June 3, 2017 | Technological change can make even recent “contemporary” fiction feel dated. So writers of literary works are increasingly setting them in the future... more »


June 2, 2017 | The friendship of Gershom Scholem and Hannah Arendt ended over questions of good, evil, and historical responsibility. Their argument continues to be relevant... more »


June 1, 2017 | Schools of thought in philosophy and cultural theory are transient. They coalesce, evolve, break apart. So how has the Frankfurt School endured for three generations?... more »


May 31, 2017 | When Shirley Jackson arrived at the hospital and was asked her occupation, she said “writer.” The nurse responded, “I’ll just put down housewife"... more »


May 30, 2017 | It's where Confucius and Lao Tzu went to think, where Li Bai and Du Fu went to find words, where Mao demonstrated his authority. In China, everything starts with a river... more »


May 29, 2017 | Shakespeare and the brain. Stephen Booth is a literary critic with a penetrating view of poetic language. He's transformed our understanding not only of Shakespeare but also of how we think... more »


May 27, 2017 | At 32 Nietzsche left Basel to recuperate in Sorrento. There he separated himself from Wagner, which was odd — Wagner was also in Sorrento... more »


May 26, 2017 | How can we be? The fMRI can't identify the source of consciousness, but it can bring the problem into sharper relief... more »


May 25, 2017 | Pound and Eliot. Lish and Carver. Brod and Kafka. Fiction editors sit uncomfortably at the intersection of art and commerce. The role is ripe for recrimination... more »


May 24, 2017 | It used to be simple: dark suit, white shirt, discreet tie, black oxfords. Then came "casual Fridays" — and all we lost by dressing down... more »


May 23, 2017 | Is intersectionality solving social ills? Or does it make us stupid? The academic theory, once obscure, is now everywhere... more »


May 22, 2017 | In 2011, Daryl Bem, a social psychologist, published a paper in a top journal suggesting that ESP is real. That touched off a crisis of confidence in science. Should he be thanked or blamed?... more »


May 20, 2017 | Travel writing is not all Kerouac and Chatwin. In fact, it doesn’t have to involve traveling farther than around a room... more »


May 19, 2017 | A decade ago, highly confessional first-person writing began to flood the internet. Now it’s nearly vanished. What killed the personal essay?... more »


May 18, 2017 | For four days at a sold-out, $1,250-per-ticket conference at a Boston hotel, content marketers offered a vision of the future of media. It's terrifying... more »


May 17, 2017 | “The past is yours, to keep invisible if you wish,” wrote John Ashbery. His own past is quite public, including a 1,000-page teenage diary... more »


May 16, 2017 | Encouraged by success, F. Scott Fitzgerald continued in a lofty, literary, yet Hollywood-ready mode. But the demands of art and audience rarely aligned... more »


May 15, 2017 | Do you believe that technology should speed up and intensify? Are you OK with social and political upheaval? Then you might be an accelerationist... more »


May 13, 2017 | While his archrival eluded the KGB to cruise boy bars, Emil Gilels, foremost pianist of the Soviet era, fell in line. In the end, it didn’t matter... more »


May 12, 2017 | Christophe Guilluy, who calls himself a geographer, studies gentrification in France. Ideologically and intellectually, he is difficult to place. He's becoming impossible to ignore... more »


May 11, 2017 | Pointed hats, broomsticks, caldrons, cats. Why do we assume witches look a certain way? Blame the rise of the mass-produced woodcut... more »


May 10, 2017 | You’re in your early 20s, your first book is a big success, you're called a genius. How would you react? If you're Dostoevsky, you'd become an insufferable jerk... more »


May 9, 2017 | Poor Nietzsche. Not only is he blamed for World War I and Nazism, but he's maligned as the godfather of postmodern relativism. Nonsense. He was a champion of the Enlightenment... more »


May 8, 2017 | Shakespeare receives a disproportionate amount of attention. He's unavoidable. But his dominance serves a purpose: It keeps the literary ecosystem functioning... more »


May 6, 2017 | Ezra and Papa. They partied in Paris, promoted each other's work, and took up boxing. Then Hemingway moved to Key West, and Pound took an interest in Italian politics... more »


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