are also delighted by beautiful math, Mumbai bar dancers, the science of sex, and even the letters of Burt Reynolds. We hope you find the issue as beautiful as strange and beautiful as we do.
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