Aug. 22, 2017 | Leopold Bloom’s behavior may bewilder, but that’s no reason to put down Ulysses. Confronting the enigmatic in literature helps us understand others and ourselves... more »


Aug. 21, 2017 | David Hume reveled in controversy. His friend Adam Smith was more restrained. Both were unlikely and indispensable avatars of the rise of liberal thought... more »


Aug. 19, 2017 | Friedrich Hayek, an obscure young Viennese technocrat, was called “Mr, Fluctooations” behind his back. How did neoliberalism, his big idea, gain sway?... more »


Aug. 18, 2017 | Train stations were Tony Judt's cathedrals; timetables were his Bible. The two trains he cared about most took him to places where he could avoid history... more »


Aug. 17, 2017 | How writers write. For Kingsley Amis, it was simply about applying the seat of his pants to the seat of his chair... more »


Aug. 16, 2017 | Michiko Kakutani– feared, respected, mercurial – is stepping away from her role at The Times. Is this the dawn of a new age of book reviewing?... more »


Aug. 15, 2017 | He was reckless and inept, bilked his rich and hopeless clients, slept with his sister-in-law, molested his younger sister. Was this the real Sigmund Freud?... more »


Aug. 14, 2017 | Americans like to think of their colleges as venues for the free exchange of ideas. But campuses have never consistently welcomed unorthodox views... more »


Aug. 12, 2017 | The 19th-century Faithist community of Shalam had bold plans for expansion. But a problem loomed: amateur metaphysicians had little aptitude for physical labor... more »


Aug. 11, 2017 | Dmitry Bykov’s work has baffled non-Russian-speaking critics. But understanding the author of “How Putin Became President of the USA,” among other fairy tales, is worth the effort... more »


Aug. 10, 2017 | In the mid-1970s, Marcel Ophuls began work on a documentary about how people look away from or justify or deny what is done in their name. The film disappeared, until now... more »


Aug. 9, 2017 | Previously unknown drawings, letters, and poems by Sylvia Plath have been discovered. Where's the novel she was working on when she died?... more »


Aug. 8, 2017 | Robert Louis Stevenson spent his last five years in Samoa, where the locals couldn't comprehend how he earned his living as a writer... more »


Aug. 7, 2017 | E.H. Carr is best known for being consistently and egregiously wrong. But his treatment of historical change endures as a bulwark against despair... more »


Aug. 5, 2017 | When a tuberculosis epidemic resulted in a glut of X-rays, it became an opportunity to subvert Soviet censorship of music... more »


Aug. 4, 2017 | Good news: You have a contract to publish your book. Bad news: The deadline was 30 years ago... more »


Aug. 3, 2017 | David Gelernter predicted that the internet would become an excellent environment for thinking. He was wrong... more »


Aug. 2, 2017 | Claude Shannon was a poet, juggler, unicyclist, machinist, futurist, and gambler who wrote “the Magna Carta of the Information Age”... more »


Aug. 1, 2017 | Music as mental exercise. The pianist Mal Waldron did more than gig with Billie Holiday, Allen Ginsberg, and Lenny Bruce. He cultivated an analytical style... more »


July 31, 2017 | Paul Fussell radiated curmudgeonly intelligence about Orwell, nude beaches, the Indianapolis 500, and his great topic: class in America... more »


July 29, 2017 | A book can change the world. Can a book review? In 1967, Norman Mailer reviewed a memoir by his friend Norman Podhoretz. American politics has never quite been the same... more »


July 28, 2017 | Richard Rorty thought of himself as an American philosopher. American philosophers saw him as a European intellectual, and his philosophy as a betrayal. It wasn't... more »


July 27, 2017 | Disturbed by the state of the world, W.S. Merwin turned to environmentalism. He cultivated a garden composted with manuscripts that other poets had sent him... more »


July 26, 2017 | The tradition of Kant, Hegel, and Habermas has given way to slick performers. Is German philosophy exchanging profundity for popularity?... more »


July 25, 2017 | After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern humiliated Tom Stoppard, the play took off. Asked what it was really about, he said, “It’s about to make me very rich”... more »


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