Sept. 8, 2017 | Has the Voynich manuscript been deciphered at last? According to a new theory, it’s a health manual for well-to-do women. Experts are dubious.... more »


Sept. 7, 2017 | John Ashbery, for whom writing was an immersive experience, like taking a bath in words, is dead at 90... Christian Lorentzen... Evan Kindley... Larissa MacFarquhar... Rae Armantrout... Ben Lerner... Tania Ketenjian... Paul Muldoon... David Orr... Katy Waldman... Alex Ross... Eileen Myles... Kimberly Quiogue Andrews... Luc Sante... The Guardian... The TLS... AP... Poetry Foundation...... more »


Sept. 6, 2017 | Salman Rushdie is either disinclined or unable to disguise his status-consciousness. Hard to say if that’s due to a surfeit of self-awareness or its opposite... more »


Sept. 5, 2017 | Descartes found imagination “more of a hindrance than a help”; Hume considered it “faint and languid.” Why do philosophers fear imagination?... more »


Sept. 4, 2017 | Dr. Faustus, Dr. Frankenstein, Los Alamos — there are reasons to fear the power of labs. Is David Reich's ancient genetics lab at Harvard a threat to humanity?... more »


Sept. 2, 2017 | In the early ‘80s, E.B. White was an octogenarian widower. He'd want the company of a fan, right? "There’s one of me, at most, and there are ten thousand of you. Please don’t come"... more »


Sept. 1, 2017 | Nabokov insisted on written interviews. Why? “I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child”... more »


Aug. 31, 2017 | The avant-gardists Arthur Cravan and Mina Loy were happily married — until he disappeared. Did he fake his death to become a counterfeiter of Oscar Wilde manuscripts?... more »


Aug. 30, 2017 | Napoleon was allergic to leather, Queen Victoria’s wedding cake weighed 200 pounds, and other unusual facts from Christie's... more »


Aug. 29, 2017 | Derrida dressed like a rakish ski instructor; Foucault was fond of leather jackets. Caring about clothes isn’t mere vanity — it can signal intellectual commitment... more »


Aug. 28, 2017 | Their history is a catalog of lust, sex, theft, betrayal, and degradation. Characters are dangerous and damaged. Pulp novels? No, libraries... more »


Aug. 26, 2017 | A few years after the death of Degas, his renown was at its peak. Then a former model revealed his violence, anti-Semitism, and artistic impotence... more »


Aug. 25, 2017 | The average museum visitor spends only a moment — about seven seconds — in front of an artwork. Why do so many people spend those seconds on selfies? ... more »


Aug. 24, 2017 | Orwell and Churchill were, on the surface, quite different. But they shared a commitment to observing accurately the world around them... more »


Aug. 23, 2017 | America endures another racial reckoning. Will this one lead to social disintegration, political breakup, or collective nervous breakdown?... more »


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 »


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