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Since 1998, Arts & Letters Daily has linked to more than 17,000 articles, book reviews and essays. Consider supporting us. »
Dec. 3, 2022

Articles of Note

After years in archives of pornography, Kathleen Lubey has emerged with a philosophy of smut and its contradictions    ... more »


New Books

 Yes, T.S. Eliot’s prolonged and unconsummated relationship with Elizabeth Hale was crucial. But that doesn’t mean she was a “hidden muse” ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Art can’t solve our problems, or make up for our losses. But it might help us transcend them. Griffin Oleynick explains    ... more »


Dec. 2, 2022

Articles of Note

The culture war comes for libraries. Say goodbye to the reference desk, and hello to circulation-desk sermonizing ... more »


New Books

James Gillray, the “Prince of Caricatura,” spent long hours ridiculing the sexual and gastronomic excesses of the British royal family    ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Auden's influence pinballs throughout postwar literature. Is he the great 20th-century language poet?... more »


Dec. 1, 2022

Articles of Note

In the darkest days of World War II, Leo Strauss grew concerned about a new threat: liberal education... more »


New Books

In the work of T.J. Clark, art history matches the philosophical ambition of artists like Cézanne, Pissarro, and Matisse ... more »


Essays & Opinions

The chalky, silty smell of ink, the scratch of the pen across the page — writing longhand is a gift to us all... more »


Nov. 30, 2022

Articles of Note

When did "cleverness" become a dirty word? When we all started drowning in contrived knowingness and irony ... more »


New Books

"Can We Survive Technology?" John von Neumann posed the question in 1955. We still await an answer... more »


Essays & Opinions

The letters of John le Carré reveal his sense of shame and his moralizing streak — qualities many of his characters inherited ... more »


Nov. 29, 2022

Articles of Note

In the footsteps of Woolf and Forster came “Young Bloomsbury” — an ambitious literary set that produced only minor works ... more »


New Books

“No matter how shit you think your life is, there are many millions in recent history who had it a lot, lot shitter”   ... more »


Essays & Opinions

The search for forgotten female novelists has gone awry by using Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë as standards... more »


Nov. 28, 2022

Articles of Note

Staughton Lynd, a Quaker/Marxist historian blackballed from the university system, has died. He was 92... more »


New Books

In his 30s, A.N. Wilson gossiped, slept around, and drank with other literary journalists “on a positively Slavic scale”... more »


Essays & Opinions

Baby Einstein, magnetic logic games, music boxes that play Mozart: The didacticism of modern toys is novel — and also a mistake... more »


Nov. 26, 2022

Articles of Note

Legal originalists pretend that their method of interpretation is value-free. It isn't... more »


New Books

Beware “storification” — our overreliance on storytelling conventions to understand the world around us ... more »


Essays & Opinions

The most influential essay of the 20th century? Gordon Moore’s “Cramming More Components Onto Integrated Circuits”   ... more »


Nov. 25, 2022

Articles of Note

Octavia Butler woke up everyday at 2 am to write before working menial day jobs. Poverty was a constant, “unfortunately valid” excuse for inaction   ... more »


New Books

Outside the delusions of humanities professors, teaching and writing about Marlowe and Austen do not amount to radical politics... more »


Essays & Opinions

 From lead paint to an orange pigment used as rat poison, humanity’s obsession with color has often had toxic consequences    ... more »


Nov. 24, 2022

Articles of Note

Mike Davis, “an increasingly lonely pillar of a larger and more open Marxism,” died last month. He was 76    ... more »


New Books

The descendants of Thomas Henry Huxley inherited not only his flair for argument but also his affinity for sweeping questions   ... more »


Essays & Opinions

“This vile thin paper is my abhorrence. It is characteristic of the age.” For 19th-century bibliophiles, literary culture was already in decline    ... more »


Nov. 23, 2022

Articles of Note

Is there a genetic component to intelligence? The NIH is preventing scholars from even asking the question   ... more »


New Books

The hidden past of an underappreciated instrument. The banjo's African roots have been neglected or misrepresented ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Los Angeles’s “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibit presents a terrible question: What if an art museum were more like the airport? ... more »


Nov. 22, 2022

Articles of Note

No merger after all between Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. For now, the Big Five of publishing will remain the Big Five... more »


New Books

The relationship between musicians and critics ranges from affable to antagonistic to utterly bizarre... more »


Essays & Opinions

Apocalypticism, millenarianism, eschatology — the end times come in many versions. Ours might be the most pessimistic yet... more »


Nov. 21, 2022

Articles of Note

Whether or not you believe that nothing is true, taking it seriously solves long-standing philosophical problems ... more »


New Books

Few things generate more powerful legends than martyrdom and massacre, and that is certainly true of the Paris Commune... more »


Essays & Opinions

Proust-industrial complex. A century has passed since his death, but he is as unignorable as ever... more »


Nov. 19, 2022

Articles of Note

Pig-Pen, who first appeared in Peanuts in 1954, represents nothing less than the enigma of human personality. Elif Batuman explains ... more »


New Books

The new beach read. It’s less a pulpy work of summer escapism — and more a musing on an evolving ecological disaster ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Haruki Murakami: “While the novelist is creating a novel, he is simultaneously being created by the novel” ... more »


Nov. 18, 2022

Articles of Note

William Godwin believed himself immune to the tumults and desires experienced by others. Then he met Mary Wollstonecraft... more »


New Books

Franz Kafka, aphorist. His work in this genre is low-key, discreetly funny, and extremely strange   ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Read old books, says Michael Dirda. "The great books are great because they speak to us, generation after generation" ... more »


Nov. 17, 2022

Articles of Note

Effective altruism's most distinctive characteristic? "The balletic deftness with which it tiptoes past targets likely to offend billionaires"... more »


New Books

What's captivating about Dylan's songwriting is the strange mix of care and carelessness. Not so in his prose    ... more »


Essays & Opinions

The “economic determination of politics” was a pipe dream, argued István Hont. We should have listened more closely... more »


Nov. 16, 2022

Articles of Note

Colette has never been more popular with Americans. Is it the sensuality of her writing? The scandalousness of her own story? ... more »


New Books

Shirley Hazzard's style: a thick maze of foreshadowing and indirection, inevitability and destiny, all-knowing and far away... more »


Essays & Opinions

“Longtermism is a technocratic dream that purports to give some of the wealthiest people in the world the ability to plan the far future of humanity”   ... more »


Nov. 15, 2022

Articles of Note

J. Edgar Hoover is not the villainous caricature you think you know, but a man of profound contradictions with an empathetic side... more »


New Books

1888 was a tragic year for Nietzsche. His mind was unraveling just as his reputation was starting to rise... more »


Essays & Opinions

Does Joan Didion's dining-room table hold some residual energy from her? It's another kind of magical thinking... more »


Nov. 14, 2022

Articles of Note

Sound of Sendak. “The work can’t happen without music,” he said. “Everything I’ve done is a collaboration with a composer”   ... more »


New Books

“To wrestle with the unsavory aspects of ancient literature is to do the hard work of self-examination” ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Is geography destiny in world affairs? No, it’s the human-made landscape, not the natural one, that will shape the next century ... more »


Nov. 12, 2022

Articles of Note

At the University of Michigan, an Intro to Comics course takes an ugly turn: Students conspire to have their professor fired   ... more »


New Books

Arthur Miller, after the fall. His great theme — the ease with which a life can be discarded — became his fate    ... more »


Essays & Opinions

How’s an author meant to react to the shrinking market for books? With jealousy and competitiveness, of course    ... more »


Nov. 11, 2022

Articles of Note

American academics are tightening their grip on Frantz Fanon. That robs the rest of us of the rich ambiguities of his writings... more »


New Books

The work of the critic is to be decisive, knowledgeable, authoritative. Emily Ogden is not most critics ... more »


Essays & Opinions

The Velveteen Rabbit is a beloved classic of children's literature. It is also a genuinely philosophical work... more »


Nov. 10, 2022

Articles of Note

Life off the tenure track is tough for humanists, as universities “churn folks up and then excrete them into a void”   ... more »


New Books

Hayek and The Road to Serfdom. The Austrian economist's iconic book is the work of someone who felt left out... more »


Essays & Opinions

To comprehend the difference between smell and flavor, plug your nose and taste a jelly bean ... more »


Nov. 9, 2022

Articles of Note

A year after resigning her professorship amid threats, Kathleen Stock recalls the silence of her former colleagues... more »


New Books

The Holocaust poses impossible questions for history, including: What to make of perpetrators who acted in contradictory ways?... more »


Essays & Opinions

Many writers are respected for their style, but few for their humanity: Vonnegut was admired for both... more »


Nov. 8, 2022

Articles of Note

The complicated history of Christendom. Was the Roman Empire’s adoption of the faith a blessing or a curse?    ... more »


New Books

It was 1978 and Haruki Murakami was watching a baseball game when he suddenly realized: I think I can write a novel ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Puritanism did not prevail in America because it tends to backfire, says Jill Lepore. Twitter’s pious mercilessness is no exception ... more »


Nov. 7, 2022

Articles of Note

There is nothing sexy about hope; it is a bit mawkish and foolish. Yet it is a quiet kind of bravery   ... more »


New Books

A late-life gift from the greatest living songwriter, Bob Dylan's annotated playlist reveals a lot about music and even more about him ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Bill Deresiewicz: "Wokeness flattens art, and it seeks to flatten our response to art. It wants us all to have the same response to any given work”   ... more »


Nov. 5, 2022

Articles of Note

The rise of Sufism in 10th-century Baghdad is a tale of poets, miracles, and revelations. At its center was Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj    ... more »


New Books

Schiller's smells. Did the philosopher and poet really insist on writing within sniffing distance of rotten apples?    ... more »


Essays & Opinions

The dreariness of book clubs. They are boring because we avoid uncomfortable questions.    ... more »


Nov. 4, 2022

Articles of Note

Urban realist, existentialist, symbolist, tortured dreamer: Who was the real Edward Hopper?    ... more »


New Books

The novelist Amina Cain’s first foray into nonfiction is light reading — so light, in fact, it puts you to sleep ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Beware the “Stasi in our skulls,” warns Jonathan Rauch. Don’t become the police of our own minds: frightened, neurotic, demoralized ... more »


Nov. 3, 2022

Articles of Note

Oxford, Cambridge, … the University of Austin? A new institution in Texas has grand ambitions — and a reputation as “Anti Woke U” ... more »


New Books

Asphyxiation by flower petals, macrophallocracy, 22-course dinners: Was Heliogabalus by far the most depraved of Rome's emperors? ... more »


Essays & Opinions

It’s become a mantra of American Marxism: “There is no ethical consumption under capitalism.” Where does that idea come from? ... more »


Nov. 2, 2022

Articles of Note

Never has there been a more garrulous or self-reflective revolution than that of 1848 in France... more »


New Books

In an Agatha Christie novel, "violent murder might happen at any moment—and yet the meals and tea still arrive on time”... more »


Essays & Opinions

Why does the novel matter? For Karl Ove Knausgaard, the justification is its ability “to go into the world and hold it open”... more »


Nov. 1, 2022

Articles of Note

The new history wars. Do we study the past to explore its strangeness? Or do we primarily seek an understanding of our world?    ... more »


New Books

Bob Dylan’s new book, like his music, features scarlet women, jughead criminals, wanton judges, and unscrupulous gamblers   ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Languages are discrepant, words are slippery. Yet the case for translation, warts and all, is strong... more »


Oct. 31, 2022

Articles of Note

How Diaghilev and Nijinsky pushed ballet beyond lurid romance and into uncharted aesthetic territory... more »


New Books

In the time of slavery, ghost stories were a way of keeping Black children safe from a host of terrors... more »


Essays & Opinions

Durkheim is taught as a purveyor of timeless insights. But what of his blatant sexism and support for French imperialism?... more »