Nov. 16, 2017 | Millennials are portrayed as brittle. But they're not fragile — they're overstretched. "Efficiency is our existential purpose, and we are a generation of finely honed tools”... more »


Nov. 15, 2017 | Odysseus loses all the men under his command, cheats on his wife, lies, and gets help at every turn from the gods. What kind of “hero” is he?... more »


Nov. 14, 2017 | Zora Neale Hurston co-founded Fire!!, a journal seeking to take down respectable, middle-class black literature. After one issue, its headquarters burned to the ground... more »


Nov. 13, 2017 | Sabina Spielrein was a pioneer psychoanalyst, a student of Carl Jung and also his victim. Her ideas were "borrowed,” and then her memory was defamed... more »


Nov. 11, 2017 | “A landscape of jade, teak, bamboo, fried dog.” So wrote Susan Sontag about China — not that she’d been there. Her fiction was, like all her work, uneven... more »


Nov. 10, 2017 | The history of the book, once the domain of collectors, has been seized by scholars who've built a field around how people used to interact with print... more »


Nov. 9, 2017 | After five decades, it's unlikely that Daniel Dennett will change his views on consciousness. He is a fanatic — an intellectually consistent fanatic... more »


Nov. 8, 2017 | Philip Roth and the meaning of America. “Not only can you go home again, Roth insists. You can only go home again.” Newark was his sensory key... more »


Nov. 7, 2017 | Critics think that David Foster Wallace has been studied too narrowly, and that he belongs in a broader cultural context. But is it geographical, philosophical, or economic?... more »


Nov. 6, 2017 | Does a new biography of Jann Wenner mark the last epic tome devoted to the exploits of mercurial, white, male jerks? Probably not... more »


Nov. 4, 2017 | What if the story of civilization — from savagery to hunting/gathering to the invention of writing and leisure and freedom — is wrong?... more »


Nov. 3, 2017 | Joseph Conrad was a skeptic who believed that civilization was fueled by illusions. He was suspicious of all schemes of improvement. He is a man for our times... more »


Nov. 2, 2017 | Mary McCarthy became a novelist almost by default. She had to be coerced into writing by her husband, Edmund Wilson. Nevertheless, her fiction lives on... more »


Nov. 1, 2017 | In the arts, “outsider” means something specific. But what is an outsider writer? And can Virginia Woolf plausibly be considered one?... more »


Oct. 31, 2017 | Angela Carter found meaning in antagonizing foes, especially Andrea Dworkin. “If I can get up … the Dworkin proboscis,” she said, “then my living has not been in vain”... more »


Oct. 30, 2017 | No sooner had photography been invented than it became inextricably connected with lying. Such deceptions were born from a hope that the camera could transcend death... more »


Oct. 28, 2017 | Whatever you may think about Arturo Toscanini or his interpretation of a specific work, there is no doubt that he changed the concept of conducting... more »


Oct. 27, 2017 | The cartoonish anti-Semitism, the affinity for fascists: "Ezra Pound is a litmus test as much as he is a poet." Is his work proof of his insanity?... more »


Oct. 26, 2017 | How did a KKK-supporting, neo-Confederate sculptor of modest reputation come to dominate salons in Washington? Inside the tangled history of liberalism... more »


Oct. 25, 2017 | Luisa Casati lived with albino blackbirds, a cheetah, and a life-size wax replica of herself. What can she teach us about the nature of bohemianism?... more »


Oct. 24, 2017 | Who could be against empathy? Paul Bloom, or so he says. But is the Yale psychologist serious? Or is he just trying to sell books?... more »


Oct. 23, 2017 | The relationship between morality and neurology is complicated. Few people get it, fewer can explain it. Robert Sapolsky, one of those few, is a determinist, but not a simple one... more »


Oct. 21, 2017 | Thinking about thinking. We think, says Alan Jacobs, because we hope to become “more than we currently are.” Therein lies both the promise and peril of a life lived thoughtfully... more »


Oct. 20, 2017 | Elizabeth Bishop had astonishing control and poetic technique. But below the surface was a gushing emotional register. Was she the loneliest person who ever lived?... more »


Oct. 19, 2017 | The past should be studied only to expose its failings. Or so goes liberal logic. How disparaging the past become a mark of intellectual respectability... more »


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