Nov. 13, 2017 | Children's literature is concerned essentially with adventure, returning home — and with food. Whether teatime or the threat of being devoured, the motif is inescapable... more »

Nov. 11, 2017 | The invention of John Wayne. He was hard, brutal, anachronistic, a rebuke to the softness of postwar affluence. He was a creation of John Ford... more »

Nov. 10, 2017 | Did the ancient Greeks lack consciousness? So asserted Julian Jaynes, in a 1976 best seller. Now science has caught up with him... more »

Nov. 9, 2017 | How did Mark Bray, a buttoned-up academic historian, became the public face of antifa? By shedding his "inessential weirdness"... more »

Nov. 8, 2017 | When language met love. To a romantic interest, the budding poet Sylvia Plath wrote, “I love you more than the alphabet and Roget’s thesaurus combined.”... more »

Nov. 7, 2017 | “Curator” once meant amateur or iconoclast (think Barnum showcasing “industrious fleas”). Now we have “museum studies” and credentials. Have exhibits improved?... more »

Nov. 6, 2017 | Can a pure and radical idealism be sustained without eventually curdling into despair or cynicism? The Center for Political Beauty, in Berlin, tests the limits of aggressive optimism... more »

Nov. 4, 2017 | We talk about books we haven’t read and books we’ve read but forgotten. Maybe one day we’ll discuss books that we’ve imagined... more »

Nov. 3, 2017 | The curious influence of Samuel Moyn. How did the deceptively boyish-looking historian at Yale became a role model to a generation of young political thinkers?... more »

Nov. 2, 2017 | Herman Melville’s son, Stanwix Melville, rode through cemeteries, experienced a shipwreck, and dealt with failing eyesight. He was dead at 34... more »

Nov. 1, 2017 | Theodore Dreiser tried just about everything to succeed, even working for a publishing house whose motto was “The worse the swill, the more the public will buy”... more »

Oct. 31, 2017 | Where does the human capacity for counting come from? Is our understanding of, say, “18” a biological endowment? Or is it a product of culture? ... more »

Oct. 30, 2017 | Reading books is an excellent thing to do, but there are any number of excellent things that someone, even a writer, might wish to do. Orwell did them.... more »

Oct. 28, 2017 | How to be good at literary parties: Stay away from rich people. Skip networking events. The best way to befriend famous people is to have no idea who they are... more »

Oct. 27, 2017 | Mark Twain had one goal: Make money. By the age of 50, he was rich. “I am frightened by the proportions of my prosperity,” he said, and he was right to be afraid... more »

Oct. 26, 2017 | Historical analogies are simplistic, misleading, and essential. We compare because it's necessary, even inevitable... more »

Oct. 25, 2017 | Kirkus, one of the country’s most prolific book reviews, has managed to misapprehend both the nature of reviewing and the nature of books... more »

Oct. 24, 2017 | Edgar Allan Poe was a savage but uncalculating critic. He spent years mocking “The Literati of New York City,” then attempted to work among them... more »

Oct. 23, 2017 | Under fire with Allied troops during World War II, Jean-Pierre Melville made an oath to himself: If he survived, he'd get back to Paris and build a film studio... more »

Oct. 21, 2017 | War is horrible. It's also alarmingly attractive. Philip Caputo had to reconcile those two reactions before he could write about his experience in Vietnam... more »

Oct. 20, 2017 | “O Niebuhr, Where Art Thou?” He died along with the literate public's interest in theology. Now Christian thought is in a long retreat. It doesn’t have to be that way... more »

Oct. 19, 2017 | Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a political writer. But to see life solely in political terms, he believed, is to misunderstand it. The meaning of life lies elsewhere... more »

Oct. 18, 2017 | A philosophy of being at home. Consider your domestic surroundings along with Gaston Bachelard, and you will have “unlocked a door to daydreaming”... more »

Oct. 17, 2017 | Dream King, Swan King, Kitsch King: Ludwig II, Europe's most elusive bachelor, died in 1886. He still qualifies as the world's greatest opera fan... more »

Oct. 16, 2017 | “The key to writing biography is the capacity to be empathetic,” says James Atlas, who failed in that regard when writing his book on Saul Bellow... more »

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