March 7, 2015 | Do you know what 'sprezzatura? means? How about 'starboard out, starboard home?? Secret frames of reference govern writing... more »

March 6, 2015 | Dylan Thomas excelled in the role of doomed poet: Drinking, debt, squalor, petty theft, not-so-petty theft... more »

March 5, 2015 | Robert Clive, an unstable sociopath, plundered India. His was a supreme act of corporate violence, and a harbinger of our own times... more »

March 4, 2015 | Mamoru Samuragochi was hailed as a great classical talent of his generation. His story was amazing ? a deaf composer genius. And it was false... more »

March 3, 2015 | Rimbaud in Ethiopia. How did the enfant terrible of the Parisian literary scene end up in the ancient-walled market town of Harar?... more »

March 2, 2015 | Roughly 40,000 years ago, Neanderthals dwindled and then vanished from Eurasia. What caused this die-off? Modern humans and their dogs... more »

Feb. 28, 2015 | When a man loves a pigeon. Nikola Tesla had one true object of affection. She was pure white, with light-gray tips on her wings... more »

Feb. 27, 2015 | Literary history is male-dominated. Literary journalism, too. But rest assured that editors are keenly aware of the problem... more »

Feb. 26, 2015 | In the 1930s, Auden got involved in the Spanish Civil War. It didn't go well, and he retreated to his poetry. Why? ?Poetry makes nothing happen?... more »

Feb. 25, 2015 | Impressionism was saved from obscurity not by Monet, Pissarro, or Renoir, but by a French expat in London named Paul Durand-Ruel... more »

Feb. 24, 2015 | The French waiter. Intimidating, maligned, marvelous: He is all precision and speed, with a big dose of drama... more »

Feb. 23, 2015 | At least since Kant said the 'true strength of virtue is a tranquil mind,' anxiety has been something to avoid. Was he wrong?... more »

Feb. 21, 2015 | Why was Bob Hope so successful? Mostly for the same reason people no longer find him funny: He wasn't Jewish... more »

Feb. 20, 2015 | A white male writer is a writer. The rest are pigeonholed: female writer, black writer, African writer. But literature is a way to seek universality... more »

Feb. 19, 2015 | Vaccines, climate change, GMOs: Conspiracy-minded skeptics have declared war on scientific expertise. In this debate, facts are futile... more »

Feb. 18, 2015 | Looking for Langston Hughes. He displayed a genial, marketable public persona. Given his times, it was a matter of self-protection... more »

Feb. 17, 2015 | 1915 should have been a good year for Virginia Woolf: new novel, new publishing house, new bulldog. Instead she plunged into madness... more »

Feb. 16, 2015 | What the story of one dead man pulled through the snow by another man says about history, historical fiction, and the human imagination... more »

Feb. 14, 2015 | Stanley Milgram's studies endure not because they clarify our capacity for evil, but because his work doesn't prove what he claimed it does... more »

Feb. 13, 2015 | Literature, like relationships, involves exploration and self-knowledge. So how much can you learn about marriage by reading fiction?... more »

Feb. 12, 2015 | Writing the Great American Bible. Long ago it seemed that everyone was trying a hand. One effort survived: the Book of Mormon... more »

Feb. 11, 2015 | Psychiatry is the black sheep of the medical family, scorned by physicians and patients alike. The reputation is well-deserved... more »

Feb. 10, 2015 | Think again, Barthes. The author is not dead. He is tweeting, Facebooking, YouTubing. And that's a problem for critics of contemporary literature... more »

Feb. 9, 2015 | How a wealthy, wild-bearded philosopher-poet and a shy, homeless runaway determined how the mind knows what it knows... more »

Feb. 7, 2015 | Why the continuing obsession with Nazis? For the stark moral drama, to which we can retreat from our far more complex world... more »

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