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“A Box of Coins,” by Elizabeth Kostova

I couldn’t find a photograph of a Faustina Junior coin with exactly the same reverse image, but I discovered a very similar graceful figure, the details of its draperies intact—Diana, beautiful goddess of the hunt, with her bow in one hand and her arrow in the other. The outline of the gown was the same, anyway, and above all the ineffably sweet gesture of her arm. Faustina Junior had been brave and adventurous, too, and sweet, judging from her profile, and perhaps Marcus Aurelius had chosen this image especially for her. Turning over the other coins, I realized that each must have a story as rich as this one.

“Roads Taken (and Not),” by Susan Orlean

The ultimate journey that any writer takes is an emotional one, and that is what informs the geographical and professional passages you undergo, the moral development you attempt, the intellectual maturity you reach for. Being a writer is exhilarating, demanding, fascinating; it is the most wonderful life, but it can be terribly lonely. In fact, I am still surprised each time by how singular and private the experience of writing is—how this big conversation the writer conducts, and this desire to gobble up the world comes down, finally, to a quiet moment alone.

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MQR 44:3 | Summer 2005

James Morrison on the fate of cinephilia; Susan Orlean on journeys; Elizabeth Kostova on Carthage through history; Irving Louis Horowitz on contemporary sociology; George Steinmetz in response to Horowitz; and Yu Xie on methodological contradictions in sociology

Fiction by Daniel Herwitz and Alice Mattison.

Poetry by Richard Howard, Susan Hahn, Mahmoud Darwish, Eugenio Montejo, Richard Cecil, Randy Blasing, Charles Harper Webb, and Paisley Rekdal.