Betty Miles, Whose Children’s Books Tackled Sexism, Dies at 90

Betty Miles, a writer whose books for children and young adults addressed real-life issues like sexism, racism and censorship after she had thrown off the conventions of the 1950s to become a feminist, died on July 19 at her home in Shelburne, Vt. She was 90. Her death was confirmed...

Critic’s Notebook: Deep Dives Into Justice From Shakespeare, Wilde and Atticus Finch

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Because so many of Shakespeare’s plays engage similar questions, the canon seems especially ripe right now for reimagining in this way. (I did not see the festival’s “Julius Caesar,” with Seana McKenna in the title role.) But Shakespeare, in his commodiousness, has always been amenable to updating. Not every play...

Chris Rock Will Star in ‘Fargo’ Season 4

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The comedian Chris Rock will star in Season 4 of “Fargo,” John Landgraf, the CEO of FX Networks, announced on Friday during the Television Critics Association press tour. According to a news release, the new season of the anthology show will be set in Kansas City, Mo., in 1950 and...

A Cri de Coeur in a Pool of Milk: Decoding ‘Salome’ in Salzburg

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That sounds like achieving some kind of transcendence. It is, and there is a tragic dimension in this regard. She begins with the purity of childhood. That is in the milk, which represents purity and the absence of blood. She is a little girl, but ends as a woman. She...

Fiction: ‘Beowulf’ Gets a 21st-Century Update

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THE MERE WIFEBy Maria Dahvana Headley308 pp. MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $27. The Anglo-Saxon epic “Beowulf” has a historic place in English literature. But how much contemporary cultural resonance does it have? Plenty, Maria Dahvana Headley suggests in her new novel, “The Mere Wife” — if you mess around with...

Encounters: Amar’e Stoudemire Is on a Religious Quest

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The halls of the Jewish Museum in Manhattan were hushed and dim as Amar’e Stoudemire stepped inside. At nearly seven feet tall, the former New York Knicks star towered over the smattering of other visitors. With furrowed brow, he considered dozens of Jewish relics on display: a chunk of carved...

The National Comedy Center Opens, Jim Gaffigan Hologram and All

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Jamestown, N.Y., has long been known as the hometown of the “I Love Lucy” star Lucille Ball (and the site of a much-mocked, since-remade sculpture of her). Now, the city is hoping to expand its reputation for humor with the opening this week of the National Comedy Center, a museum...

Inside the List: That Huge Surprise in His Own Family Genealogy? It’s Playing out in His Novels

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Middle-grade author Alan Gratz isn’t a genealogy buff, but his aunt is, and a few decades ago she traced the Gratz family line back to one Louis Alexander Gratz. “He was a penniless Prussian orphan who came to the United States in the 1860s, joined the Union Army and fought...

Gender Letter: Hollywood Is as White, Straight and Male as Ever

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Gender Letter is a weekly take on news and culture. Tell me what you think at dearmaya@nytimes.com. Psst, Hollywood. I really think you want me on your side. I’m an entertainment junkie, and always have been. My free moments are spent shamelessly bingeing movies and oh-so-many shows. As a child...

New in Paperback: ‘An Odyssey,’ ‘Dunbar’

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Six new paperbacks to check out this week. AN ODYSSEY: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, by Daniel Mendelsohn. (Vintage, $16.) Mendelsohn — a classicist, translator and critic — teaches a course on the “Odyssey” at Bard College, and one semester his 81-year-old father decided to enroll. The experience,...