May 14, 2016 | The mark of a great mind, La Rochefoucauld said, was to “say many things with few words.” Thus the remarkable lifespan of the aphorism... more »


May 13, 2016 | Economists like to think of themselves as the most scientific social scientists. But they mistake elegant equations for truth... more »


May 12, 2016 | Tom Vanderbilt is in his 40s. His daughter is 4. Together they're learning how to play chess -- and, unwittingly, about the brain as it ages... more »


May 11, 2016 | To be a writer is to accept abuse. Here's D.H. Lawrence to Bertrand Russell: "The article you send me is a plausible lie, and I hate it." They were friends... more »


May 10, 2016 | How to launch a psychological theory: Take an old idea and give it a catchy name, suggesting rough-hewn authenticity and old-fashioned virtue. Call it grit... more »


May 9, 2016 | That Robert Hughes had literary chops is beyond dispute. His judgment in art is a contested matter, but it shouldn't be... more »


May 7, 2016 | Nietzsche completed his first memoir at 13, and wrote another five over the next decade. He wrote to see who he was. What he was was a mama's boy... more »


May 6, 2016 | On April 6, 1922, Albert Einstein met Henri Bergson at Société française de philosophie. The encounter marks the beginning of philosophy's eclipse by science... more »


May 5, 2016 | Pumpkin, Basil, Citrus, Red Pepper, Artichoke, Cherry, Buttercup. What's with the oddly horticultural lingo of Israeli soldiers?... more »


May 4, 2016 | A mad old man who imagines himself a knight rides forth on his frail horse, Rocinante. The modern era - and with it the novel - is born... more »


May 3, 2016 | Lord Acton had a library of 67,000 volumes, scrupulously cross-referenced. His miscellanea fill some 50,000 pages. But he never published a book... more »


May 2, 2016 | Jenny Diski - virtuoso novelist, memoirist, essayist, pessimist, misanthrope; - is dead. She was 68... more... more... more... more... more »


April 30, 2016 | For Walt Whitman, the body was the basis of democracy. So he was a health nut, a fount of advice on sex, bathing, exercise, footwear... more »


April 29, 2016 | The history of war is typically written by winners. But not the Spanish Civil War. Our version has been Orwell's version. And it's time for a change... more »


April 28, 2016 | When Romanticism meets romance. From Flaubert onward, it’s clear that literature gives us the wrong idea about love... more »


April 27, 2016 | Camille Paglia and a life of observation. She doesn't sit in a university. She doesn't go to conferences. She listens to conversations at the mall... more »


April 26, 2016 | Poetry and money. Eileen Myles sent poems to The New Yorker for 30 years. Finally, one was accepted. Payment: $600 and two nights at a motel... more »


April 25, 2016 | Here's what we know: Shakespeare was buried on April 25, 1616. How did he die? Many theories - alcoholism, typhus - but little evidence... more »


April 23, 2016 | Physics is not a discipline or a set of procedures. It's a way of thinking about the world: a scheme that organizes cause and effect... more »


April 22, 2016 | The signature literary genre of the Stalinist era was the production novel: Outsider at factory solves problem. Bohumil Hrabal was a master of the form... more »


April 21, 2016 | If Cervantes is the Spanish Shakespeare, why isn’t his hometown the Spanish Stratford-upon-Avon? Because Spain is inept at acknowledging its own culture... more »


April 20, 2016 | The Coetzee archives. “All writing is autobiography,” he likes to say. But how much could he bear to reveal in his own papers?... more »


April 19, 2016 | The cult of science. As it gains more and more prestige, it attracts opportunists and charlatans spewing an ocean of nonsense... more »


April 18, 2016 | “The food of the true revolutionary is the red pepper,” declared Mao, who liked his meals spicy. Turns out, he may have been on to something... more »


April 16, 2016 | Inspired by Nietzsche, the architect Philip Johnson went to Berlin to understand both art and power. There he marveled at blond boys in black leather paying homage to Hitler... more »


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