March 16, 2017 | In the 1960s and '70s, Habermas, Rorty, and their generation of philosophers focused almost exclusively on language. A singular exception: Foucault, who matters now more than ever... more »

March 15, 2017 | The life of a literary liar. Clifford Irving is that rare fabulist who is openly grandiose about his determination to put one over on his audience... more »

March 14, 2017 | Not just neurons. Materialism, our most celebrated way of understanding the mind, on closer examination looks woefully inadequate... more »

March 13, 2017 | Slavery and higher education. "I don’t know how you conduct research that shows that your very existence is rooted in a great crime and just say, ‘Well,’ shrug—and maybe at best say, ‘I’m sorry’"... more »

March 11, 2017 | In 1936, a middling novelist went to live among the poor and unemployed in the north of England. He returned as George Orwell, champion of democratic socialism... more »

March 10, 2017 | Catching up with Camille. In the 1990s she showed up at photo shoots with whip and sword. Now she claims to crave anonymity. Still, the cult of Paglia persists... more »

March 9, 2017 | Think of a powerful person. You probably pictured a man. To empower women, a different way of thinking about power is called for. Mary Beard explains... more »

March 8, 2017 | What do artists do, mostly? They tweak what they've already done. George Saunders finds it helpful to imagine a meter on his forehead... more »

March 7, 2017 | Kafka spent most of his nights alone, embracing asceticism and avoiding social obligations. But it was love that shaped the end of his life... more »

March 6, 2017 | Anthony Burgess began writing because he thought he had a year to live and wanted to make money for his widow-to-be. He didn't die and couldn't find a job, so he kept on writing... more »

March 4, 2017 | Eat like a 16th-century pope. Delicacies included monkey brain, parrot tongue, and Turkish fish. Silverware was tossed out the window after each course... more »

March 3, 2017 | Shyness is both common and mysterious. Is it a mere feeling? A chronic condition? A form of anxiety? It’s certainly misunderstood... more »

March 2, 2017 | Shakespeare's language tics — “gentle,” “answer,” “beseech,” “tonight” — reveal the sometimes vague line between authorship and influence among Elizabethan playwrights... more »

March 1, 2017 | Is writing about the arts self-indulgent in a time of political upheaval? No. Cultural criticism is a community service... more »

Feb. 28, 2017 | Britain's political establishment is self-confident, intellectually flexible, and increasingly out of favor. Is the problem that its pillars all have the same degree from Oxford?... more »

Feb. 27, 2017 | The idea of willpower has an intuitive hold on our imaginations, rooted in social attitudes and philosophical speculation — not science ... more »

Feb. 25, 2017 | Andy Warhol, dead 30 years, anticipated our times. He celebrated commercialism, celebrity, and had an opinion of Donald Trump: "I think Trump's sort of cheap"... more »

Feb. 24, 2017 | Robert Lowell’s herculean strength of character. After each of 16 shame-filled, soul-killing episodes of insanity, he sought to re-establish his life... more »

Feb. 23, 2017 | We are “unique, irreplaceable" says the humanist. We contain multitudes, says the scientist — bounded by the narrow confines of our skulls... more »

Feb. 22, 2017 | The idea of intelligence has justified slavery, oppression, eugenics. No wonder the prospect of artificial intelligence fills us with dread... more »

Feb. 21, 2017 | How to stage a ballet in Soviet Russia. Avoid not only technical kinks but also ideological defects, which Sergei Prokofiev was unable -- or unwilling -- to do... more »

Feb. 20, 2017 | Veneration of Shakespeare blinds us to the brilliance of other writers, to the other ways a play can and should be. The case against Shakespeare as a lone genius... more »

Feb. 18, 2017 | In the mid-60s, Norman Podhoretz gave up on becoming the next Lionel Trilling. Instead he wrote about ambition, alienating almost everyone he knew... more »

Feb. 17, 2017 | Norman Mailer helped free the convicted murderer Jack Henry Abbott, promising him work as his literary assistant. Shortly after Abbott’s release, he killed again... more »

Feb. 16, 2017 | How to make the color red: Scholars and artists long sought the tools. Arsenic, Asian flora, sulfur, mercury, and ox blood have been involved... more »

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