A grandfather clock the size of a stick of chewing gum, a Giacometti-style bronze in the palm of your hand. Inside the strange aesthetics of miniatures... more »

Some of our most important thoughts, feelings, and experiences are inexpressible. But can we know something if we can’t articulate it?... more »

The man who said he built a robot. Houdini was a magician, and a pilot, inventor, historian, and master of collusion as well... more »

Looking for the self in self-help. Self-mastery is an illusion. We do not make ourselves, and we cannot validate ourselves... more »

Good writers toil without regard for money. The literary economy runs on love, not avarice. That common view, which stretches back millennia, has never been true... more »

Is it tenable to celebrate the rise of identity politics in the university while deriding leftist critical theory? Richard Rorty thought so... more »

In the Middle Ages, human flesh (especially the thigh and the upper arm) was occasionally considered an exotic delicacy. What can cannibalism teach us about culture?... more »

When Plimpton met Papa in Cuba. In the course of a Paris Review interview, there were executions observed, boxing, drinking, and CIA meddling... more »

This is how the characteristics of an obscure Amazonian language set off an academic feud that shows no sign of letting up... more »

It can be hard to remember that philosophical work still gets done outside of seminar rooms and academic journals. Mark Greif reminds us... more »

Derek Parfit was a philosopher of unusual novelty and insight. His gift rested on his indifference to individuals, relationships, and institutions... more »

Byron ate egg yolks; Whitman paced for miles and miles; Plath swallowed one pill after another: Why are poets so weird about sleep?... more »

Remember the Sokal hoax? It's been 20 years since a physicist published a sham article in an academic journal. Why he did it, and how, still matter... more »

Secrets of Stradivari. What explains the rich, dark, high-frequency, impossible-to-replicate sound of the peerless violin? ... more »

Depicting the dead was a fixture of 19th-century painting. The genre is marked by skewed bodily proportions and blunt symbolism ... more »

John Berger, art critic, novelist, screenwriter, essayist, counterculture celebrity, cattle herder, is dead. He was 90... more »

For the past 52 years, The Economist was housed in a London tower. The height, perhaps, facilitated its handing down of Olympian judgments... more »

Beyond the Black Notebooks. Heidegger’s newly revealed letters expose his anti-Semitism as a scholarly and moral disaster for German intellectual history... more »

Close reading with Marlene Dietrich. She had a sexually charged, cerebral relationship with Hemingway. Her true literary love, however, was Goethe... more »

Cinderella meets sadomasochism. Fairy tales have always departed from conventional morality, but in fin-de-siècle France, their deviance went further... more »

Karl Polanyi: Is the mid-20th-century economic theorist an example of the impracticality of left-wing thought? Or a guide for our times?... more »

Was Bach a bully? He was a teenage thug, drawing a dagger in an altercation with a bassoonist. Then there are the hints of anti-Semitism... more »

Feeling down about the state of the world? Cheer up, says Steven Pinker. Look at trend lines, not headlines, and you'll see that most long-term trends are heading in the right direction... more »

Seventy percent of museum visitors go for “a social experience” — indeed, serenity is in short supply in crowded galleries. That's why miniature exhibits matter... more »

"The most important thing for any intellectual to have is a sense of proportion," and liberal academics have lost it, says Mark Lilla. "Our campuses are not Aleppo”... more »

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