Nov. 20, 2017 | Stephen F. Cohen, who says he's skeptical about everything except horses and bourbon, is oddly credulous about Putin. His enemies and friends ask the same question: Why?... more »


Nov. 18, 2017 | In the Vale of Malmesbury, 80 miles west of London, the clay soil is shaped into gentle hills, dotted with stone farmhouses. It's here that conservatism meets conservation... more »


Nov. 17, 2017 | Glass is everywhere in photography, especially broken glass. When it breaks, what intrigues us is the brittleness that was there all along... more »


Nov. 16, 2017 | Ever heard of a wimmelbilderbuch, grimoire, or sammelband? Maybe you've visited a xylotheque? If that makes sense, congratulations: You know your obscure archival lingo... more »


Nov. 15, 2017 | Kierkegaard is a favorite of angsty adolescents. But it is adults, more than ever, who can most benefit from the ethical seriousness of his life and work... more »


Nov. 14, 2017 | Universal beauty is an old and compelling idea. Our species, however, is marked not by a particular aesthetic preference, but by the multiple paths of creativity itself... more »


Nov. 13, 2017 | Children's literature is concerned essentially with adventure, returning home — and with food. Whether teatime or the threat of being devoured, the motif is inescapable... more »


Nov. 11, 2017 | The invention of John Wayne. He was hard, brutal, anachronistic, a rebuke to the softness of postwar affluence. He was a creation of John Ford... more »


Nov. 10, 2017 | Did the ancient Greeks lack consciousness? So asserted Julian Jaynes, in a 1976 best seller. Now science has caught up with him... more »


Nov. 9, 2017 | How did Mark Bray, a buttoned-up academic historian, became the public face of antifa? By shedding his "inessential weirdness"... more »


Nov. 8, 2017 | When language met love. To a romantic interest, the budding poet Sylvia Plath wrote, “I love you more than the alphabet and Roget’s thesaurus combined.”... more »


Nov. 7, 2017 | “Curator” once meant amateur or iconoclast (think Barnum showcasing “industrious fleas”). Now we have “museum studies” and credentials. Have exhibits improved?... more »


Nov. 6, 2017 | Can a pure and radical idealism be sustained without eventually curdling into despair or cynicism? The Center for Political Beauty, in Berlin, tests the limits of aggressive optimism... more »


Nov. 4, 2017 | We talk about books we haven’t read and books we’ve read but forgotten. Maybe one day we’ll discuss books that we’ve imagined... more »


Nov. 3, 2017 | The curious influence of Samuel Moyn. How did the deceptively boyish-looking historian at Yale became a role model to a generation of young political thinkers?... more »


Nov. 2, 2017 | Herman Melville’s son, Stanwix Melville, rode through cemeteries, experienced a shipwreck, and dealt with failing eyesight. He was dead at 34... more »


Nov. 1, 2017 | Theodore Dreiser tried just about everything to succeed, even working for a publishing house whose motto was “The worse the swill, the more the public will buy”... more »


Oct. 31, 2017 | Where does the human capacity for counting come from? Is our understanding of, say, “18” a biological endowment? Or is it a product of culture? ... more »


Oct. 30, 2017 | Reading books is an excellent thing to do, but there are any number of excellent things that someone, even a writer, might wish to do. Orwell did them.... more »


Oct. 28, 2017 | How to be good at literary parties: Stay away from rich people. Skip networking events. The best way to befriend famous people is to have no idea who they are... more »


Oct. 27, 2017 | Mark Twain had one goal: Make money. By the age of 50, he was rich. “I am frightened by the proportions of my prosperity,” he said, and he was right to be afraid... more »


Oct. 26, 2017 | Historical analogies are simplistic, misleading, and essential. We compare because it's necessary, even inevitable... more »


Oct. 25, 2017 | Kirkus, one of the country’s most prolific book reviews, has managed to misapprehend both the nature of reviewing and the nature of books... more »


Oct. 24, 2017 | Edgar Allan Poe was a savage but uncalculating critic. He spent years mocking “The Literati of New York City,” then attempted to work among them... more »


Oct. 23, 2017 | Under fire with Allied troops during World War II, Jean-Pierre Melville made an oath to himself: If he survived, he'd get back to Paris and build a film studio... more »


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