Dec. 27, 2016 | Was Bach a bully? He was a teenage thug, drawing a dagger in an altercation with a bassoonist. Then there are the hints of anti-Semitism... more »


Dec. 26, 2016 | Feeling down about the state of the world? Cheer up, says Steven Pinker. Look at trend lines, not headlines, and you'll see that most long-term trends are heading in the right direction... more »


Dec. 24, 2016 | Seventy percent of museum visitors go for “a social experience” — indeed, serenity is in short supply in crowded galleries. That's why miniature exhibits matter... more »


Dec. 23, 2016 | "The most important thing for any intellectual to have is a sense of proportion," and liberal academics have lost it, says Mark Lilla. "Our campuses are not Aleppo”... more »


Dec. 22, 2016 | If someone changes drastically, does he or she become a different person? The answer to this old philosophical riddle may be in the nature of the change... more »


Dec. 21, 2016 | In 1964, Marshall McLuhan was unknown. By 1967, he was a star. How did an obscure professor from Canada transform himself from pious agrarian to media mystagogue?... more »


Dec. 20, 2016 | Fake news is not a new phenomenon. Indeed, fake news is older than real news. As facts recede, the power of concocted stories will only grow... more »


Dec. 19, 2016 | Next year, Russians will observe the centenary of the Russian Revolution. And their government will make sure they know almost nothing about it... more »


Dec. 17, 2016 | Best-selling books, it’s said, provide “a snapshot of an age.” Yet in every age, while characters and settings may have changed, the narratives are familiar... more »


Dec. 16, 2016 | Geriatric wisdom goes beyond nostalgia and mortality. It’s the humor of Beckett after slipping in the bathtub, the flair of Bellow getting out of the ICU... more »


Dec. 15, 2016 | Lügenpresse, umvolkung, völkisch, volksverräter, überfremdung: The language of Nazism is resurgent, an old lexicon for a new nationalism... more »


Dec. 14, 2016 | In 1914, Yeats and Pound held a dinner to celebrate the poet Wilfrid Blunt. Featured were roast peacock and insults galore. Passing the generational baton has never been easy... more »


Dec. 13, 2016 | Literary scholars read with vigilance, wariness, suspicion, distrust. Their criticism has a political aim. Which is to say pleasure plays no part... more »


Dec. 12, 2016 | Liszt drank a bottle of cognac a day; Brahms was boozy; Schubert was a drunk. A lot of great composers were fond of the bottle... more »


Dec. 10, 2016 | Freeman Dyson, who knew Einstein, Oppenheimer, and Feynman, thinks three qualities help make a successful scientist: ignorance, craziness, subversiveness ... more »


Dec. 9, 2016 | Combining Norse legend, Greek myth, dope fiends, Neolithic hunter-gatherers, and kimchi, Jack London tried his hand at writing science fiction... more »


Dec. 8, 2016 | P.G. Wodehouse never escaped the stain of his wartime broadcasts on German radio. Could it be that he was guilty only of stupidity?... more »


Dec. 7, 2016 | The accidental propagandist. One Hundred Years of Solitude made Gabriel García Márquez famous. It also made him an unwitting operative of the CIA... more »


Dec. 6, 2016 | Amy Cuddy's TED talk on power poses — feet apart, hands on hips, head thrown back -- has been viewed 37 million times. How did such a flimsy idea become a sensation?... more »


Dec. 5, 2016 | Literary culture won't disappear, but it will continue to shrink. "It will go back to what it was when I started out," says Martin Amis, "which is a minority interest sphere"... more »


Dec. 3, 2016 | For Schlegel, Tzara, and Schiller, art was by definition incomprehensible. Case in point: the Voynich Manuscript, which is quite possibly nonsense... more »


Dec. 2, 2016 | Boredom gets a bad rap. We need it in order to live and think well. Its defenders include Bertrand Russell, Nietzsche, Sontag... more »


Dec. 1, 2016 | The miserable academic job market and the re-emergence of little magazines are catalyzing  a cultural renaissance. Meet the new intellectuals... more »


Nov. 30, 2016 | The Job-like trials of Hugh Gordon Porteus. A disciple of Wyndham Lewis, he tried his hand at sinology, map designing, and dirty limericks. Success was elusive... more »


Nov. 29, 2016 | Emily Dickinson’s thoughts piled up on envelopes, chocolate wrappers, and bits of newspaper. Never in a rush, she was a scholar of passing time... more »


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