Dec. 27, 2019 | Midcentury America was far more than Hemingway and Mailer. It was also hellfire sermons, vaudeville acts, and the National Enquirer... more »


Dec. 26, 2019 | When literature mattered. During the Cold War, the CIA printed copies of Animal Farm light enough to float across borders on balloons... more »


Dec. 25, 2019 | Françoise Gilot’s romance with Picasso had its challenges. For starters, settling in his former partner’s house — which was infested with scorpions... more »


Dec. 24, 2019 | December drips with treacly best-of lists. For some holiday respite, look no further than this list of 2019’s best hatchet jobs... more »


Dec. 23, 2019 | The 1619 Project advanced an authoritative new version of American history. It carries the imprimatur of The New York Times. But is it good scholarship?... more »


Dec. 21, 2019 | Diderot acknowledged two great mistakes in life: his marriage, and spending 25 years steering the Encylopédie to completion... more »


Dec. 20, 2019 | Science fiction does, occasionally, offer scientific truth. But the best works tend to get everything wrong... more »


Dec. 19, 2019 | Building buzz is tricky for independent publishers. What helps? Kendall Jenner, photographed reading your book on a yacht in Miami... more »


Dec. 18, 2019 | Gone is the stately campus novel, full of tweed and witty banter. In its stead: the scatological adjunct novel... more »


Dec. 17, 2019 | In the 1950s, an artist hit his creative zenith in short sessions on live TV. That famed proto-modernist? Congo, a chimpanzee... more »


Dec. 16, 2019 | Has the field of language evolution focused too much on the shape of our throats and not enough on the functioning of our brains?... more »


Dec. 14, 2019 | Kerouac waited by a newsstand all night for a forthcoming review of his book. “Its publication is a historic occasion,” the review began. It only got better... more »


Dec. 13, 2019 | In praise of Grace Paley: “In Paley you hear America singing, yes, but also: belly-aching, kvetching, teasing…”... more »


Dec. 12, 2019 | Oliver Sacks did psychoanalysis twice weekly, at dawn, for 50 years. “I think we’re finally getting somewhere,” he said, shortly before he died... more »


Dec. 11, 2019 | Isaiah Berlin produced political theory for real people, showing that humanity itself is the main barrier to making the world a better place... more »


Dec. 10, 2019 | Michelangelo was unmarried and lived with a motley bunch of "housemates." Scholars have been left to puzzle over the precise nature of these relationships... more »


Dec. 9, 2019 | Walter Benton was once one of America’s most popular poets. His secret? Sensuous, risqué writing that caused teenagers to mob bookstores... more »


Dec. 7, 2019 | The death of Camus. Did the KGB rig his car to make it crash at high speed?... more »


Dec. 6, 2019 | In the '90s, Stanley Fish infamously bemoaned the prevalence of Volvos on college campuses. Now he's dismayed by the ubiquity of Subarus — and what that means... more »


Dec. 5, 2019 | John Berger’s 1972 TV series, Ways of Seeing, was a grenade lobbed at art history. But, as he learned, it’s not easy to follow an act of demolition... more »


Dec. 4, 2019 | For Derrida, friendship was both an ecstatic and a political act — one that required constant thinking about how we’d eulogize our friends... more »


Dec. 3, 2019 | Nabokov’s dislikes: Thomas Mann is a bad writer on a big scale. Freud merits unrelenting mockery. And never trust a translator... more »


Dec. 2, 2019 | John Simon and the art of the brutal pan. "When he saw something he hated, he eviscerated it and ate its liver, and those meals were not infrequent"... more »


Nov. 30, 2019 | To accuse someone of “virtue signaling” is to commit that offense yourself, just to a different audience. A philosopher unpacks the moral morass... more »


Nov. 29, 2019 | Clive James is dead. The critic, poet, and incomparable wit, who seemed incapable of writing a limp sentence, was 80... more »


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