Sept. 6, 2016 | Estimates of executions under Lenin and Stalin suggest an average of more than 10,000 per week. We've never come to terms with the cause and consequence of those killings... more »


Sept. 5, 2016 | Does terrorism work? Almost certainly not. But failure does not diminish the ardor of those for whom killing is an end in itself ... more »


Sept. 3, 2016 | The age of rock'n'roll began in May 1964, when Louis Armstrong's "Hello, Dolly!" fell from the top of the pop chart. Now it's over. Only nostalgia remains... more »


Sept. 2, 2016 | In the past year, 30 billion photographs were uploaded to Instagram — a tidal wave of images indebted to Renaissance portraiture, Dutch still lifes, modernism... more »


Sept. 1, 2016 | To grasp a society's deepest tensions, look to its big, popular art form. In the West, it used to be the novel. In India now, it's Bollywood... more »


Aug. 31, 2016 | The replication crisis in psychology is rooted in bad incentives: skepticism isn't rewarded, unexpected findings are. But coverage of the crisis is susceptible to its own bad incentives... more »


Aug. 30, 2016 | Modernity is the feeling that we are profoundly different from the people who lived before us. It is a disorientation that began in the 16th century and is still with us... more »


Aug. 29, 2016 | Ian McEwan woke from a daydream with a thought: Write a novel with a fetus as the narrator. "The idea struck me as so silly that I just couldn’t resist it.”... more »


Aug. 27, 2016 | Auden gradually renounced the public stage for a private, meditative life. "When the ship catches fire," he advised, "sit still and pray”... more »


Aug. 26, 2016 | What to do when an opinionated historian is also a brilliant linguist? A certain white-suited literary legend takes on “the Chomsky problem”... more »


Aug. 25, 2016 | True crimes of a Roman emperor. Was Nero a matricidal villain or the victim of a propaganda campaign? The answer may lie in art... more »


Aug. 24, 2016 | The battle between gravity and human anatomy goes on. Attempts to settle it — the stools of ancient Egypt, the chaise longue — reveal much about culture... more »


Aug. 23, 2016 | Can art help find “the real you”? Identity is under more scrutiny than ever. Cue questions of pretension, authenticity,
coolness... more »


Aug. 22, 2016 | A mood, a tint, a taint, danger, virility, possibility, royalty, beauty: parsing the many meanings of blue, that most popular of colors ... more »


Aug. 20, 2016 | An ellipsis indicates an absence, making it the language’s most unusual punctuation mark. Where did it come from, and how did it get so weird?... more »


Aug. 19, 2016 | Is there perfection in art? Sam Anderson conducts an aesthetic investigation in Florence, home of Michelangelo’s “David" and Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot... more »


Aug. 18, 2016 | You might think that the past seven decades of scientific accomplishment are the result of researchers' following their curiosity. You would be wrong... more »


Aug. 17, 2016 | We live in a golden age of profanity. But the vocabulary is small, and we're diminishing it from overuse. Time to invent new obscenities... more »


Aug. 16, 2016 | Female thinkers have rarely been cinematic subjects. But recent films about Hannah Arendt have raised the question: How should a woman in philosophy be portrayed?... more »


Aug. 15, 2016 | Pierre Bayle was renowned as an advocate of intellectual modesty and the questioning of authority. Now he's a forgotten hero of the Enlightenment... more »


Aug. 13, 2016 | Lolita is romantic and funny and perverted, but Pale Fire is the great gay comic novel — a catalogue of homosexual desire through the ages... more »


Aug. 12, 2016 | In 2013, linguists discovered a previously unknown language. Three years later, it's on the brink of extinction. Every conversation may be the last... more »


Aug. 11, 2016 | Propaganda art is crude, primitive, and inferior to real art. Except, of course, when it isn’t. Consider the career of Jacques-Louis David... more »


Aug. 10, 2016 | Scott Joplin was obsessed with fashioning ragtime as high art. He failed, and his life lingers only in factoids, fragments, snapshots, and grainy recordings... more »


Aug. 9, 2016 | For four years, William Styron pushed his No. 2 pencil across the page, writing The Confessions of Nat Turner. He'd “unwittingly created one of the first politically incorrect texts of our time”... more »


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