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Since 1998, Arts & Letters Daily has linked to more than 17,000 articles, book reviews and essays. Consider supporting us. »
April 21, 2021

Articles of Note

How to become an intellectual in Silicon Valley: "Write like you talk, and talk like an asshole”... more »


New Books

Alison Bechdel will cure your PTSD! Sappho will improve your love life! Enough with the calculated utilitarianism of our aliterate age... more »


Essays & Opinions

While Coleridge’s poetry has entered the pantheon, his philosophical tomes have mostly collected dust. It’s time to revisit them... more »


April 20, 2021

Articles of Note

When it comes to explaining the dominance of American culture, few writers are as smart, witty, or elegant as Louis Menand... more... more »


New Books

The shared moral project of the next decades is to green the economy. Rowan Williams explains  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Maria Stepanova: “Poetry is maybe the main thing happening now in Russian literature: powerful, daring, cutting-edge, diverse”  ... more »


April 19, 2021

Articles of Note

Denis Donoghue, a literary critic who opposed politicized theorizing and traditionalist pieties, is dead at 92 ... more »


New Books

A new biography of Faulkner is “among the most dexterous, dynamic, and consistently surprising studies ever written about an English-language novelist” ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Wilhelm Reich, who coined the term “sexual revolution,” is remembered as the orgasm man. Do his ideas deserve a serious look?  ... more »


April 17, 2021

Articles of Note

The absurdity of college admissions. Deluged with applications, some colleges are presuming to analyze applicants’ souls... more »


New Books

Dürer prepared the way for modern art in two ways: by embracing existentialism, and by maniacally self-publicizing... more »


Essays & Opinions

A debate: What does it mean for the future of humanity if we soon share our living space with conscious machines?... more »


April 16, 2021

Articles of Note

Sam Sifton wants home cooking to be more like jazz: out with recipes, in with improvisation. Is that a good idea for all of us?... more »


New Books

The 20th-century American novel is stuffed with stuff: baseballs, red wheelbarrows, and other bric-a-brac. What’s the point?... more »


Essays & Opinions

If it weren’t for the fall of Rome, Walter Scheidel suggests, we’d all still be ploughing the fields, living in poverty, and dying young... more »


April 15, 2021

Articles of Note

Merve Emre: "One of the most frustrating things about so much of literary criticism today... is that there's the sense that you have to pick your methodological camp"  ... more »


New Books

Traversing the internet, Patricia Lockwood finds a surfeit of self-righteousness recorded for posterity  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Philip Johnson's Nazi past was long overlooked as he was showered with commissions. Twenty years after his death, the debate heats up  ... more »


April 14, 2021

Articles of Note

Baudelaire gave us not only the flaneur but also the convalescent: the addled thinker driven by feverish curiosity... more »


New Books

The tragedy of Edward Said: By his life’s end, the causes for which he fought had been defeated... more »


Essays & Opinions

John Palattella: “No matter the allure or elegance of its rhetoric, apocalyptic thinking is a poor way of understanding change”   ... more »


April 13, 2021

Articles of Note

The magic of fusion. If the technology works, the hydrocarbons that established society as we know it will be replaced with clean power... more »


New Books

Thorstein Veblen’s reputation for adultery has been exaggerated. But his relations with women did affect his career... more »


Essays & Opinions

“Trying to use Twitter as a public square is like hiking the Matterhorn at Disneyland. Like the Matterhorn, Twitter is an amusement, not a place for exploration"   ... more »


April 12, 2021

Articles of Note

To stand in front of a Brutalist building is to be humbled, "confronted by a chunk of eternity. That can be comforting — or disconcerting"  ... more »


New Books

Simone Weil produced a fragmentary oeuvre, almost none of which appeared in her lifetime. Her posthumous mythology makes her hard to pin down  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

George Scialabba asks: If we decide, as a society, to reject consumerism and technological addiction, is there a path forward?  ... more »


April 10, 2021

Articles of Note

A film maudit, French for a cursed film, is one that is widely panned but staunchly defended by a devoted few ... more »


New Books

Do terrible photographs make us feel real empathy, or make us more apathetic toward misery? ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Prompted by the growing risks of art, says Anthony Julius, new fears deform the creative decisions of writers and artists  ... more »


April 9, 2021

Articles of Note

In 2002, Maya Angelou set out to master the two-sentence epigram. She had a deal with Hallmark    ... more »


New Books

The New Journalism style long ago gave way to the cult of the personal essay. Rachel Kushner is bringing it back  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Everything that was once considered lowbrow is now triumphant. It's been decades since anyone has felt guilt about a guilty pleasure  ... more »


April 8, 2021

Articles of Note

“About 40 years old, 175cm tall, slender, with an elongated face, black thinning hair, light-rimmed glasses": Philip Roth's Czech KGB file... more »


New Books

Consider the strongman. Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s new book on dictators elides the political and cultural conditions that allow for their rise   ... more »


Essays & Opinions

You can write poems about sex or excrement, but not business or money. Those are the only two obscene topics left. Dana Gioia explains... more »


April 7, 2021

Articles of Note

Giancarlo DiTrapano, founder of Tyrant Books, has died. He published works no one else would publish, from the edges of American life  ... more »


New Books

Stephen Hawking’s elusive character, revealed: self-promoting to the point of arrogance, and heedless of what others might think  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Zora Neale Hurston was the Harlem Renaissance’s greatest internal critic. But she found her voice in the swampy muck of Florida  ... more »


April 6, 2021

Articles of Note

We used to fear unpredictable robots we could not restrain. Now we worry about using machines to restrain unpredictable humans... more »


New Books

In Peter the Great's Russia, the bureaucracy was all. And no one chronicled its pompous, careerist, status-obsessed types better than Nikolai Gogol... more »


Essays & Opinions

In American education, student freedom is brought low by two systems: meritocracy and narratives of overcoming oppression... more »


April 5, 2021

Articles of Note

Midnight's Children at 40: "For a writer in his mid-70s, the continued health of a book published in his mid-30s is, quite simply, a delight"  ... more »


New Books

Intimacy was not Helen Frankenthaler's strong suit. She could be insensitive, manipulative, obtuse, competitive, and mercilessly self-absorbed... more »


Essays & Opinions

Shakespeare has been studied in high schools in 1870 and still bestrides the curriculum like a colossus. That turns kids off literature... more »


April 3, 2021

Articles of Note

"War to war, wife to wife, novel to novel." Hemingway's most constant mistress, says James Parker, "may have been concussion"  ... more »


New Books

For Hebrew to become a modern language, it first had to become a flexible instrument, a religious language put in the service of a secular literature ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Robert Lowell's early work is a reminder that most young poets are terrible until suddenly they’re not  ... more »


April 2, 2021

Articles of Note

Of all the racist, sexist, classist things children are exposed to, says Katha Pollitt, decades-old children’s books are low on the list ... more »


New Books

The first musical note on earth was sounded 165 million years ago. It was an E natural. What did our ancestors use music for? ... more »


Essays & Opinions

American academics are not smuggling radical ideas into France. Rather, Macron is using universities as a pawn in his anti-Islamic campaign  ... more »


April 1, 2021

Articles of Note

"The unmet demand for a traditional humanities education in elite universities is increasingly being supplied by offshore institutions” ... more »


New Books

Though sometimes celebrated by liberals, cognitive meritocracy has eroded social solidarity, increased inequality, and precipitated right-wing populism  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Naomi Wolf is now a fringe thinker and Covid conspiracist. But what about her celebrated feminist work? It’s a mess, too  ... more »


March 31, 2021

Articles of Note

Was Foucault abusing children in Tunisia in the late 1960s? A sordid story makes the rounds in Paris  ... more »


New Books

Covid-19 is “the great reset,” argues a new book — humane, techno-elite Davos Men will save the day. Cue the nightmare scenarios  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Art is one response when tragedy strikes, but the critic can offer only meek condolences. Is that enough?  ... more »


March 30, 2021

Articles of Note

As early as 1957, Philip Larkin noted, poetry was losing its audience. The situation is worse now. Why don’t readers care?... more »


New Books

Joyce, Picasso — when we think of Modernism, we often think of men. But as a new book shows, there may well have been no Modernism without lesbians... more »


Essays & Opinions

David Sloan Wilson marshals evolutionary research to challenge the gospel of individualism. He has come to bury the ideas of Ayn Rand... more »


March 29, 2021

Articles of Note

Paul Theroux at 79. "I was once a hotshot, I was once the punk. And anyone who has once been a punk, eventually you're older, and you see the turning of the years as it is"  ... more »


New Books

Derrida's insights are fundamental to many fields: literature, law, film theory, theology. But he was a specialist in a subfield of his own design  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Secular critics of Marilynne Robinson focus on grace, family, and redemption, as if her Christianity were nothing more than kindness  ... more »


March 27, 2021

Articles of Note

Can a white person translate a Black poet? A fracas has broken out over identity and the translation of Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb”  ... more »


New Books

The semicolon is odd but impressive, the interrobang a good idea that never got traction. The hashtag was dead until some guy at Twitter revived it ... more »


Essays & Opinions

“Trauma,” “depression,” “triggers” — clinical therapy-speak is now everywhere. Is that a good thing?   ... more »


March 26, 2021

Articles of Note

The mess at Medium. As the company’s latest “pivot” suggests, billionaires’ whims and sustainable journalism aren’t always compatible   ... more »


New Books

The power of Elena Ferrante’s fiction is in chaos and terror — a magma of dread that infuses her novels with energy... more »


Essays & Opinions

Today’s academy is in the business of producing at best detritus, at worst excrement, all fated to be swept away”   ... more »


March 25, 2021

Articles of Note

Falsification promises to help us separate science from pseudoscience. Only one problem: it doesn't work very well  ... more »


New Books

What Van Gogh read. "For him, it was not important to physically possess books, but to make them his own."  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

There is something mildly shameful about literary pilgrimages. They are a kind of emotional and intellectual junk food. And yet...  ... more »


March 24, 2021

Articles of Note

The cadaver known as Harriet Cole — a representation of the nervous system — is a product of anatomical bravado. But where did Harriet come from?... more »


New Books

Frantz Fanon has become a near-mythical figure in antiracist discourse. The cost of that achievement: a watering down of his political commitments... more »


Essays & Opinions

Evelyn Waugh on being interviewed by Jacques Barzun: “They sent me an apostate frog called professor Smart-Aleck Baboon. He... gave me a viva in history”   ... more »


March 23, 2021

Articles of Note

Forget traditional majors — the humanities should organize itself around modules like Social Justice, Migration Studies, and The Problem of God   ... more »


New Books

As Isaiah Berlin put it, “Total liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.” Indeed, the history of the idea of freedom is one of paradox and contradiction   ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Philip Roth ensured that he had an extremely sympathetic biographer. But in the resulting biography, he still comes across as a spiteful obsessive... more »


March 22, 2021

Articles of Note

The handshake, past and future. The gesture is so culturally fundamental that something important will be lost if it disappears  ... more »


New Books

If life exists on any of the Milky Way’s other 100 billion planets, Darwinian selection would be at work there, too ... more »


Essays & Opinions

The birth of the audiobook dates to the 19th century, when Tennyson and Browning recorded poems for phonographs  ... more »


March 20, 2021

Articles of Note

Edward Said’s Orientalism started a politics of blame that rapidly spread in the academy. He spent decades trying to stanch it  ... more »


New Books

Helen Frankenthaler and the mainstreaming of the avant-garde. In 1950s New York, painting's culture looked like pop culture  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

The new literary moralism. Is this frenzy for censure and the expansion of the definition of harm how we’ll correct the inequities of our time?  ... more »


March 19, 2021

Articles of Note

Alfred Hitchcock was afraid of policemen, strangers, driving, solitude, crowds, heights, water, and conflict. Fear was his creative fuel  ... more »


New Books

While autofiction asserts a kind of apolitical license, the bar for ethical fiction keeps getting higher and higher  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

Polymaths are one thing, freaks of intellect quite another. Even reading about these monsters of learning can leave one exhausted  ... more »


March 18, 2021

Articles of Note

Jane Cornwell was far more than a typist; she was John le Carré's first editor and indispensable collaborator  ... more »


New Books

Defending Derrida against his critics is easier than defending him against his followers  ... more »


Essays & Opinions

From the Aztecs' “divine food” to the 18th-century smoke enema, the history of smoking is odder than typically presented ... more »