In 1945 and 1946, the FBI began keeping tabs on Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. The Cold War was just around the corner, and the Bureau suspected their new targets were secretly agents of Communism. However, FBI agents who followed the French writers evolved in the course of their spying: they became, in G.K. Chesterton’s phrase, “philosophical policemen.” (h/t Slate)
“It may be true… that the internet will turn out to be ‘a giant empathy machine.’ And yet, as any reader knows, we’ve already had one for centuries.” Drew Calvert reviews The Novel: A Biography for the Los Angeles Review of Books and provides an argument for the novel in the digital age.
Recommended reading: Meg Wolitzer wonders “why are teenage girls drawn to books about mental instability?“