Oct. 2, 2015 | John Updike was most openly himself as a poet. Thus his focus on the erotic and on bodily functions: “Fellatio,” "Mouse Sex," “The Beautiful Bowel Movement”... more »

Oct. 1, 2015 | Marxism Today — feisty, fractious, produced on a shoestring — published its last issue in 1991. It's never been more relevant ... more »

Sept. 30, 2015 | Invented in 1874, barbed wire has proved resilient both functionally and symbolically. Robert Zaretsky uncoils its tragic history... more »

Sept. 29, 2015 | Banned Books Week, an annual campaign against censorship in America, is well-intentioned, in the right, and completely irrelevant ... more »

Sept. 28, 2015 | Consider the blurb. What began with a note from Emerson to Whitman has become pervasive — even though there's little evidence that blurbs sell any books... more »

Sept. 26, 2015 | “No more portraits," John Berger demanded in 1967 — the genre stood for social status and celebrity. Now the critic has pulled an about-face... more »

Sept. 25, 2015 | Ivan Maisky — intelligent, spirited, polyglot — was Stalin's ambassador to London in the 1930s. His diary, while unreliable, is a revelation... more »

Sept. 24, 2015 | Flaubert, Camus, Sartre, de Beauvoir: French intellectual culture was once the envy of the world. Now it’s mired in malaise... more »

Sept. 23, 2015 | While heroes inspire admiration, do-gooders tend to provoke unease, as if there is something perverse about all that virtue... more »

Sept. 22, 2015 | Picture Hamlet. Is he lean, pensive, brooding? Probably, because that's how the role has been cast. But what if Hamlet were fat?... more »

Sept. 21, 2015 | A belief in the universal appeal of Western liberal values has long been a feature of American opinion. But those values are losing sway... more »

Sept. 19, 2015 | The rents were low, the cultural world was small and buzzing with theories, markets, and movements. Ah, to be in New York in the 70s... more »

Sept. 18, 2015 | Over 11 days in New York in 1964, Samuel Beckett and Buster Keaton engaged in one of the strangest experiments in movie history... more »

Sept. 17, 2015 | Did the Enlightenment have Buddhist roots? How Tibetan lamas, Siamese monks, and an Italian missionary inspired David Hume... more »

Sept. 16, 2015 | The faculty lounge was a good fit for a polymath like Saul Bellow, who thrived intellectually in the academy while deteriorating as a novelist... more »

Sept. 15, 2015 | Who is Joan Didion? We talk of her as an essayist and grief memoirist, as a political writer, and as a novelist. There must be a connection... more »

Sept. 14, 2015 | The current generation of black thinkers is distinct from its predecessors in many ways, not least this: They don't aspire to the Ivy League... more »

Sept. 12, 2015 | Philip Kelley has spent more than 50 years editing the correspondence – 11,601 letters – of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. But don't call him a scholar... more »

Sept. 11, 2015 | Yes, Aldous Huxley liked taking acid, but he also liked Renaissance madrigals. The story of an unlikely icon of psychedelic music... more »

Sept. 10, 2015 | Real men do cry. Public male weeping was ubiquitous across the world for most of recorded history. Where did the tears go?... more »

Sept. 9, 2015 | Neuroaesthetics is the rage, and the possibilities are exciting. But art will always elude even the most advanced methods of cognitive science... more »

Sept. 8, 2015 | “Nature writing” has become a cant phrase. But whatever you call it, we're living in a golden age of such literature... more »

Sept. 7, 2015 | We author our own lives, and the narratives we tell become us. So say philosophers like Daniel Dennett. What does this even mean?... more »

Sept. 5, 2015 | "I have one consistency, which is being against the totalitarian – on the left and on the right. The totalitarian is the enemy." Christopher Hitchens's last interview... more »

Sept. 4, 2015 | The historian Robert Conquest was also a figure of great literary significance. His criticism reads like a manifesto of common sense... more »

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