Sept. 21, 2017 | Evelyn Waugh's prose, known for its lethality, is seen by some as inconsistent with his Catholicism. But he couldn't have been a great satirist were he not a Catholic... more »


Sept. 20, 2017 | James Burnham, Trotskyist turned CIA operative, wasn't an unscrupulous shape-shifter. He was a committed activist who never tired of hawking himself... more »


Sept. 19, 2017 | Pankaj Mishra: “Longing for the ancien régime increasingly defines the Atlantic seaboard’s pundits as much as it does the fine people defending the honour of Robert E. Lee”... more »


Sept. 18, 2017 | The idea of "white people" has a history, but it’s a short one. It was invented on October 19, 1613, the brainchild of the Jacobean playwright Thomas Middleton... more »


Sept. 16, 2017 | HBO, TED, podcasts, documentaries: Those cultural totems of the educated elite are entirely consistent with the lazy nature of elite intellectual activity... more »


Sept. 15, 2017 | French was “the pinnacle of logic”; Flemish was the true first language. Behold the folly of early linguistics, a field full of crackpots... more »


Sept. 14, 2017 | Paris’s Bureau of Found Objects includes a wedding dress and a human skull. People who come to claim a lost possession often lose another in the process... more »


Sept. 13, 2017 | Every generation discovers its own Edgar Allan Poe. Now gig-economy writers have a kindred spirit: Poe, too, was a broke-ass freelancer... more »


Sept. 12, 2017 | For a time, the personal essay colonized the internet. Now the boom is over. Sadly, nobody told Joyce Maynard... more »


Sept. 11, 2017 | Poet-critics long ago traded the patronage of aristocrats for that of the government, foundation, or university administrator. That system is now partially in ruins... more »


Sept. 9, 2017 | He couldn’t sing and didn’t know anything about the music, yet James Baldwin called himself a blues singer. What does it mean for a writer to be a blues singer?... more »


Sept. 8, 2017 | Philip Levine was the poet of the left wing of the left wing of the past, the bard of workaday exhaustion and routine. Paul Berman has come to praise him... more »


Sept. 7, 2017 | "The term 'resilience' was coined in the 1970s," says Edgar Jones. Before that, "everyone was assumed to be tough, so there wasn’t really a word for it"... more »


Sept. 6, 2017 | Meet Henry George — economist, pamphleteer, journalist. Once famous, now dead and forgotten, he's the guru whom Silicon Valley doesn't know it needs... more »


Sept. 5, 2017 | "All that is solid melts into air," wrote Marx in the 19th century. He was premature. Postmodernity, which aspires to melt solids, arrived a century later. A pre-history of post-truth... more »


Sept. 4, 2017 | Vivian Maier was a street photographer with hoarding tendencies who produced startling and memorable images. Most else about her life is a cloud of unknowns... more »


Sept. 2, 2017 | Few have played as central a role in the long, slow destruction of literary study as Stephen Greenblatt. And few have profited from it as much, professionally and financially... more »


Sept. 1, 2017 | When Norman Mailer heard that Elizabeth Hardwick was reviewing him in Partisan Review, he pre-emptively bought an ad defending himself. She got the last word, of course... more »


Aug. 31, 2017 | Nobody played Schubert like Sviatoslav Richter. His secret: tempo. Slow, even glacial, or making no sense at all, but all mesmerizing... more »


Aug. 30, 2017 | How did religious freedom come to the West? Spinoza and Locke are often invoked, but in reality, persecution simply became too expensive... more »


Aug. 29, 2017 | The author of a novel is not always well placed to interpret it. Ask Orhan Pamuk, who has spent a decade reflecting on the pitfalls of teaching his own books... more »


Aug. 28, 2017 | Emotions are seen as something to be tamed by cool reason. This seductive view of intelligence reflects a bogus view of the brain... more »


Aug. 26, 2017 | The e-book of The Godfather amounts to a million bytes. A picture of Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone: 35,000 bytes. We know this thanks to Claude Shannon... more »


Aug. 25, 2017 | If the pleasures of reading are not too far removed from the pleasures of life, becoming a good reader is akin to learning to live well... more »


Aug. 24, 2017 | An accent in “élite,” a diaeresis in “reëmerge.” The New Yorker style, arbitrary and peculiar, somehow overshadows the substance of the writing ... more »


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