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Rachel Cohen



Austen Years: A Memoir in Five Novels, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, forthcoming 2020.

Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade, Yale University Press Jewish Lives Series, 2013.

A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists, New York: Random House, 2004.

Anthologies / Collections

"Sophie's Poems," in Who Reads Poetry, anthology of writing from Poetry Magazine selected by the editors. University of Chicago Press, spring 2017.

“Looking at Tara Geer’s Drawings,” in Carrying Silence: Drawings by Tara Geer, limited edition exhibition catalogue, curated by Jess Frost, Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc., 2013

“The Arrival of Post-Impressionism in Bloomsbury,” in This Perpetual Fight: Love and Loss in Virginia Woolf’s Intimate Circle, exhibition catalogue edited by William Beekman and Sarah Funke, University Press of New England, Fall, 2008.

“Some Stage Sets for Mayakovsky,” in Night Wraps the Sky: Writings by and about Mayakovsky, edited by Michael Almereyda, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, April, 2008.

“Carl Van Vechten’s Parties,” Introduction for catalogue Carl Van Vechten’s Photographs, published James Cummins Booksellers, 2005.

“Lost Cities,” in Best American Essays 2003, edited Anne Fadiman, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2003, and in Pushcart Prize XXVII, edited Bill Henderson, New York: Pushcart Press, 2004.


Apollo Magazine

"How Artists in Kyoto Made Contemplative Work in Turbulent Times," April, 2020. Review of Metropolitan Museum of Art's Kyoto: Capital of Artistic Imagination exhibition of 2019-2020.

"On the Paintings of Beauford Delaney," March 2020. Feature reflection on the art of Beauford Delaney and on the exhibition Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin: Through the Unusual Door at the Knoxville Museum of Art.

"Making the Case for Late Manet," August 2019. Review of Manet and Modern Beauty at the Art Institute of Chicago.

“Berthe Morisot Comes Into Her Own,” September, 2018. Feature on Berthe Morisot and the retrospective exhibition of her work mounted in Quebec City, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Paris.

“Renoir at home,” January, 2018. Review of Renoir: An Intimate Biography, by Barbara Ehrlich White.

“The Long View,” March, 2017. Feature on the new Deering Galleries of Medieval and Renaissance Art at the Art Institute of Chicago.

"Collecting Rooms," February, 2017. Review of The Invention of the American Art Museum: Culture to Kulturegesichte, 1870-1930 by Kathleen Curran.

"J.P. Morgan: The Man Who Bought the World," September 5, 2015. On the reinstallation of the Wadsworth Atheneum and J.P. Morgan's foundational collecting.

Art in America

“Italians Come to America,” October 2013. On the changing taste and market for Italian Renaissance paintings in the years of the First World War.

Art Review

“Beyond the Grid,” January 2005. On the painter Agnes Martin.

The Believer

“Gold, Golden, Gilded, Glittering,” November / December 2012. On the long double history of painting and banking from Siena in 1300 to Damien Hirst in our own day. Featured on Three Quarks Daily republished in The Utne Reader.


“Church Fathers,” Fall 2008. Review of Marilynne Robinson’s novel Home.

“Stefan Zweig,” April/May 2006.

DoubleTake Magazine

“A Private History,” Summer 2000. On Ulysses Grant and Mark Twain.

The London Review of Books

“Harridan,” November 6, 2008. Review of Zoe Heller’s novel The Believers.

The Los Angeles Times

“A Line Between Ear and Pen,” Op-Ed, March 28, 2004.


“The Fernando Pessoa Society,” McSweeney’s, Spring 2002. On the many heteronyms of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.

“A Chance Meeting,” Late Winter, 2000. On Willa Cather and Katherine Anne Porter.

Modern Painters

“An Interview with Walter Hopps,” Spring 2003. A conversation with the curator emeritus of the De Menil Collection.

The Nation

“The Brown Decades,” The Nation, May 28, 2007. On dancer Carolyn Brown’s autobiography Chance and Circumstance: Twenty Years with Cunningham and Cage.

The New Yorker

“Priceless,” October 8, 2012. On Bernard Berenson and the art market.

“Village Scribe,” November 13, 2006. On Leonard Woolf’s writing life.

“Life Studies,” November 1, 2005. On the novel that ended the long friendship of Emile Zola and Paul Cézanne.

“Can You Forgive Him?” November 2, 2004. On the time John Stuart Mill’s maid burnt the only manuscript of his friend Thomas Carlyle’s History of the French Revolution.

“The Very Bad Review,” October 6, 2003. On a terrible review given by John Churton Collins to Edmund Gosse in 1886. Subsequently published in The Australian Financial Times, and read on London’s BBC Radio 4.

The New York Times

“Her Drawings with Andre,” City Section, April 6, 2008. On theater director Andre Gregory’s drawing lessons with Tara Geer.

“Eavesdropping: A Life by Ear,” The New York Times Book Review, Review of Stephen Kuusisto’s memoir. October 8, 2006.

92nd Street Y, Poetry Center,

Essay on Italo Calvino, for 92nd St Y anniversary celebration, October 2013.


“‘Her Mouth is a Bloody Closet’: Review of Sharon Chmielarz’s The Other Mozart,” Fall 2001.


“Sophie’s Poems,” January 2005.

A Public Space

“Interiors and Exteriors in the Life of Julia Grant,” Fall 2010. Essay on drawings by Annie Coggan and the life of Ulysses Grant’s wife, Julia Grant.


“Theater of War,” April 2005. Review of Stacy Schiff’s biography of Benjamin Franklin.

The Threepenny Review

Symposium on Libraries, Fall 2014.

Symposium on Psychoanalysis, Fall 2012.

Symposium on Breugel, Winter 2010. Short essay on The Harvesters.

Symposium on The Piano, Fall 2009. Short essay on playing Schubert.

“Looking at Poussin,” Spring 2008. On the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition “Poussin and Nature: Arcadian Visions.”

“Lessons with Nathalie Sarraute,” Fall 2006.

“Fruit, Dogs,” Spring 2004. On Rilke’s letters on Cezanne.

“The Sofa,” Fall 2002. On a painting by Toulouse-Lautrec.

“Lost Cities, “Winter 2002. On Fernando Pessoa and Constantine Cavafy. Anthologized in Best American Essays and the Pushcart Prize.

“Lost Things,” Spring 2001. On Osip Mandelstam.

“Flies,” Fall 2001. On paintings by Lorenzo di Credi and Petrus Christus.

“Choosing a Library: The Essays of Italo Calvino and the Letters of Mark Twain,” Fall 2000.

“Portrait of a General,” Fall 1999. On Mathew Brady and Ulysses Grant.

Villa I Tatti

“Bernard Berenson at Harvard College,” excerpted chapter of book manuscript published in on-line exhibition Berenson and Harvard: Bernard and Mary as Students,, June 4, 2012. Curated by Jonathan Nelson of the Villa I Tatti, Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.

Virginia Quarterly Review

On the work of Max Beckmann, March, 2018. Online at #VQRTrueStory.

"Details from the Fogg Museum," Spring 2016, in print and on-line at #VQRTrueStory. Republished in Documentum.