May 27, 2024 | “The novel is the truth, and the rest is lies.” For René Girard, fiction alone preserves social and psychological configurations as they really are... more »


May 24, 2024 | Armed and ready for the apocalypse, Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s followers went underground in 1990. What happened next?... more »


May 23, 2024 | “If writers see editors, with some justification, as a necessary evil, true editors often see themselves, appropriately, in the same way”... more »


May 22, 2024 | Grandmaster Hans Niemann beat the world’s best chess player but was accused of cheating. Now he’s been vindicated — or has he?... more »


May 21, 2024 | What should college students read in a time of protest? Noah Feldman, Martha Nussbaum, Sam Moyn recommend some books... more »


May 20, 2024 | Despite being seen as second rate, Gian Carlo Menotti and Carlisle Floyd defined mid-century American opera... more »


May 17, 2024 | "Her legacy is very uncomfortable," Benjamin Moser says of Susan Sontag. "It’s very spiny. It’s cactus-y. It’s like chewing the cactus without removing the exterior"... more »


May 16, 2024 | The art of noise. When is a clamor an affliction on the ears, and when is it beautiful music?... more »


May 15, 2024 | The world is divided between music people and lyrics people. Which one are you?... more »


May 14, 2024 | Melancholia, ennui, call it what you will. The feeling has a long history and a surprising political power... more »


May 13, 2024 | We tend to think of wilderness as a physical thing. It is in fact an idea that stems from a particular culture and has a particular history... more »


May 10, 2024 | Ice-age artists: Were they shamans high on mind-altering drugs? Or sober-minded chroniclers of the changing seasons?... more »


May 9, 2024 | Why have children stopped reading for fun? Blame screens, but not only screens... more »


May 8, 2024 | In the 1920s, young Cecilia Payne answered a vexing scientific question: What are stars made of? The scientific establishment was not pleased... more »


May 7, 2024 | Paul Auster’s career is a reminder that writers' lesser efforts can go unnoticed in the presence of their masterworks... more »


May 6, 2024 | Walter Kirn, the conspiratorially minded counter-elite journalist, tries a new way of sticking it to the ruling classes: founding a literary magazine... more »


May 3, 2024 | The dictionary people. These tweedy, eccentric amateur lexicographers made the Oxford English Dictionary possible... more »


May 2, 2024 | Since 1739, 130 Roman dodecahedrons have been discovered by archaeologists. But a mystery endures: What were they used for?... more »


May 1, 2024 | The Argentine writer and perennial Nobel candidate César Aira writes for hours before revising. The result is an obscene number of books... more »


April 30, 2024 | Derek Parfit set out to that prove progress in moral philosophy is possible. He failed, but in so doing salvaged the study of ethics... more »


April 29, 2024 | People in psychiatric institutions are often missing from the historical record. But what if we look through their suitcases?... more »


April 26, 2024 | Thanks to a recent antitrust trial, we have a clear look at the business of books. What it reveals isn’t pretty... more »


April 25, 2024 | Penelope Fitzgerald, long expected to produce works of genius, only began writing serious fiction at the age of 62. How come?... more »


April 24, 2024 | “A death by bureaucracy.” Why is the University of Oxford shuttering its Future of Humanity Institute?... more »


April 23, 2024 | When did it become embarrassing to like classical music? When it became thought of as an elite art... more »


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