April 25, 2017 | Arthur Krystal isn't so much literary critic with theories to peddle as an enthusiast with pleasures to share and enemies to fend off... more »


April 24, 2017 | Czeslaw Milosz, who witnessed Stalinist repression firsthand, is remembered as a political writer. Yet he always chafed against the label... more »


April 22, 2017 | Snobs: we hate them, but can we live without them? Insolence, ostentation, and the cultivation of arbitrary superiority help make us all who we are... more »


April 21, 2017 | More than Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, or Henry Ford, it was Norman Bel Geddes, a theater designer turned industrial designer, who invented 20th-century America... more »


April 20, 2017 | Merriam-Webster's offices aren't velvet-curtained or oak-trimmed. They're less refined: drug deals in the parking lot, bullet holes in the safety glass ... more »


April 19, 2017 | Behold the Thought Leader, a thinker so deft and deluded he can flatter great wealth even as he pretends to challenge it... more »


April 18, 2017 | Good monsters, like good art, replace conventional ideas with something weird, troubling, and potentially heroic... more »


April 17, 2017 | In Making It, Norman Podhoretz, consumed as much by the qualities of failure as by his own success, came to realize what he was against: "losers"... more »


April 15, 2017 | How biography works. It isn't merely a mode of historical inquiry, “but an act of imaginative faith,” says Richard Holmes, who has spent his life pursuing subjects through the past... more »


April 14, 2017 | Jürgen Habermas has devoted his career to the study of democracy. But is his version of it premised on naïve, idealized, unrealistic notions?... more »


April 13, 2017 | The barfly turned graphomaniac, the hoarder turned diarist. “When an ordinary person writes exhaustively about her own life, it can be something of a nightmare”... more »


April 12, 2017 | Charles Ives envisioned an eclectic gathering of diverse sounds. A century later, it's come to pass: rock, gamelan, hip hop, salsa, jazz, classical, klezmer: It's all one playlist... more »


April 11, 2017 | When critics look in the mirror. Memoirs from Lee Siegel and Daphne Merkin show that book reviewers, too, can suffer from debt and depression... more »


April 10, 2017 | "Universities are now terrible places to find political heterogeneity," writes Jennifer Senior. "Campus discourse has become the equivalent of the supermarket banana. Only one genetic variety remains"... more »


April 8, 2017 | Particle physics helps explain astronomy; botany shapes archaeology; the moon landing informs paleontology. Does all science converge?... more »


April 7, 2017 | According to A.C. Grayling, philosophy made the transition from medieval to modern in the 17th century. But does assigning a historical period actually mean anything?... more »


April 6, 2017 | Darwin’s work set off an intellectual earthquake in America. It transformed Thoreau from a poet into a geologist, altered abolitionism, and spurred a generation of literary naturalists... more »


April 5, 2017 | Rarely has so much catastrophe been crammed into one biography. Czeslaw Milosz, who died at 93, came to see life as an honorable defeat... more »


April 4, 2017 | In the humanities, it’s not contemplation but speed that seems to matter now. Fast and efficient should not be how we look at art... more »


April 3, 2017 | The poet and painter David Jones never got over his experience on the Western Front during World War I. "My mind can't be rid of it," he said late in a life spent mostly indoors  ... more »


April 1, 2017 | William Empson detested the “horrible Frenchmen” of Deconstruction. Yet Empson himself, author of Seven Types of Ambiguity, anticipated many of their ideas... more »


March 31, 2017 | The Holocaust bisected Isaac Deutscher's life. But he remained an optimist, confident that humanity would emerge better off. Was this admirable, or foolish, or both?... more »


March 30, 2017 | Louis Kahn wanted buildings to speak an ancestral spatial language. A brick arch wasn’t just a brick arch — it was a way to connect across cultures and history... more »


March 29, 2017 | Dwight Garner on Camille Paglia: "Reading this book is like being stranded in a bar where the jukebox has only two songs, both by Pat Benatar" ... more »


March 28, 2017 | David Jones was a soldier at the Somme, a poet, and an artist. He saw his mission as rebutting the corrupting of culture -- what he called “the Break”... more »


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