May 30, 2017 | When sports meets philosophy. Want to test ideas about mutualism and self-interest? Try succeeding inside a cycling peloton... more »


May 29, 2017 | In 1940, Czeslaw Milosz had to choose between Nazi and Soviet occupation. Nazism threatened the body, while Communism threatened the soul. For Milosz, the latter was the greater sacrifice ... more »


May 27, 2017 | The Midwest wasn't always written about as a second-class culture of yokels and rednecks who lack intellect. Blame Mencken and The New Yorker... more »


May 26, 2017 | How the Nazis pursued a new aesthetics for a new political order  and showed how swiftly liberal principles can be hollowed out... more »


May 25, 2017 | Evelyn Waugh has been viewed as chiefly a comic writer. And he was funny, in his dark and malicious way. That's not to say he was amusing... more »


May 24, 2017 | Margaret Wise Brown avoided witches, trolls, glass slippers, and sleeping beauties. Instead she revolutionized picture books, even prompting Gertrude Stein to write one... more »


May 23, 2017 | Diana Trilling was key to her husband's literary success. But did it come at the expense of her own? “People will celebrate one member of a household but not two”... more »


May 22, 2017 | In the mid-'60s, Edmund Wilson was living alone in the house he inherited from his mother. He was in decline. Meanwhile, Vladimir Nabokov was flush with Lolita royalties. Did envy cause their feud?... more »


May 20, 2017 | Post-truth and its discontents. What is and what isn’t a fact has never been obvious or uncontroversial. There was no golden age of truth... more »


May 19, 2017 | Norman Podhoretz was everywhere: Arendt’s New Year’s Eve party, Capote’s Black and White Ball. He was the wonder boy of the name-dropping circuit. Then he was cast out... more »


May 18, 2017 | Douglas Coupland gave Generation X its name and became its voice. Then he suffered the fate of most voices of generations: He became irrelevant ... more »


May 17, 2017 | Forget “less is more.” History shows that “more is more” — a saying attributed to an architect, a fashion designer, a novelist, and Dolly Parton ... more »


May 16, 2017 | What comes from a 79-year-old French Maoist lecturing young people about being young? Some genuine insight, surprisingly... more »


May 15, 2017 | It's not that Heidegger was a windbag with nothing to say. His appeal stemmed from how he said nothing with a capital “N.” In emergencies we listen for capital letters... more »


May 13, 2017 | Is pop music poetry? Adam Bradley has a compelling answer: “Pop is a poetry whose success lies in getting you to forget that it is poetry at all”... more »


May 12, 2017 | In 1927 the Mississippi River flooded, spreading 80 miles wide at points. One byproduct of the catastrophe: the beginning of the literary careers of Faulkner and Richard Wright... more »


May 11, 2017 | Addicted to opium and always in debt, Thomas De Quincey fled his own child’s wake to escape a creditor. And yet he maintained a curious optimism... more »


May 10, 2017 | For 50 years, William F. Buckley Jr. policed the boundaries of conservatism, casting out extremists, bigots, kooks, anti-Semites, and racists. Or so he thought... more »


May 9, 2017 | How Martin Luther King Jr., who married a black sound — a rhythm, a style — to flawless Standard English, helped make "black talk" America's lingua franca ... more »


May 8, 2017 | With the exception of Jesus Christ, more books have been written about Martin Luther than about any other person. What can a new biography add? Quite a lot, actually... more »


May 6, 2017 | Walt Whitman, lifestyle guru. To cultivate "manly health,” he advised: Get up early, wash with cold water, climb trees, grow beards... more »


May 5, 2017 | Flaubert lived in revolutionary times. It left him with scorn for political movements and the chronic delusions that enable them ... more »


May 4, 2017 | Arbus, Arendt, Didion, McCarthy, Sontag, Weil: Critics saw them as "pitiless," "icy," "clinical." They pursued heartlessness as an intellectual style... more »


May 3, 2017 | Conventional, proper, unthreatening: That's the Jane Austen we think we know. But modern readers misunderstand her. She was a radical, and not a secret one... more »


May 2, 2017 | In September 1939, the first days of World War II, Londoners slaughtered 400,000 of their own pets. A curious moral logic was at work... more »


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