Sept. 20, 2018 | The death of the celebrity profile. It’s been supplanted by Instagram and the first-person essays of the famous. The loss to public culture is real... more »


Sept. 19, 2018 | Remembering the Village Voice. Drugs were delivered to the office, writers stabbed one another in the back, headlocks were occasionally employed... more »


Sept. 18, 2018 | An accursed genre of personal essay has now emerged: “My Year of Being Held Responsible for My Own Behavior”... more »


Sept. 17, 2018 | Maeve Brennan had lost it. She was sleeping next to a bathroom at The New Yorker and was giving away her money. All William Shawn would say was, “She’s a beautiful writer”... more »


Sept. 15, 2018 | When we are young, we are taught that art comes from lofty places — the pursuit of truth, beauty, sublimity. Nonsense. It comes from antipathy, insecurity, jealousy... more »


Sept. 14, 2018 | Literary biography is a strange addiction. Reading a life is like reading a poem — full of ambiguity. This is rarely truer than in the case of Pablo Neruda... more »


Sept. 13, 2018 | “Please be kind to Muriel.” A love affair gone wrong, intimate letters leaked — blackmail and betrayal hovered over both Muriel Spark’s fiction and her life... more »


Sept. 12, 2018 | The number of scientists is growing at a faster rate than the human population. Why haven't more scientists produced more discoveries?... more »


Sept. 11, 2018 | The aphorism is rhetorical algebra, an elevated and ambitious format. Too bad the genre’s current state is one of disgrace... more »


Sept. 10, 2018 | 1968 and the fate of radical protest. The counterculture evaporated into New Age bromides and identity politics. But the core of resistance never entirely disappeared... more »


Sept. 8, 2018 | Higher education has historically been a bulwark against authoritarianism — or its pawn. What will it be this time?... more »


Sept. 7, 2018 | Piero Manzoni’s 1961 work, “Artist’s Shit,” featured 90 small, sealed tins. After they exploded in market value, poor autoclaving produced some literal explosions... more »


Sept. 6, 2018 | Self-help and the apostles of positivity. Why do we demand the most conspicuous happiness from people with the greatest reason to be unhappy?... more »


Sept. 5, 2018 | Modernism and the middle class once ruled the art world. No longer. The firewall between art and money has been abandoned... more »


Sept. 4, 2018 | Immortality can sound appealing, but what would it really entail? Tedium and banality — like being trapped in a never-ending cocktail party ... more »


Sept. 3, 2018 | “Art, it seems to me, should simplify.” So explained Willa Cather, who, through uncompromising effort, wrote the Great American Novel... more »


Sept. 1, 2018 | When genuine criticism is undertaken at the risk of ostracism, marginalization, retribution — this is where abuses like Avital Ronell’s grow like moss, or mold... more »


Aug. 31, 2018 | The Nietzsche wars have raged for more than a century. When a sunny, happier, and more literary Nietzsche threatened to take hold, the bad Nietzsche was never far behind... more »


Aug. 30, 2018 | Romanticism vs. romance novels. For Wordsworth, the genre was “sickly and stupid”; for Coleridge, it merited reading only in indolence... more »


Aug. 29, 2018 | Writing and reading online is an exercise in willful misunderstanding, impatience, and hostility. The result? The op-edization of everything... more »


Aug. 28, 2018 | As politics has become an exercise in drawing a bright line between those on the right and those in the wrong, Meghan Daum falls back in love with an old flame: nuance... more »


Aug. 27, 2018 | For some, socialism conjures the Soviet Union and the gulag; for others, Scandinavia and guaranteed income. What do we mean, in 2018, when we talk about socialism?... more »


Aug. 25, 2018 | For a rare group — Witold Gombrowicz, Anaïs Nin, perhaps Franz Kafka, especially John Cheever private diaries comprise their finest writing... more »


Aug. 24, 2018 | “A writer,” said V.S. Naipaul, “is in the end not his books, but his myth.” Now that he has died, what is the myth of Naipaul?... more »


Aug. 23, 2018 | The best spy and detective fiction, we're told, transcends its genre. That’s a backhanded compliment, of course, but what does it even mean?... more »


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