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Since 1998, Arts & Letters Daily has linked to more than 17,000 articles, book reviews and essays. Consider supporting us. »
Oct. 27, 2021

Articles of Note

Are Céline’s long-lost manuscripts “the greatest literary discovery ever” — or an anti-Semitic bomb waiting to go off?... more »


New Books

Sea levels rise, oceans warm, and CO2 builds up in the atmosphere — a physicist takes on our harrowing climate future... more »


Essays & Opinions

The methods of connection between author and reader are increasingly owned by Amazon. But ownership does not constitute possession ... more »


Oct. 26, 2021

Articles of Note

Poor lighting, blurry faces, awkward poses, unflattering angles: in praise of bad photos... more »


New Books

The tyranny of metrics has overtaken journalism, conflating consumer choice with democratic needs... more »


Essays & Opinions

Milosz in Berkeley. The Polish-Lithuanian poet's seriousness was at odds with the divine madness of the times... more »


Oct. 25, 2021

Articles of Note

The deep past is a vast canvas for working out our political self-consciousness and collective fantasies... more »


New Books

Racial, ethnic, and religious animosities have distinct origins. But are they fueled by the same psychic or social forces?  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Carl Schmitt's ideas have fresh appeal in a time of authoritarian populism, and nowhere more so than in China  ... more »


Oct. 23, 2021

Articles of Note

Foucault and Lasch are rarely read as kindred thinkers. Yet they help to explain how we became so fixated on identity... more »


New Books

Dostoyevsky's St. Petersburg flowed with nihilism, egoism, materialism. All of it went into Crime and Punishment... more »


Essays & Opinions

Futurists are drawn to the sensational and the unlikely: brain uploading, magnetic floating cars. But the actual future will be more like today’s world  ... more »


Oct. 22, 2021

Articles of Note

Can outspokenness on diversity programs undermine a scholar’s academic standing? The strange case of Dorian S. Abbot... more »


New Books

Is Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” a mournful elegy to artistic devotion or — as a new book argues — a malicious catcall?... more »


Essays & Opinions

What killed The Believer? For starters: financial distress, a scandal involving the editor, and callous mismanagement... more »


Oct. 21, 2021

Articles of Note

Should the university be a political engine for radical ends? The idea horrified Robert Nisbet, chronicler of academic dogma... more »


New Books

“There is a case to be made for self-published Adult Baby Diaper Lover (ABDL) erotica as the quintessential Amazonian genre of literature”   ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Stephen Crane died at the age of 28. Had he not been so reckless, American literature might now look quite different ... more »


Oct. 20, 2021

Articles of Note

Hannah Arendt was Princeton’s first female faculty hire, and later its first female full professor — honors she was profoundly uninterested in... more »


New Books

David Graeber, who died last year, left a final gift: a wildly singular history of the past 30,000 years... more »


Essays & Opinions

It’s possible to imagine a diversity statement that isn’t an ideological test. But that’s not what we’re seeing on campuses... more »


Oct. 19, 2021

Articles of Note

Love songs have the same shape as sex: slow build to an ecstatic top note. But can music give you an orgasm?... more »


New Books

What explains the Elizabeth Hardwick revival? Her uncompromising style? Her near-incomprehensible metaphors?... more »


Essays & Opinions

25 years ago, Alan Sokal perpetrated his hoax on the postmodern professoriate. He won the battle but lost the war... more »


Oct. 18, 2021

Articles of Note

Dead musicians are about to show up everywhere, plus other predictions on the next decade in music... more »


New Books

The inescapable Jonathan Franzen is not the novelist America needs, but the one America deserves... more »


Essays & Opinions

“The way Hannah Arendt lived her life will always be more instructive than the ideas she deduced from it.” ... more »


Oct. 16, 2021

Articles of Note

The philosopher Myisha Cherry seeks to defend anger — what she calls “Lordean rage” — and to prove Martha Nussbaum wrong... more »


New Books

Post-liberals agree on little: “They know something has gone wrong, and they suspect the origins of the problem date back several centuries”... more »


Essays & Opinions

E.O. Wilson evinces a chummy, no-frills view of himself. It's genuine, as well as crucial to his expansive sense of wonder... more »


Oct. 15, 2021

Articles of Note

A professor screens the 1965 film version of Othello, featuring Laurence Olivier in blackface, to his class. Is that a racist act?... more »


New Books

The idea of female chastity runs deep in Western culture. "Upon that," said Samuel Johnson, "all property in the world depends"... more »


Essays & Opinions

What's achieved by liberal and academic calls to "center the most marginalized?" Olúfémi O. Táíwò unpacks standpoint epistemology... more »


Oct. 14, 2021

Articles of Note

Before the blackmail, the arrest, and utter ruin, Oscar Wilde was a golden boy, excelling at Oxford and courting society beauties... more »


New Books

“Anyone open to the idea of religious belief but uncomfortable with orthodox teachings should read Spinoza” ... more »


Essays & Opinions

"We are all Foucauldians now — in the ways we think about gender, normalization, psychiatry, confinement, surveillance" ... more »


Oct. 13, 2021

Articles of Note

Literary history abhors a vacuum. Thus Homer, most unknowable of ancient poets, gets a flurry of elaborate and highly discrepant biographies... more »


New Books

The world of scientific publishing is vast, varied, and beset by fraud, bias, negligence, and hype... more »


Essays & Opinions

He was a shy college graduate; she was a neurotic 38-year-old mother of two. What was there between Henry Thoreau and Lidian Emerson?... more »


Oct. 12, 2021

Articles of Note

Abdulrazak Gurnah’s books have sold only 3,000 copies in the United States. How did he go from obscure critic to Nobel laureate? ... more »


New Books

The art of dark persuasion. What causes sensible people to do things they might not otherwise do?... more »


Essays & Opinions

Just how closely related are chimpanzees and humans? A primatologist reflects on a career in ape-language studies... more »


Oct. 11, 2021

Articles of Note

Can a heap of sand illuminate the transition from quiet to chaos? That's the premise of the field of sandpile studies... more »


New Books

In the English village of Ockham, around 1287, a boy named William was born. His razor enabled science to blossom... more »


Essays & Opinions

"If you put censors like me in charge, you get a worse situation than if you have people with the freedom to speak up”... more »


Oct. 9, 2021

Articles of Note

The history of xenophobia has less to do with the ancient Greeks than with the Boxer uprising and a stenographer named Jean Martin de Saintours... more »


New Books

Step aside, internet novel and Instagram novel, there's a new genre ascendant: collective criticism. Is it worthwhile?... more »


Essays & Opinions

Obscure writers squabble, a writer of thrillers makes dubious claims — why are we so enraptured by low-stakes literary misdeeds?... more »


Oct. 8, 2021

Articles of Note

You cannot love if you cannot hate. So a much-needed reminder: Don’t neuter criticism with kindness... more »


New Books

Is it possible to write a history of human affairs without any overarching principle? Louis Menand tried... more »


Essays & Opinions

Maggie Nelson’s anti-politics: Her book leaves readers with no permissible action, only a patronizing invitation to manage their own feelings ... more »


Oct. 7, 2021

Articles of Note

W.G. Sebald’s fiction is parasitical. It preyed on the Jewish quest for an obliterated past to recover a usable German present... more »


New Books

Between 1953 and 1976, private foundations lavished money on orchestras and operas, to the detriment of folk and jazz... more »


Essays & Opinions

The trial of Oscar Wilde tends to be used to distill his character rather than to dramatize its contradictions... more »


Oct. 6, 2021

Articles of Note

Critics say economics has a math fetish, that it ignores other disciplines, that it is too abstract. But economics’ real problem lies elsewhere... more »


New Books

A phrase, a rhyme, a play on words: Christopher Ricks has a rare gift for lexical super-sensitivity... more »


Essays & Opinions

Perry Anderson, purveyor of British backwardness, advanced the view that his nation was in perpetual decline. That’s not quite right... more »


Oct. 5, 2021

Articles of Note

Academics throw around the word “problematic” with a knowing flourish. It’s a given that their colleagues share their politics ... more »


New Books

“Why do we continue to cling so hard to our work-based identities, in spite of an inner nature that tells us not to work so much?”... more »


Essays & Opinions

If our challenge is to defend liberalism without falling into cynicism or naïveté, Henri Bergson is a thinker for our time... more »


Oct. 4, 2021

Articles of Note

“I know mine exists, my cruelty,” wrote a young Patricia Highsmith. “Though where I cannot precisely say, for I try always to purge myself of evil” ... more »


New Books

Spinoza's philosophy is not antithetical to religion. He was determined to reform religion, not eliminate it ... more »


Essays & Opinions

“The sped-up culture that delivers that novel to your doorstep overnight is the same culture that deprives you of the time to read it”   ... more »


Oct. 2, 2021

Articles of Note

Email: It gives license to verbiage and turns simple conversations into an exchange of overcrafted essays. It’s time to close our inboxes... more »


New Books

Why did Jean Sibelius stop composing in his early 50s? Was it alcoholism? Insecurity? The dissipation of his powers?... more »


Essays & Opinions

The mystery of smell. Theoretically the human nose can detect up to a trillion smells — yet we struggle to describe them with any precision... more »


Oct. 1, 2021

Articles of Note

The radicalized university. Manifestos grow like mushrooms, but scholarship that isn’t promoting some form of social justice is an odd fit... more »


New Books

The new literary memoir is less confessional, less cathartic than its predecessor, and more invested in pushing the form’s limits... more »


Essays & Opinions

A Cambrian explosion in the world of natural-language processing raises a question: How much of what we write is essentially autocomplete?... more »


Sept. 30, 2021

Articles of Note

"To my own retroactive surprise, I seem to have a taste for controversy," says Steven Pinker. Why does everyone want to argue with him? ... more »


New Books

Richard Wright's reputation was destroyed by attacks from Baldwin and Ellison. He blamed the white publishing industry for encouraging them  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

The ABCs of AOC, Chelsea Clinton's She Persisted - beware the proliferation of didactic and unimaginative political books for kids... more »


Sept. 29, 2021

Articles of Note

The Arabian Journal of Geosciences publishes hundreds of peer-reviewed papers. Why are so many of them nonsense? ... more »


New Books

When the counterculture becomes the culture, what’s left for The New Criterion to do? Fight on... more »


Essays & Opinions

As discreet defecation became a mark of civilized refinement, a taboo topic plagued big cities: dog droppings... more »


Sept. 28, 2021

Articles of Note

The puzzle of human rationality. Despite our capacity for reason, we are flooded with reminders of our fallacies and follies... more »


New Books

“Show me a scholar who claims that science can explain all of literature, and I will show you someone who is performing schtick”  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Ian Fleming said he wrote for "pleasure and money." True enough, but it shouldn't detract from his literary craftsmanship... more »


Sept. 27, 2021

Articles of Note

How have books changed? “They became tedious redoubts for the pious certainties of a besieged, over-educated and underemployed intellectual class” ... more »


New Books

Good criticism draws out the nuances within the ideas one finds the most noxious, the most difficult to dignify... more »


Essays & Opinions

For readers, E.M. Forster was a stately, mild-mannered bachelor with a staid personal life. When he came out as gay, many felt betrayed... more »


Sept. 25, 2021

Articles of Note

What happens when a libertarian-leaning economist sits down with a utopian-feminist philosopher? It gets heated ... more »


New Books

Thoreau never wanted followers; he didn't even follow his own advice. So what would he make of all these acolytes?  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Jasper Johns, today: Many say he's spent the past 30 years in hermitlike conditions and is now part Scrooge, part sphinx. Nonsense  ... more »


Sept. 24, 2021

Articles of Note

Organizing a bookshelf imposes order and intimacy on objects of art. What happens when all of our art and culture is stored digitally? ... more »


New Books

Both Louise Bourgeois and Yayoi Kusama were discouraged from making art. Both attempted suicide. Both faced their demons by making phalluses ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Humiliation — why does it hurt so much, do so much damage, twist us so out of shape? Vivian Gornick investigates  ... more »


Sept. 23, 2021

Articles of Note

Ardent birders go to extremes to catch rare glimpses through the foliage. Sentence watchers chase a similar thrill  ... more »


New Books

D.H. Lawrence’s master theme was the hellishness of home. In the great irony of his life, he was at home everywhere ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Literary success is increasingly dependent on cultivating a personal brand. John Ashbery reminds us of the power of remaining elusive  ... more »