Oct. 7, 2016 | The “whitening” of rock ’n’ roll. Tracing the genre from Lennon to Springsteen to the Rolling Stones shows that race is key to its ideology of authenticity... more »


Oct. 6, 2016 | Hope amid cynicism, sickness, and death. Kierkegaard renounced worldly pleasures, like trips to the countryside and even marriage. But his vision wasn’t entirely pessimistic... more »


Oct. 5, 2016 | The curious history of Esperanto. The universal language, created by a Polish-Jewish eyeglass-maker, is returning to the roots it fought to transcend... more »


Oct. 4, 2016 | We repeatedly “discover” Heidegger’s Nazism. Philosophers wrote books, Nazis burned books; he did both. Why does this tension cause us such unease?... more »


Oct. 3, 2016 | “I’d like to be thought of as just another rookie,” George Plimpton told the Detroit Lions. Does his participatory sportswriting still hold up?... more »


Oct. 1, 2016 | Paper trail. A recent glut of works examine the history of the book. Clearly we’re anticipating nostalgia for the book format... more »


Sept. 30, 2016 | Those insufferable men. For the French novelist Marguerite Duras, love was terrible because men were terrible. Naturally, she did her finest writing while single... more »


Sept. 29, 2016 | Mocked in the movie Aladdin, William F. Buckley’s singular style of speaking merits attention. Like his ideas, it was heavily influenced by the Spanish language... more »


Sept. 28, 2016 | In postwar Paris, artists flocked to a squalid alley. There was a single shared toilet and cheap food, but the ideas were priceless... more »


Sept. 27, 2016 | Neither entirely Victorian nor modernist, Henry James sowed the seed of postmodern thought. He would be appalled by what it has become... more »


Sept. 26, 2016 | “Germany awake!” went the Nazi slogan. The country was roused by Hitler and methamphetamine. Pervitin, as the drug was called, was National Socialism in a pill... more »


Sept. 24, 2016 | “The hurricane does not roar in pentameters.” At the heart of The Tempest is a linguistic imperialism that still exists today. ... more »


Sept. 23, 2016 | Most social policy is based on the assumption that people’s motives are primarily selfish. But what if we're more virtuous than we think?... more »


Sept. 22, 2016 | From 1944 to 1947, Jean-Paul Sartre was pre-eminent among French intellectuals. Why were so many people drawn to him? What was the appeal of existentialism?... more »


Sept. 21, 2016 | On creepiness. Clowns, taxidermists, and funeral directors: We think they're odd — but why? Perhaps they pose a threat. Or perhaps they simply transgress the natural order... more »


Sept. 20, 2016 | Charles Murray is pessimistic about the state of American politics: The future belongs to authoritarians of the left and the right... more »


Sept. 19, 2016 | Bemoaning the state of poetry is an American pastime. What explains the discontent? The troubled relationship between poets and their audience... more »


Sept. 17, 2016 | Editing is like alchemy, its careful practice a form of creation. Line by line, word by word — “hansom” or “brougham”?... more »


Sept. 16, 2016 | With a click, you can watch John Berryman down beers in Dublin or Marianne Moore throw out a first pitch. Is YouTube changing how we “read” poetry?... more »


Sept. 15, 2016 | Can an insidious artifact of Hitler be neutralized by a phalanx of footnotes and annotations? Here comes a new critical edition of Mein Kampf... more »


Sept. 14, 2016 | Shirley Jackson found people competitive, self-serving, and not to be trusted. She came by such views honestly, then turned them into horror... more »


Sept. 13, 2016 | Why do you read what you read? Because the literary market chose it for you. That's why refusing to read is not a badge of shame. It's the way of the future... more »


Sept. 12, 2016 | Linguistic theories are, in part, explanations of human nature. For more than 50 years, Noam Chomsky's Universal Grammar has been dominant. Now it's coming undone... more »


Sept. 10, 2016 | In Latin America, birthplace of the cultural Cold War, artists and writers were courted by superpowers. Which revealed the political impotence of intellectuals... more »


Sept. 9, 2016 | What can be gleaned about the nature of intelligence from tracking 5,000 child prodigies over 45 years? That the 10,000-hour rule is bunk... more »


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