About William Brafford

William Randolph Brafford is a lifelong Presbyterian and expatriate North Carolinian who currently lives in Brooklyn, where he works for a software company.

The Culture We Live in

A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definative Guide to Identifying and  Understanding America’s Domestic Architecture by Virginia Savage McAlester Food/Clothing/ShelterOf the well-known basic physical needs, “shelter” generates the most durable artifacts. You can see clothing from Colonial America in museums, and there are ways of finding old recipe-books, but you’ll almost never see a person wearing two-hundred year old pants, and you’ll certainly never find and eat leftovers of such age … [Read more...]

The Unsettling Emergence of Marilynne Robinson as Environmentalist

Marilynne Robinson's three novels are gentle, compassionate, wonderful in the strict sense, and haunting. However, none of these adjectives describe Mother Country, her 1989 tirade against nuclear pollution and English civilization. You can imagine her writing the novels – Housekeeping, Gilead, and Home – from a desk by the bright east window in a quiet house. But Robinson herself provides the image for Mother Country: “the unsettling emergence of lady novelist as petroleuse.” (What a chanteuse i … [Read more...]