April 25, 2017 | If you're in Reykjavik and want to say “heavy snowfall with large flakes occurring in calm wind,” there's a word for that: Hundslappadrifa. Can it survive AI?... more »


April 24, 2017 | Scholars are painstakingly reproducing all of Emily Dickinson's faintly penciled jottings. The undertaking is necessary and laudable. It's also misguided ... more »


April 22, 2017 | The defiant conformists of Bloomsbury. “Only in Great Britain did the modern intelligentsia conform to the ruling class rather than rebel against it”... more »


April 21, 2017 | Long skeptical of the value of philosophy, Silicon Valley may be coming around. “When bullshit can no longer be tolerated,” they turn to a sort-of Chief Philosophy Officer... more »


April 20, 2017 | The sculptor Camille Claudel spent 30 years in an asylum. Some blame her breakdown on a failed relationship with Rodin — but it was she who broke his heart... more »


April 19, 2017 | The legend of Zelda Fitzgerald. She was ahead of her time, a proto-feminist, a victim of the patriarchy and of her husband. Or something like that... more »


April 18, 2017 | Should public art be affirmative? Kara Walker makes provocative, monumental works that challenge the idea... more »


April 17, 2017 | In 1961, a B-list Hollywood figure sought out J.D. Salinger to secure film rights to Catcher in the Rye. Their encounter reads like a "one-act play bound for the theater of the absurd"... more »


April 15, 2017 | Conrad Aiken’s poetry is often dismissed as literary “navel-gazing.” But consider his sense of grandeur: His tombstone read “Cosmos Mariner — Destination Unknown”... more »


April 14, 2017 | During World War I, the grim task of ferrying the wounded from the front to the hospital often fell to volunteers — an experience that altered literary history... more »


April 13, 2017 | Arthur Balfour was not a great prime minister of Britain, but he was a serious philosopher. Intellectual politicians, once common, now are nonexistent... more »


April 12, 2017 | The art of dream interpretation was long dominated by religious approaches. Then came the rationalists, philosophers, poets, and psychologists... more »


April 11, 2017 | “Artists are always being lectured on their moral duty,” says Margaret Atwood, but don’t count on their fortitude. “The pen is mightier than the sword, but only in retrospect”... more »


April 10, 2017 | Expertise is everywhere under attack, a reality that's stirred moral panic. Why? Because the flip side of faith in expertise is a belief that the public is incompetent... more »


April 8, 2017 | In Robert Lowell’s day, men didn’t talk about their feelings much. People in general didn’t talk about mental illness. He talked about both... more »


April 7, 2017 | The market value and reputation of the art world's enfant terrible Damien Hirst have sunk. A new work, involving a shipwreck, will try to raise them... more »


April 6, 2017 | From Soviet verse to spontaneous hoedowns. Clad in Cossack garb, Yevgeny Yevtushenko developed a passion for cowboy poetry in Oklahoma... more »


April 5, 2017 | In some cultures, shyness is a virtue, a sign of refinement. But it befuddled Darwin, who didn't see any benefit to our species... more »


April 4, 2017 | Think of a big, popular history book written by a woman other than Mary Beard. How to explain this persistent gender disparity? A few theories... more »


April 3, 2017 | The story of behavioral science making the world a better place one nudge at a time is ubiquitous. But the same techniques can be used for deception and manipulation... more »


April 1, 2017 | Derek Parfit was born brilliant. But he took unusual care to scrub his life of anything that could distract from his work ... more »


March 31, 2017 | Why should there be only one reality? The question drove Julio Cortázar to think of accepting the normalcy of everyday life as a painful bit of stupidity... more »


March 30, 2017 | Need someone to frame a house, glaze a window, build a fence, plow a field, butcher a hen, call a square dance, explain your soul? Daniel Dennett is your man... more »


March 29, 2017 | We live in an age of offense. Never has outrage enjoyed more legitimacy or been more a marker of moral status ... more »


March 28, 2017 | “The boy socialist of Oakland.” At 20, Jack London spent his time on soapboxes condemning capitalism. How did his political philosophy shape his fiction?... more »


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