Feb. 18, 2020 | Fan fiction has been around since at least the 18th century. Constant through its long history: an emphasis on bawdiness and breaking taboos... more »


Feb. 17, 2020 | Golden age for gossip. While newspapers struggle, one journalistic institution in print has stood the test of time: Page Six... more »


Feb. 15, 2020 | Yuval Noah Hariri thrives in an environment of relative critical neglect. After all, nobody is an expert on the meaning of everything, or the history of everybody... more »


Feb. 14, 2020 | James Fetzer is a prolific philosopher of science — and an advocate for some of the strangest and most odious ideas of our time... more »


Feb. 13, 2020 | Dorothy Parker comprised more than just her wit. Beneath it lay modesty, political commitment, and an acid fatalism... more »


Feb. 12, 2020 | The two Paul Samuelsons. He was an egghead mathematical savant — and also, somehow, the voice of the people... more »


Feb. 11, 2020 | C.S. Lewis, first-class curmudgeon. In a 1957 essay he revealed his mortal enemies: out-of-tune carolers and some kids who broke into his shed... more »


Feb. 10, 2020 | What America means. How the historian Perry Miller discovered America as a "city on a hill," and what he wrought... more »


Feb. 8, 2020 | Museums are increasingly recognizing their complicity with histories of subjugation. In response, they are turning to art that shames... more »


Feb. 7, 2020 | After 15 years of stalled ambition, Jenny Offill broke through. Now she belts Dylan Thomas, mimics squirrels, and creates a literature of climate change... more »


Feb. 6, 2020 | George Steiner, who died this week, was a humanities faculty in himself. But he was never entirely at home in the academy... more »


Feb. 5, 2020 | Bertrand Russell is often regarded as wanting to rid philosophy of ethics. But he had his own ethical theories. What he opposed was using ethics to prop up nationalism... more »


Feb. 4, 2020 | Jerks of academe. If you spot one in the wild — at a conference hotel, across the seminar table — react as if you had seen a bear... more »


Feb. 3, 2020 | The history of sex is rife with strange anecdotes — you'll never look at bread the same way — and oppression horrific to contemplate... more »


Feb. 1, 2020 | A question is asked, an answer is ventured, a verdict of correct or incorrect is handed down. But there's more to the lives of quiz obsessives... more »


Jan. 31, 2020 | Before his descent into atonality, Schoenberg was composing romantic, sensuous works based on bad poetry... more »


Jan. 30, 2020 | The rise of amateur reviewing is often framed as a problem for book critics. It’s actually a problem for readers, too... more »


Jan. 29, 2020 | Isaiah Berlin defined genius as the ability to turn a paradox into a platitude. By that standard, he proved his genius time and time again... more »


Jan. 28, 2020 | The past and future of punctuation. What began as an effort to convey clarity is now concerned with conveying tone. Perhaps a new mark is necessary... more »


Jan. 27, 2020 | A generation of young leftists has come to adore Vivian Gornick. This baffles her. For one thing, they celebrate her worst work... more »


Jan. 25, 2020 | Measuring its health by its books, the publishing industry gets a grim diagnosis. Symptoms include stultifying, plodding, overlong works... more »


Jan. 24, 2020 | The rise of the collapsologues. Are they developing a new science, or merely predicting imminent societal breakdown?... more »


Jan. 23, 2020 | Reading silently was once considered outlandish. Reading aloud is one of the oldest and grandest traditions of humankind... more »


Jan. 22, 2020 | Since Margaret Mead’s death, her work has primarily attracted disgruntled critics. Is there anyone left to defend her ideas?... more »


Jan. 21, 2020 | Flush the spaniel was dognapped not once but thrice. It was the valor of a petite poet that saved him — and enshrined him in literary immortality... more »


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