April 1, 2020 | The Russian battle against death began in the second half of the 19th century. It continues to this day... more »


March 31, 2020 | The genius of Heinrich von Kleist — writer, newspaperman, tragic figure — was in using plain, reportorial language toward grotesque ends... more »


March 30, 2020 | Influence is difficult to measure, but however you calculate it, Encounter had it. How a magazine shaped the intellectual climate... more »


March 28, 2020 | A sensational Parisian scandal in 1386 escalated into France’s last trial by combat. Was it all just a case of mistaken identity?... more »


March 27, 2020 | Zach Baron is a profiler, involving a strange and ephemeral genre of magazine journalism. He spends time with someone and writes about the experience. Now he can't leave the house... more »


March 26, 2020 | Orwell and the left. Would this foremost cant-detector find a whiff of it on the contemporary left? He would cast a baleful eye on identity politics and be dubious about diversity... more »


March 25, 2020 | From the Sator Square to anti-riddles, word games have a long and delightful history. Crosswords weren’t invented until 1913... more »


March 24, 2020 | “In all the creative occupations, there’s no stability unless you’re a superstar of some sort.” Barbara Ehrenreich reckons with success... more »


March 23, 2020 | There’s a lot we can numb ourselves to in order to survive, says Meghan O'Rourke. But can we ignore our inability to come together to mourn the dead?... more »


March 21, 2020 | In the 1790s, muslin gowns, hoops earrings, and madras were the height of European fashion. They were all shamelessly appropriated from the West Indies... more »


March 20, 2020 | Crossword editors are strange arbiters of cultural relevance. But it really matters what reaches the grid — and what's kept out... more »


March 19, 2020 | Inigo Philbrick is the art world’s mini-Madoff. A young and charming dealer who dabbled in drugs, prostitution, and endless scams... more »


March 18, 2020 | Judith Shklar, critic of liberal triumphalism, was no system builder. But her thought resonates in our disenchanted, skeptical world... more »


March 17, 2020 | As Furtwängler and Shostakovich showed, classical music has the ability to bind a nation. Why hasn’t that happened in America?... more »


March 16, 2020 | War, corruption, oppression, and misogyny were facts of life in Renaissance Italy. Are the period’s great artistic achievements complicit in those brutalities?... more »


March 14, 2020 | Why do American cemeteries look the way they do? The answer lies in a 19th-century passion for rural, rustic design... more »


March 13, 2020 | From The Decameron to Station Eleven, there has always been a literature of pandemic because there have always been pandemics... more »


March 12, 2020 | When Dora Maar, Picasso’s lover, suffered a jealousy-fueled breakdown, he blamed Surrealism and “that whining, weepy phony, Jean-Jacques Rousseau”... more »


March 11, 2020 | A medical mystery to unravel: Jordan Peterson was in a drug-induced coma in Russia. When he awoke, he was unable to speak or write... more »


March 10, 2020 | In 1967, William Styron, a white novelist, fictively entered the mind of a black man. What would happen if The Confessions of Nat Turner appeared today?... more »


March 9, 2020 | Hannah Arendt recognized that thinking is not necessarily a moral activity but can function as a brake on the temptation to do wrong... more »


March 7, 2020 | Jeremy Bentham warned against ancestor worship. How does that square with the newly prominent display of his waxy, skeletal remains?... more »


March 6, 2020 | The paradox of authenticity: In order to reap the benefits of feeling authentic, you may have to betray your true nature... more »


March 5, 2020 | Lunch with Freeman Dyson. The notoriously contrarian polymath, who died last week, was a slow eater. He did nearly all of the talking... more »


March 4, 2020 | The millennial aesthetic: potted plants, sans-serif fonts, pastels (especially pink). It’s for those who can’t afford frills or risk failure... more »


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