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I fervently hope the City Paper perceives what a windfall it has realized in publishing the works of Jessica Barrow Dawson; her erudition, thorough research, and superior writing augment the City Paper’s critical efforts, while shining on their own merits.

I have read the City Paper since it first appeared in the District; I was immediately charmed by its edgy muckraking and commitment to the local arts community, but felt it had drooped recently; a complacency beset its staff and subject matter to the point that I no longer read either cover articles or specific features. Lately, however, that has become less true, and the articles of the sort Ms. Dawson writes are characteristic of another wave of fresh thought and careful investigation.

Dawson’s articles reveal an understanding of the city’s affairs only a veteran could possess, while lacking the taint of a partisan insider; her style is precise, yet unstilted; and historical vision overrides petty indulgences. These virtues were particularly manifest in a review of the Rothko retrospective (“Into the Black,” 6/12) and an account of the Corcoran’s biennial angst (“Basement Biennial,” 7/31).

I praise the City Paper in general for resuscitating a valuable community resource and Dawson in particular for writing so well.

Capitol Hill

via the Internet