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Since 1998, Arts & Letters Daily has linked to more than 17,000 articles, book reviews and essays. Consider supporting us. »
June 17, 2021

Articles of Note

1619, 1776 — America’s origins-obsessed historicism now dominates liberal circles. But origins are not our destinies  ... more »


New Books

Borges to his English translator: “Simplify me. Modify me. Make me stark…. Make me macho and gaucho and skinny”  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on those who “do not recognize that what they call a sophisticated take is really a simplistic mix of abstraction and orthodoxy”... more »


June 16, 2021

Articles of Note

Curators, academics, governments, boards, funders: This blob of cultural dominance, Dave Hickey is here to remind us, diverts our attention from beauty... more »


New Books

We take graphs and charts for granted, but in their earliest incarnations — to help understand longitude or train times — they were revolutionary ... more »


Essays & Opinions

In Joan Didion's writing, she doesn't quite tell us what she means. But we know how she feels... more »


June 15, 2021

Articles of Note

Edward de Bono, champion of “lateral thinking” and many implausible creative-thinking schemes, has died. He was 88... more »


New Books

Jon Meacham, a soft-spoken historian with the president’s ear, is impressively —  and maddeningly — everywhere... more »


Essays & Opinions

Art galleries and auctions can feel like intimidating, insular places. Here’s how to successfully buy art... more »


June 14, 2021

Articles of Note

Louise Bourgeois underwent psychoanalysis on and off from 1951 to 1985. It shaped her art but didn't relieve her misery  ... more »


New Books

"Within this wide great Universe,/Nothing doth firme and permanent appeare." The Faerie Queene approaches atheism  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Philosophy barely progresses, but what impedes it? Perhaps the solutions to the problems it takes on generate their own problems  ... more »


June 12, 2021

Articles of Note

“Have you ever made a decision that ended up ruining someone’s life?” A college dean has second thoughts   ... more »


New Books

Early 19th-century America was gripped by a war on science. Edgar Allan Poe battled for both sides... more »


Essays & Opinions

When a writer declines to such a degree as Naomi Wolf has, we need to ask: Was she always full of shit? ... more »


June 11, 2021

Articles of Note

Nero: Not that bad. The grisly and perverse crimes of the Roman emperor were very likely invented by vituperative historians  ... more »


New Books

The way we grieve now. For the social-media influencer Amanda Kloots, going offline was never an option, even when the worst happened  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Why have English departments fallen on hard times? Because professors stopped speaking the truth about literature  ... more »


June 10, 2021

Articles of Note

Eve Babitz, trying to get the Doors to change their name: "The Doors of Perception ... what an Ojai-geeky-too-LA-pottery-glazer kind of uncool idea"  ... more »


New Books

Dave Hickey's idiosyncratic blend of high and low - French theory and California surfing - gave him an unmistakable voice  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Retrospectives at the Tate and the Met, a five-volume catalogue raisonné, many biographies: Is there anything left to say about Francis Bacon?... more »


June 9, 2021

Articles of Note

The U.S. Army’s dalliance with positive psychology was a carnival of unskilled intuition and exaggerated storytelling — a textbook misuse of science  ... more »


New Books

Much has been made of Heidegger’s influence on Arendt. What about her influence on him?  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

“The death of J. Hillis Miller, in February, marked the end of an astonishing period in American academic literary criticism”  ... more »


June 8, 2021

Articles of Note

18th-century anatomy lessons had one big problem: the stench. Enter Marie-Marguerite Biheron and her perfectly accurate wax models  ... more »


New Books

The Homeric Question: Were the Iliad and the Odyssey really written by a historical individual named Homer?... more »


Essays & Opinions

If theology, science, and philosophy once shaped souls, a new power has superseded them: HR, the central organizing power of society... more »


June 7, 2021

Articles of Note

What are scientific papers meant to communicate? Reliable discoveries or messy, inspired guesswork?  ... more »


New Books

Before conquering Broadway and Hollywood, Mike Nichols was a bullied, hairless Jewish refugee without a word of English  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

A clock is not just a clock. It was created for social and political purposes, and it has a distinctive hold on our lives  ... more »


June 5, 2021

Articles of Note

Cicero, the first intellectual to succeed in politics, was more rhetorician than philosopher. He owed his rise to his sense of humor ... more »


New Books

The shock isn’t that America’s fragile union broke apart so spectacularly in 1861, but that it didn’t happen sooner  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Rachel Cusk’s “tribute” to Mabel Dodge Luhan does not not so much update her story as erode its complexity  ... more »


June 4, 2021

Articles of Note

Cantankerous and unwieldy, Thomas Mann’s Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man punctures the pieties of our time   ... more »


New Books

He invented or perfected the short story, the mystery, science fiction, and gothic horror: Is Poe the most influential American writer?   ... more »


Essays & Opinions

For progressives, Foucault can no longer be “the ‘unsurpassable horizon’ of critical thought.” So what comes next?   ... more »


June 3, 2021

Articles of Note

In June 1965, six boys washed up on a deserted island, where they stayed for a year. The real Lord of the Flies
... more »


New Books

Blades, poisons, guns, bombs, defenestration, and plump cushions: A history of political murder
... more »


Essays & Opinions

Coming out of a long depression, William James made a study of habits. The healthiest ones, he concluded, are those we manage to break... more »


June 2, 2021

Articles of Note

The heist was brazen: a Magritte snatched at gunpoint. Two years later, someone walked it into a Brussels police station. What happened?  ... more »


New Books

What do two centuries of American self-help best sellers say about the country? Louis Menand digs in  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

The antagonistic relationship between writers and critics has produced a rich literature of trolling. Both parties are vulnerable to humiliation... more »


June 1, 2021

Articles of Note

The misinformation age. Understanding the spread of wacky is about who you know, not what you think  ... more »


New Books

“Part of grief’s tyranny is that it robs you of remembering the things that matter.” In a pandemic, such theft is even more prevalent  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Conductors aren't quite unnecessary to an orchestra, but they're not as important as those baton wagglers would like us to think  ... more »


May 31, 2021

Articles of Note

A horizontal suggests a landscape. A square evokes timelessness. A circle, the universe itself. How to frame our experiences?  ... more »


New Books

"It is startling to witness just how much the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor at Jefferson's own university dislikes its patron, Thomas Jefferson”  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Thomas Nagel on moral intuition: Treating people decently is a vital part of our lives, regardless of the consequences  ... more »


May 29, 2021

Articles of Note

Why is it so easy to hate think tanks? Created to advance scientific thinking, they've become factories of partisan grift... more »


New Books

To understand architecture, look beyond surface materials, like brick and glass, to the technologies that fueled construction... more »


Essays & Opinions

Because the art world is loath to fully censor harmful works, a new tactic has emerged: “curatorial activism”... more »


May 28, 2021

Articles of Note

In the 1940s, a fiery debate over inclusion, history, and identity swept a city: Whether to hyphenate “New-York”... more »


New Books

Dilemma of the Dylan biographer: His fabulism is baked into his DNA. Explaining him is about as interesting as explaining a magic trick   ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Book reviewing: An elegy. Ever since there has been literature, there have been critics. Now that’s in doubt   ... more »


May 27, 2021

Articles of Note

Just below the dream of space travel lurks a nightmare. There will be no real “arrival” on this fantasy trip: It’s all enclosures and pressurized chambers   ... more »


New Books

Mabel Loomis Todd is remembered as a literary villain: a seductress who butchered Emily Dickinson’s poems while editing them. The truth is more complex... more »


Essays & Opinions

Who's the 83-year-old muckraker who turned up a Chinese government operation at the University of Chicago? Marshall Sahlins... more »


May 26, 2021

Articles of Note

Tyler Cowen knows a dirty little secret about economics professors that helps to explain why the field generates so few radical new ideas... more »


New Books

What’s the link between revolutionary thought and conservative disposition? Consider George Berkeley... more »


Essays & Opinions

Conservatives have an unlikely tool to fight the new progressivism and the church of intersectionality: the theories of Michel Foucault... more »


May 25, 2021

Articles of Note

Both Mike Nichols and Tom Stoppard were interested in comedy, loved the theater, but landed in Hollywood. The paths each followed are telling... more »


New Books

Salman Rushdie has many theories as to why his recent work has been considered abominable. If only those theories carried water... more »


Essays & Opinions

Thomas Sowell, a year into his U. of Chicago Ph.D. under Milton Friedman, remained a staunch Marxist. What changed his mind?... more »


May 24, 2021

Articles of Note

Orwell in Spain. He had gone to fight for socialism and democracy, but quickly concluded that dictatorship was inevitable.   ... more »


New Books

How we dress -- and why. Our wardrobes are filled with coded messages about power, wealth, and status.   ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Freud and others warned about the violence and irrationality of crowds. We hear less about their immense dignity   ... more »


May 22, 2021

Articles of Note

Will Roth's personal letters burn? Scholars are trying to prevent that fate, but his biographer's deal with the estate is shrouded in mystery... more »


New Books

The novelist Joshua Cohen is clearly a genius. Now if he could only channel his prodigious talent toward a calmer sort of wisdom  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

"Can someone tell when you Google them?" Becca Rothfeld considers the emotional investment and aesthetics of online stalking... more »


May 21, 2021

Articles of Note

Nikole Hannah-Jones, the journalist behind The New York Times’s “1619 Project” has been denied tenure at UNC. What happened?  ... more »


New Books

Natalie Barney, Sylvia Beach, Gertrude Stein: Why did lesbians tend to be not just custodians but also creators of modernist work?  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

For Leo Strauss, the public sphere was for unsophisticated opinion writing, not true philosophical reflection  ... more »


May 20, 2021

Articles of Note

Michael Dirda is back to browsing bookstores. Among his first purchases are Memoirs of an Oxford Don and The Ultimate Spider-Man... more »


New Books

Edmund de Waal’s tour of belle époque Paris is singular in its preoccupation — or obsession — with things... more »


Essays & Opinions

Among the most reproduced books in English are the Bible, the works of Shakespeare, and The Compleat Angler, a 17th-century fishing manual... more »


May 19, 2021

Articles of Note

Take note, would-be iconoclasts: The Journal of Controversial Ideas wants to see what you've been afraid to submit... more »


New Books

For most of history, there were just two types of food: plants and animals. Then along came a third, more akin to poison... more »


Essays & Opinions

Mary Beard: “Classics is what we make it, and the fact that the classical world has been misrepresented should not be used against it” ... more »


May 18, 2021

Articles of Note

Banal, pervasive, and crucial to modernity: the history of the humble file cabinet shall be ignored no longer... more »


New Books

For most human history, life expectancy was 30 and a quarter of children died before their first birthday. What changed is humanity’s greatest achievement... more »


Essays & Opinions

What has Covid done to the arts? It’s “not a recession. It is not even a depression. It is a catastrophe”... more »


May 17, 2021

Articles of Note

Ask Salman Rushdie about anything - but not about the fatwa. "I'm not a geopolitical entity. I'm someone writing in a room."  ... more »


New Books

As a child, Kurt Gödel wouldn't stop asking questions. He acquired a nickname, Herr Warum: "Mr. Why"  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

When Richard Wright moved to Paris, he did not turn his back on America. Rather, he gained a new vantage ... more »


May 15, 2021

Articles of Note

At 30, Francis Bacon took stock: Failed designer. Failed artist. Two years later, he emerged as a confident painter   ... more »


New Books

For Adrienne Rich, the gap between life and art was fraught. She was too narrow or too wide, too personal or too political   ... more »


Essays & Opinions

The textile hypothesis: The reason for humankind’s shift to agriculture has to do less with food and more with clothing... more »


May 14, 2021

Articles of Note

Mark Crispin Miller, a scholar of propaganda and mass persuasion, made his name studying conspiracy theories. Now he pushes them  ... more »


New Books

"Spite is for people who want to shove you off the garden walk. A more humane politics would ask how to make the path wider"  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Bolaño's shadow. Marketing trends mislead the few U.S. publishers devoted to Latin American literature ... more »