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Since 1998, Arts & Letters Daily has linked to more than 17,000 articles, book reviews and essays. Consider supporting us. »
Nov. 30, 2023

Articles of Note

In Central European spa towns rich in literary history, you can bathe in everything from beer to radon... more »


New Books

How four women – Arendt, de Beauvoir, Rand, Weil – concluded that philosophy had to be utterly reimagined... more »


Essays & Opinions

 “You’re not allowed to be whiter than him ... And you cannot wear a hat because that is his thing.” Patricia Lockwood meets the Pope... more »


Nov. 29, 2023

Articles of Note

Moby-Dick had been out of print for decades when Melville died. Since then, we’ve rediscovered the Melville we need... more »


New Books

Stigmatization of Schoenberg. The argument that classical music took a wrong turn in the middle of the 20th century is downright wrong... more »


Essays & Opinions

Susan Sontag and George Steiner could be extraordinarily ill-mannered. But their unabashed critical ardor remains infectious... more »


Nov. 28, 2023

Articles of Note

Spare a thought for cliché-verre. Part printmaking, part photography, this 19th-century artistic medium never caught on... more »


New Books

The chapter. It dates to 13th-century narrative units in the Gospels, before the separation of sentences and even of words

... more »


Essays & Opinions

A best-selling philosophical text on Amazon is the decade-old dissertation of a writer best known as Bronze Age Pervert... more »


Nov. 27, 2023

Articles of Note

Reassessing the work of Georg Lukács means expurgating Bolshevik themes and some long-outdated Marxist concepts. That’s asking a lot... more »


New Books

Humans make machines, and machines remake humans. Small devices have revolutionized humanity in big ways... more »


Essays & Opinions

Rescuing Pushkin from commemoration and co-optation: He “deserves to be stripped of his official veneration to reveal the irreverent poet underneath”... more »


Nov. 24, 2023

Articles of Note

The jargon of 17th-century London, the slang of 1960s teens — if you can imagine it, it’s in Madeline Kripke’s dictionary collection... more »


New Books

For the 11th-century Benedictine monk Saint Anselm, reading was a form of communion. It still is... more »


Essays & Opinions

Censorship is a widespread problem among scientists. It’s most often driven by the scientists themselves... more »


Nov. 23, 2023

Articles of Note

In the early 1900s, almost no Jewish person could be hired in publishing. By the 1960s, there was talk of a Jewish literary mafia. What happened?... more »


New Books

Who was the greatest writer of the Latin American Boom? Not Mario Vargas Llosa or Gabriel García Márquez, but José Donoso... more »


Essays & Opinions

Do animals need complex brains to experience consciousness? New work on scallops, jellyfish, and crabs suggests not... more »


Nov. 22, 2023

Articles of Note

Undergoing cancer treatment, Paul Auster has thoughts on the American obsession with closure — “the stupidest idea” he’s ever heard of... more »


New Books

The liberal’s dilemma. Are they suffering from their own success, or from the fact that liberalism has never been tried?... more »


Essays & Opinions

When Gawker went girly and created a home for radical self-disclosure and all-abiding contempt. Moe Tkacik looks back... more »


Nov. 21, 2023

Articles of Note

Three days of “Rothdom” — a Newark festival dedicated to Philip Roth — spur a thought: His creative, licentious force is best consumed alone... more »


New Books

Dickens the devious? A new biography stretches credulity to portray the writer as pathologically deceitful... more »


Essays & Opinions

My queue, myself. Ordering DVDs from Netflix served as a kind of biography of the various phases of my life... more »


Nov. 20, 2023

Articles of Note

In the 1960s, scientists believed in a connection between psychedelics and psychosis. Is there anything to that?... more »


New Books

Name something that has lost any vestige of utility yet remains a beguiling object full of detail, color, and wonder... more »


Essays & Opinions

Whether the conglomeration of the publishing industry has been good or bad is beside the point. Artists adapt... more »


Nov. 17, 2023

Articles of Note

Beginning in the 13th century, a new paradigm of measurement and mathematics built the modern world... more »


New Books

“To be a writer today is to make yourself a product for public consumption on the internet.” Few live this maxim as publicly as Taylor Lorenz... more »


Essays & Opinions

George Packer: “In taking political action, writers and artists are likelier to betray than fulfill the demands of their vocation”... more »


Nov. 16, 2023

Articles of Note

Stanley Fish on teaching at Florida’s newly controversial New College: “Virtue is not the business of the academy”... more »


New Books

Aristotle condemned the “birth of money from money,” but even then it was a losing battle. The concept of interest has been around for over 4,000 years... more »


Essays & Opinions

The cultural position of aliens has changed radically. We can expect to hear a lot more about them in coming years... more »


Nov. 15, 2023

Articles of Note

Shakespeare’s first folio, in 1623, had an initial print run of 750. Today 233 copies survive, all of them unique... more »


New Books

George Scialabba’s chief intellectual virtue is generosity. Yet being treated fairly by him — as Christopher Hitchens found — can be devastating... more »


Essays & Opinions

No Christian saint described levitation in as much detail — or complained about it with as much vigor — as Saint Teresa of Avila... more »


Nov. 14, 2023

Articles of Note

“Stalin’s one and only culinary extravagance in those days was a bathtub full of pickled gherkins”... more »


New Books

Dwight Garner cannot read without eating, and because he is a New York Times book critic, he reads quite a lot... more »


Essays & Opinions

Russell Kirk and the gothic cast of the conservative mind. What do his ghost stories reveal about his political outlook?... more »


Nov. 13, 2023

Articles of Note

Generative AI has put us in a unique and unsettling headspace. Claude Shannon got there first... more »


New Books

Pageantries of power. Roman emperors were overworked bureaucrats tasked with theatrical displays of strength... more »


Essays & Opinions

The varieties of loneliness: We can feel isolated from strangers, from loved ones, even from ourselves... more »


Nov. 10, 2023

Articles of Note

For decades, Andrew Wylie was the world's most audacious broker of literary talent. Has the Wylie moment passed?... more »


New Books

John Silber was famously impulsive and irascible. He was also a master of the art of cultivating academic prestige... more »


Essays & Opinions

Anthropologists once balanced a range of moral obligations. No longer. The field is now governed by its efforts in anti-racism... more »


Nov. 9, 2023

Articles of Note

Imagine tracking the winners and judges for top literary awards across 75 years. Now you can. Does it tell you anything? ... more »


New Books

Antihumanism and transhumanism are dangerous and nihilistic revolts against humanity. Are they also irresistible? ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Italo Calvino’s purpose was to exalt the imagination — to evoke images so powerful that the “real” world disappears... more »


Nov. 8, 2023

Articles of Note

The hard problem of consciousness is nowhere near an answer. Scientists and philosophers struggle on... more »


New Books

In defense of vocal fry. We love to hate ways of speaking that do not accord with our own. But what if bad English is good?... more »


Essays & Opinions

Writers’ legacies were once preyed upon by snoopy biographers. Now the heirs seek to monetize every last shred of creative output... more »


Nov. 7, 2023

Articles of Note

Why are movies getting longer? They’re not. But the ones that are longer are the ones people pay to see... more »


New Books

Camus’s 1949 book tour: “For the first time in my life I feel myself in the middle of a psychological collapse”... more »


Essays & Opinions

Philosophy’s plight: The serious books are incomprehensibly narrow; the broad, grand books are full of silly self-help... more »


Nov. 6, 2023

Articles of Note

Whether you speak with a retroflex R, a bunched R, or a crispy R, it’s clear that R is the weirdest letter... more »


New Books

Anthony Hecht’s darkness and light. The poet’s complex aesthetic insisted on art as a compensation for pain and disappointment... more »


Essays & Opinions

In the decades-long battle over Louis Armstrong’s legacy, Armstrong himself ensured he’d get the last word... more »


Nov. 3, 2023

Articles of Note

Memoir of a momentary extremist. For two years, Michael Kazin was a wannabe revolutionary. It was both thrilling and sobering... more »


New Books

Mrs. Orwell’s Invisible Life.” Domesticity and patriarchy shaped Eileen Blair’s life. But pointing that out doesn’t recover her story... more »


Essays & Opinions

“A perfect photograph is a lyric poem. It gestures towards narrative, but does not spell it out”... more »


Nov. 2, 2023

Articles of Note

The electricians of the 18th century dumbfounded their audiences. They were taken to be part miracle workers, part magicians... more »


New Books

Seamus Heaney and the art of translation. “You get the high of finishing something you don’t have to start”... more »


Essays & Opinions

Jeanette Winterson on the upsurge of women writing about their experience: “I find it quite boring”... more »


Nov. 1, 2023

Articles of Note

Secular humanist definitions of morality face a dilemma: Choose a culture-centered ethics or return to a God-centered one... more »


New Books

Not just genre fiction. The pulp magazine Weird Tales published the work of H.P. Lovecraft, Tennessee Williams, and Ray Bradbury... more »


Essays & Opinions

Art in a time of war. In a bid to do something, anything, artists and intellectuals are signing open letters... more »


Oct. 31, 2023

Articles of Note

Unherd prides itself on ideological eclecticism. But just how heterodox is the ascendant publication?... more »


New Books

Books are big business, and trends in fiction are tied to marketing strategies. Yet these objects of art also resist the market... more »


Essays & Opinions

Tom Wolfe’s eye for the jugular. If you worry about people’s feelings, he said,  “you’re no longer writing, you’re involved in public relations”... more »


Oct. 30, 2023

Articles of Note

The quality of a whisper, the stress of a syllable, the pitch of a voice: Alexander John Ellis’s life as a word nerd... more »


New Books

Is indeterminacy the goal of the humanities? Or are actual political goals — organizing, coalition-building — within its remit?... more »... more »


Essays & Opinions

Both literary style and gender are “imitation games we play with pre-existing forms and norms.” Namwali Serpell explains... more »


Oct. 27, 2023

Articles of Note

“Stinking fish,” “abominable wine,” “dirty taverns.” In 1783, the Continental Congress spent a rotten summer in New Jersey... more »


New Books

The thoughts and the career of Don DeLillo, an old soul from another era, prefigures our own, even now... more »


Essays & Opinions

“How did a heartfelt writer like Elizabeth Gilbert come to adopt the neutered rhetoric of brand management?”... more »


Oct. 26, 2023

Articles of Note

Academics tend to focus on enlarging the borders of their disciplines. Instead, they should think about how those disciplines come to an end... more »


New Books

Ibn Sina and Biruni were polymaths of the same time and place. But they differed in personality and perspective... more »


Essays & Opinions

A student stood up and said: ‘This author is a misogynist.” Gale Walden on dating, loving, and teaching David Foster Wallace... more »


Oct. 25, 2023

Articles of Note

Thirty-nine place settings, most of them displaying an aestheticized vulva. “The Dinner Party” almost broke Judy Chicago... more »


New Books

Where authors find jobs, where they go to school, how they get published: These social facts have aesthetic consequences”... more »


Essays & Opinions

A good novel is a good novel, and a bad novel is a bad novel, regardless of who – or what generative AI – wrote it... more »


Oct. 24, 2023

Articles of Note

Musician’s dystonia. Some of the finest have suffered devastating hand spasms and shakes. Why?... more »


New Books

John le Carré's serial philandering was more than a character flaw. It was integral to his literary life... more »


Essays & Opinions

Unfairly besmirched as screechy, hectoring, and juvenile, the exclamation point is in dire need of a reputation reclamation... more »


Oct. 23, 2023

Articles of Note

Although Louise Glück was often identified with post-confessional poetry, she was too interested in others to risk the solipsism of mere selfhood... more »


New Books

The tyranny of beauty. Empress Elisabeth of Austria washed her hair with raw egg and brandy, and sometimes she slept in a mask lined with raw veal... more »


Essays & Opinions

We celebrate the humanities and we bash the humanities, but rarely do we pause to ask: What the hell are the humanities?... more »


Oct. 20, 2023

Articles of Note

Agrippa’s De occulta philosophia, in becoming the manual of magical practice, also advanced the idea that magic was a kind of philosophy... more »


New Books

You’ve heard it before: Digital disruption will sweep aside our staid universities. A new book asks: Has the time finally come?... more »


Essays & Opinions

George Eliot offers us “neither a gospel, nor imitable heroines, but a kind of negative wisdom about our relations”... more »