July 31, 2015 | Francis Barber was born on a sugar plantation in Jamaica and died 57 years later in London. This is the true story of the slave who became Samuel Johnson’s heir... more »

July 30, 2015 | Al Seckel is gregarious, name-droppy, and hard to pin down. Was he a confidant of Francis Crick, Richard Dawkins, and Richard Feynman? Or is he an unusually academic con man?... more »

July 29, 2015 | Frances Kroll knocked on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s door in April 1939. He was a difficult man, a frayed alcoholic. She was the first Jew he ever spent time with... more »

July 28, 2015 | Today’s thinkers lack glamour, malice, looks, and a penchant for mandarin invective. Will intellectual combat ever regain the entertainment value of the Buckley-Vidal jousts?... more »

July 27, 2015 | Meet the world’s most lovable egomaniac: John Horton Conway, renowned mathematician, ambassador for curiosity, and unreliable interview subject... more »

July 25, 2015 | American road-tripping has left its mark on literature: Roughing It, On the Road, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Here are the routes that matter... more »

July 24, 2015 | Daniel Kahneman has strategies to correct for overconfidence, systematic biases, even academic feuding. Will they work? He’s not optimistic... more »

July 23, 2015 | Whether writing fiction or fact, E.L. Doctorow had a keen understanding of how the past informs the present. He's dead at 84... New York Times... The Guardian... Newsweek... Mother Jones...The New Republic... George Saunders... Michael Chabon... Ron Rosenbaum... more »

July 22, 2015 | Joe Gould, author of the longest book ever or never written, was known as a delightful eccentric: harmless and even lovable. He was neither... more »

July 21, 2015 | New taboos have replaced old in terms of profanity. We no longer fear the wrath of God or descriptions of sex. We fear offending groups... more »

July 20, 2015 | How to speak American: Steal words, invent new ones, turn nouns into verbs and verbs into nouns. Smush words together... more »

July 18, 2015 | Sappho. Or is it Psappho? We know so little about the poet from Lesbos, we’re even unsure of her name. Can translators convey her greatness?... more »

July 17, 2015 | A medieval man in modern times, Léon Bloy kept a vow of poverty and suffering, cheered the sinking of the Titanic, and wrote of suicide, incest, and cannibalism... more »

July 16, 2015 | Damien Hirst has traded drinking, drugs, and showing off his foreskin for yoga and a return to art curation. Can he save his reputation?... more »

July 15, 2015 | From Baltimore to the Aspen Ideas Festival to Paris, Ta-Nehisi Coates has spread a message: Racial indignity is always physical... more »

July 14, 2015 | To understand 20th-century economics, it helps to view the discipline as an 80-year argument between Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman... more »

July 13, 2015 | How did the academy end up investing so much in a nebulous, useless, and overly romantic notion like “critical thinking”?... more »

July 11, 2015 | If consciousness and experience can ever be explained with  scientific precision, would we no longer see humanity through a humanistic lens?... more »

July 10, 2015 | Most of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poet friends were on some drug most of the time. Not Ferlinghetti. “Somebody had to mind the shop”... more »

July 9, 2015 | Entire industries once ran on intuition. Artists were signed because someone had a hunch. Now, among talent spotters, the gut has given way to the algorithm... more »

July 8, 2015 | How a Rutherford, N.J. street huckster's white chickens and red wheelbarrow inspired a 16-word manifesto of American modernism... more »

July 7, 2015 | Denis Diderot arrived in Paris young and obscure. Soon he was notorious and in jail. Curiosity was his lodestar... more »

July 6, 2015 | Ornette Coleman was a freak – about his music, clothing, beard, philosophy. Yet his life was a conventional one, he insisted: “Born, work, sad and happy and etc.”... more »

July 4, 2015 | The life of an artist isn't easels, turpentine, and raffia-wrapped Chianti bottles so much as struggle and poverty. Making art is work, not a privilege... more »

July 3, 2015 | We live in the hyperpresent, obsessed by the instantaneous. So why are we enthralled with Deep History and its all-encompassing purview?... more »

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