Nov. 16, 2017 | What’s it like to be from “an abstract nowhere”? Midwesterners have a regional identity built on the idea of unqualified normality. But that isn’t as simple as it sounds... more »


Nov. 15, 2017 | How do we engage with the past? Archaeology, art, coins, legal documents, living witnesses. For Thomas Carlyle, however, literary works were unsurpassable... more »


Nov. 14, 2017 | The fortunes of free speech and the fate of universities are intertwined. Expedient attempts to appease students will further weaken the academy's intellectual prestige... more »


Nov. 13, 2017 | Economics, for all its pretensions, envies the hard sciences, while the humanities is just plain embarrassed. In reality, they need each other... more »


Nov. 11, 2017 | We tend to valorize paying attention, but should we? As Diderot had it, distraction allows ideas to strike against or reawaken one another... more »


Nov. 10, 2017 | Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is brilliant, readable, and short. It's also bad history, bad economics, and bad theology... more »


Nov. 9, 2017 | Readers of biography, beware. You lean too heavily on anecdotes, and you construct false visions of the past. When you study the dead, tread lightly... more »


Nov. 8, 2017 | The fake machismo, the boozing, the braggadocio -- Hemingway kept up the facade of the hairy-chested artist for as long as he was able. But who was he really?... more »


Nov. 7, 2017 | Stendhal compared Rossini’s reach to Napoleon’s, but life went bad for the composer. He lost his pension, his protégé died, his gonorrhea worsened... more »


Nov. 6, 2017 | "Writing or reading an essay isn’t the only way to stop and ask yourself who you really are and what your life might mean," says Jonathan Franzen. "But it is one good way"... more »


Nov. 4, 2017 | The job of the critic is changing, says Lionel Shriver. It's not to assess a book’s storytelling, but to castigate writers guilty of any crimes of the imagination... more »


Nov. 3, 2017 | Does the pursuit of knowledge trump the pursuit of ethical behavior? That question fueled Foucault's turn from madness and sexuality to politics... more »


Nov. 2, 2017 | Kant thought entire civilizations incapable of philosophy. Derrida said China had no philosophy, only thought. Why did Western philosophy turn its back on the world?... more »


Nov. 1, 2017 | “Alexander Calder wanted to be clear and unfussy, to get straight to the point. At the same time, he liked to linger over life’s oddities and obscurities”... more »


Oct. 31, 2017 | In the era of the quantified self, does the old-fashioned chronicling of passing thoughts and daily minutiae still serve a purpose? Dear Diary…... more »


Oct. 30, 2017 | If Allan Bloom’s surname had been Smith, would The Closing of the American Mind have been written? Probably not, says Jonathan Kay, who reads a lot into Bloom's biography... more »


Oct. 28, 2017 | "Public conversation is overpoliticized and undermoralized,” says David Brooks. "Relationships and mercy and how to be a friend — these are the big subjects of life, and we don’t talk about them enough"... more »


Oct. 27, 2017 | Peer review is essential. That’s obvious. What isn't obvious is that it should be organized as it is — or even that it should be organized at all... more »


Oct. 26, 2017 | Designed by an expert on Swiss phallic cults, the Rorschach test remains influential among Argentines, Japanese marriage counselors, and American courts... more »


Oct. 25, 2017 | John Rawls called it "the best of all games"; Mark Kingwell calls it "the most philosophical of games." What is it about baseball and philosophy?... more »


Oct. 24, 2017 | What makes male characters in Jane Austen so sexy? It has something to do with the taming of the masculine principle. William Deresiewicz explains... more »


Oct. 23, 2017 | In love, there’s no inoculation against betrayal. So think of affairs as a feature of relationships, not a bug. So says Esther Perel, who charges $1,500 a session for such insights... more »


Oct. 21, 2017 | “If the rise of humanism was a sunrise, then in this present time we are seeing an eclipse.” Marilynne Robinson on the value and fate of the humanities... more »


Oct. 20, 2017 | "The fate of artists and of art itself is in the hands of too few persons, who share kindred tastes and cultish dogma," says Jonathan Meades. It is a cult of "puritanical, po-faced, censorious nothingness"... more »


Oct. 19, 2017 | Poor George Orwell. The bare-knuckled revolutionary has been reduced to a cuddly, bipartisan grandpa. Orwell’s deradicalization has a long and shameless history... more »


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