July 5, 2018 | At the age of 38, Alexander Wilson was a middling poet with no scientific expertise. So how did he produce, over the next 10 years, his astounding ornithological writings?... more »

July 4, 2018 | Habsburg culture is back. Why? Nostalgia for its glamour, and our identifying with the late imperial period's disorienting changes in society and politics... more »

July 3, 2018 | On Instagram, half of all comments include an emoji. On Messenger, five billion are sent and received every day. Are emoji a universal language? Or are they destroying language?... more »

July 2, 2018 | Balthus liked painting young girls, sometimes nude, often posed erotically. Should his artistic preoccupation be seen as a troubling personal one?... more »

June 30, 2018 | Life is awash with inducements to stupidity and greed. Witness how the global art market is too busy acquiring to think about much of anything else... more »

June 29, 2018 | Romain Gary, literary bad boy. He fabulated copiously, wrote under assumed names, and won the Prix Goncourt twice, which was technically impossible... more »

June 28, 2018 | How should a novelist be? Don't read about yourself — not reviews, think pieces, stories, or tweets. Jonathan Franzen contemplates life, art, and bushtits... more »

June 27, 2018 | Nietzsche's writing style — aphoristic, polemical, funny, scathing — grew out of a belief that readers want to be provoked, amused, and annoyed... more »

June 26, 2018 | George Orwell's socialism is often treated as the naïve and quirky belief of a lovable eccentric. The truth is more complex... more »

June 25, 2018 | If artificial intelligence ever produces a sentient machine capable of engaging in conversation, it will most likely be a machine no one will want to talk with... more »

June 23, 2018 | What if Gravity’s Rainbow or Ulysses or Finnegans Wake came out today? We may once have liked complex books, but not anymore. Martin Amis explains... more »

June 22, 2018 | When French intellectuals go wild! Postwar Paris was all preening, partying, and prostitutes -- or so says a new history of bed-hopping on the Left Bank... more »

June 21, 2018 | An air of improvisation and fun graced everything Stanley Cavell did — he seemed to make it up as he went. The philosopher is dead at 91... more »

June 20, 2018 | Murders over a Mexican stele, a “Modigliani” unceremoniously tossed around, frequent calls from the FBI. Life is not dull for James Martin, the world’s top art detective ... more »

June 19, 2018 | People hang a lot of labels on Ed Ruscha: minimalist, surrealist, neo-Dadaist, and, most of all, cool. That last one is a problem... more »

June 18, 2018 | The Stanford prison experiment enjoys canonical status, evidence of our innate cruelty and inhumanity. Yet the study almost certainly has no scientific validity. Why does it endure?... more »

June 16, 2018 | The American Time Use Survey holds a mirror up to society. What does it reveal? The shift to a post-literate culture is well underway... more »

June 15, 2018 | The birth of Fridolatry. Before the tote bags, keychains, and portrayal by Salma Hayek came a 1934 Harper’s Bazaar photo shoot... more »

June 14, 2018 | When a monk hangs out with Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, what results is the work of Sylvester Houédard, Benedictine beatnik... more »

June 13, 2018 | John Kidd, once the world’s leading Ulysses scholar, is said to have died in sordid conditions, communing only with pigeons. The truth is stranger... more »

June 12, 2018 | The unrealized promise of Harold Brodkey. As one editor put it, his “talent was large, but his ego was colossal, and it did him in”... more »

June 11, 2018 | Classicism is undergoing one of its periodic revivals. A distinctive feature of this revival is the weirdness of its architectural precedents... more »

June 9, 2018 | Mary Beard has delved deep into the “logic" of misogyny. Both apparent chivalry and mere Twitter trolling have darker roots, she notes... more »

June 8, 2018 | Twenty years after Isaiah Berlin’s death, a revival of his work is underway. But is the interest due to his ideas, or to nostalgia for a vanishing intellectual world?... more »

June 7, 2018 | Black-light yoga, a sensory-deprivation chamber, magical gold medallions, psychedelic drugs, an overly friendly robot, and Noam Chomsky. Is this the world’s strangest academic conference?... more »

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