Dec. 15, 2017 | “I write because I hate,” said William Gass, who died last week. Anger at his bigoted father and alcoholic mother shaped a singular philosophical vision... more »


Dec. 14, 2017 | Read the acknowledgments. Amid the dreary enumeration — librarians, fact-checkers, mothers, therapists, divorce lawyers — truths seep out... more »


Dec. 13, 2017 | When French theorists invaded Baltimore. Drinks flowed, insults were hurled, Derrida triumphed, and Lacan ran up a up a $900 phone bill... more »


Dec. 12, 2017 | What do Ursula K. Le Guin, chronicler of imaginary lands, and James Salter, who wrote of soldiers and marriage, have in common? They're both moralists... more »


Dec. 11, 2017 | Adam Gopnik has been called a monster of privilege, a “pastry fetishist.” His response? We don’t dismiss Proust for depicting a well-off white man in Paris in the 1880s... more »


Dec. 9, 2017 | In her fiction, Jenny Diski preferred self-concealment to baring her soul. Yet her life was her material, and, in the end, she was her writing... more »


Dec. 8, 2017 | Is a full understanding of physical reality within humanity’s grasp? Probably not, says Martin Rees. Some insights will have to await a post-human intelligence... more »


Dec. 7, 2017 | "The Man Who Fascinated Women (Writers)." Clancy Sigal, a wounded figure and onetime lover of Doris Lessing, makes for an unusual guide through blacklist-era Hollywood... more »


Dec. 6, 2017 | In Vermeer's time, an artist had to be a chemist — weighing, grounding, burning, sifting, heating, cooling, filtering, all before applying a drop of paint... more »


Dec. 5, 2017 | In 1767, Carl Linnaeus was suffering from information overload. His solution: the index card, a turning point in the relationship between power and technology... more »


Dec. 4, 2017 | “I am not a survivor,” says John Lukacs, 94. "I am a crumbling remnant” of the end of the 500-year-long Age of Books.... more »


Dec. 2, 2017 | Giraffomania. The first giraffe in France arrived in 1826 and caused a sensation. Everything, even art, was “la mode à la girafe”... more »


Dec. 1, 2017 | On bias against women in art. Louise Bourgeois knew just about everyone in the art world by the 1940s yet didn’t become famous until the 1980s... more »


Nov. 30, 2017 | Lorca thought being from Granada helped him understand Gypsies, blacks, and Jews. But adopting poetic forms from stigmatized groups is a complicated business... more »


Nov. 29, 2017 | Walcott, Brodsky, Heaney. Three great poets, at the height of their powers, converged on Boston. The result: Rabelaisian gusto... more »


Nov. 28, 2017 | The world’s most pessimistic philosopher. David Benatar thinks life is so bad, people shouldn’t have children. A trip inside the strange world of anti-natalist thinking... more »


Nov. 27, 2017 | "Liberalism is failing not because it fell short but because it was true to itself," says Patrick Deneen. "Liberalism is failing because liberalism succeeded"... more »


Nov. 25, 2017 | The greatest expression of Romanticism in the 20th century can be found in the works of Tolkien. But after Tolkien, now what? Bradley J. Birzer has some thoughts... more »


Nov. 24, 2017 | When language divides. Even a lingua franca like English has esoteric registers, which repel outsiders and reinforce the insularity of its speakers... more »


Nov. 23, 2017 | The complex history of flash photography: Welcomed at first as a quasi-divine way of showing what had previously been hidden, now it can seem like an unwelcome intrusion... more »


Nov. 22, 2017 | Economics is not inherently unreliable; it just tends to be that way. The fault belongs to economists themselves, but also to those who ignore them... more »


Nov. 21, 2017 | Viewing other people as objects enables our very worst conduct — that notion has long been a reassuring one. The truth may be harder to accept... more »


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 »


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