Feb. 17, 2016 | Consider the personal life of Robert Trivers, evolutionary biologist: the ganja, the time in a Jamaican prison, the afternoon drinks shared with a lizard... more »

Feb. 16, 2016 | Genius has distinctions: Scientific genius is different from literary or painterly genius. Celebrity, however, is more predictable... more »

Feb. 15, 2016 | The long-maligned Bad Quarto version of Hamlet, first published in 1603, reveals Shakespeare's evolution as an artist... more »

Feb. 13, 2016 | Thoreau and mortality. His brother’s death drove him to science — even ornithology — in an ontological quest... more »

Feb. 12, 2016 | The future belongs to automated, error-free prose, no stylistic vampirism, clichéd characters, or shopworn narrative devices... more »

Feb. 11, 2016 | Spurned by academe, W.E.B. Du Bois found a more important cause: “High on the ramparts of this blistering hell of life ... I sit and see the Truth”... more »

Feb. 10, 2016 | For six years, scholars dissected Mein Kampf sentence by sentence. The result spans 2,000 pages and 3,500 footnotes. It looks like the Talmud... more »

Feb. 9, 2016 | We speak of being consumed by envy but filled with gratitude. Oliver Sacks approached death with poignancy, stoicism -- and gratitude... more »

Feb. 8, 2016 | Robert Lowell in love. He was a depressive, philandering alcoholic who treated women terribly. Yet he saw them as intellectual equals... more »

Feb. 6, 2016 | Psychologists set out to provide moral guidance for society, but they have proven morally suspect themselves. It’s not easy to outsource ethical reflection... more »

Feb. 5, 2016 | Liberal democracy is so widely admired that we conflate liberalism and democracy. But democracy can be an illiberal train wreck... more »

Feb. 4, 2016 | Joan Didion is our Mother of Sorrows, our Saint Joan. Only she isn't. She’s cool-eyed and coldblooded. That's her genius... more »

Feb. 3, 2016 | "Pimp my muse." Is anything so transparently self-conscious, self-undermining, self-mocking as a video book trailer for literary fiction?... more »

Feb. 2, 2016 | So the great magazine story is dead, killed by the Internet? Nonsense. Magazines have been dying for as long as there have been magazines... more »

Feb. 1, 2016 | In which 3,000 medievalists gather in Kalamazoo to cavort and dance and talk about what they love most: the deep past... more »

Jan. 30, 2016 | Each Wednesday a bottle of iced tea was placed at the head of the conference table. Then Saul Bellow would walk in, never late... more »

Jan. 29, 2016 | When someone declares "I have a novel in me,” that person will never be an artist, says Richard Sennett. You either do it or you don’t... more »

Jan. 28, 2016 | What does a tattered 17th-century map discovered in Oxford's Bodleian Library reveal about Chinese enterprise and European curiosity?... more »

Jan. 27, 2016 | How a centimeter of clay in a 1,300-foot layer of rock in Italy explains one of the most important days in the history of life... more »

Jan. 26, 2016 | Briefly a lawyer, Goethe turned to writing poetry and falling in love - and never stopped. At the age of 72, he proposed marriage to a 17-year-old... more »

Jan. 25, 2016 | For writers, economic freedom is artistic freedom. Today's writers tend to be insecure and in debt. As a result, they play it safe... more »

Jan. 23, 2016 | Economists fancy themselves rigorous social scientists. But science tends to foster consensus, and economists are as divided as ever... more »

Jan. 22, 2016 | Translators rarely become celebrities. Ann Goldstein — translator of Elena Ferrante, Jhumpa Lahiri, Primo Levi -- is an exception... more »

Jan. 21, 2016 | This is the era of the first sentence: supposedly a writer's only chance to entice a reader. Too often, however, a great first sentence is the only great sentence... more »

Jan. 20, 2016 | Triumphant yet beleaguered, liberalism is oddly hard to define. Is this evidence of an intellectual tradition that has lost coherence and credibility?... more »

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