Nov. 21, 2016 | Photography was still a young technology in 1863, when the image of a whip-scarred slave made clear that a photograph can change minds in a way that words cannot ... more »


Nov. 19, 2016 | "The way that male critics write about women is always a little funny," says Zadie Smith. "It’s part romantic, part corrective, part 'now listen, young lady'"... more »


Nov. 18, 2016 | Progress is an unalloyed good thing — the premise might seem self-evident. But the belief is a fairly recent one, and it's always had opponents... more »


Nov. 17, 2016 | When Gorky met Tolstoy. Their friendship -- volatile but real -- was built on mutual awe, respect, and disgust... more »


Nov. 16, 2016 | Female artists have long been pegged as personal — which is to say, their art is not universal. "Greatness is a moving target designed to make women miss"... more »


Nov. 15, 2016 | In the fall of 1969, two psychologists met behind closed doors at Hebrew University. They yelled and laughed and plumbed the inner workings of the human mind... more »


Nov. 14, 2016 | Enough with angst over the future of poetry. It isn't popular, but it isn't endangered. Poetry won't perish. Being a poet, though, is a more complicated matter ... more »


Nov. 12, 2016 | Charles Taylor has studied religion, the self, and the meaning of life. Now he’s turned to a really touchy subject: democracy, “a fiction that we’re trying to realize”... more »


Nov. 11, 2016 | Instead of bending to the dictates of socialist realism, Isaac Babel simply wrote less. He told people he was mastering a new genre: silence... more »


Nov. 10, 2016 | George H. Nash, godfather of conservative intellectual history, famously explained the movement's success. Now he's grappling with its abandonment of critical thought... more »


Nov. 9, 2016 | The literary legacy of the Man in Black. Johnny Cash’s verse speaks more to psalm-singing than to gunslinging, argues Paul Muldoon. We should take note... more »


Nov. 8, 2016 | In 1857, Frederick Law Olmsted began to redesign Central Park. He was supremely qualified — except for a lack of any artistic experience... more »


Nov. 7, 2016 | For all his refined taste and passion for art, Kenneth Clark was emotionally stunted. Adulation made him feel like a fraud. "My feelings are as stiff as an unused limb”... more »


Nov. 5, 2016 | When Robert Conquest wasn't writing about the atrocities of the 20th century, he was writing love poems and dirty limericks. Other poets are taking note... more »


Nov. 3, 2016 | On bibliotherapy. Novels are hardly cures for our life problems. Books drive people to do strange things. They don’t solve problems, they create new ones... more »


Nov. 2, 2016 | Born in Russia and educated in Britain, Nabokov saw himself as an American writer. He was also a critic of American culture, especially its racism... more »


Nov. 1, 2016 | The godfather of crime fiction, Thomas De Quincey inhabited the dark fringe of Romanticism. He even applauded murder as one of the finer “arts” of life... more »


Oct. 31, 2016 | "From a very early age, I had this sense of harshness and the need for endurance.” John Berger at 90, still arguing about how to see art -- and the world ... more »


Oct. 29, 2016 | Buckminster Fuller popularized the geodesic dome and the idea that technology is society’s salve. Was he, as McLuhan had it, the Leonardo of his time?... more »


Oct. 28, 2016 | Hilton Als was 14 when he first read James Baldwin. "I realized you could write in a ... there's no other way to put it, really, except it was a kind of high-faggoty style"... more »


Oct. 27, 2016 | Animal Farm in America. How an unknown democratic socialist rode the acclaim for his "little squib" of a fable to become the leading literary Cold Warrior... more »


Oct. 26, 2016 | Bards thought writing would destroy our memories; scribes loathed the printing press. Now handwriting enthusiasts have taken up this tradition of snobbery... more »


Oct. 25, 2016 | “The most bank-clerky of all bank clerks” is what Aldous Huxley called T.S. Eliot. If only Huxley had known that the poet walked around London with his cheeks powdered and his lips rouged... more »


Oct. 24, 2016 | Thomas Merton's embrace of monasticism revealed his paradoxical character. Here was a "garrulous apostle of silence who thrived among words"... more »


Oct. 22, 2016 | An investigation into the history of books bound in human skin reveals that it was usually a doctor wielding the knife... more »


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