Machinal Rebecca Hall and Morgan Spector | Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Machinal is a play set inside a machine, and its mechanical unfolding delivers on the promise of its title. Its heroine, Helen, begins as an unhappy and unpunctual office girl, hating her position yet fearful of losing it. She resolves that conflict by marrying her boss, whom she loathes, hoping to find in a mercenary marriage escape from the drudgery of her job and the demands of her abrasive mother. A child is born, and Helen is so repelled by her daughter that she refuses even to hold her in the hospital nursery. She is of course deeply unsatisfied in her marriage and attempts to resolve this conflict, first with adultery, and...


A Message from the Editors

Our past successes are owed to our greatest ambassadors: our readers. Our future rests on your support, as The New Criterion Editor Roger Kimball explains. Will you help us continue to bring our incisive review of the arts and culture to the next generation of readers?

Popular Right Now