Aug. 12, 2015 | Literature, art, music, architecture, religion, and science all have canons. What about the ingredients stirred into the tastes of our time? Why not a culinary canon?... more »


Aug. 11, 2015 | When and how did news of the Holocaust first reach the West? An investigation discovers no conspiracy of silence, but much ignorance... more »


Aug. 10, 2015 | According to Walker Percy, disaster brings focus, connection, engagement. A hurricane can be therapeutic... more »


Aug. 8, 2015 | Machiavelli was brilliant, ruthless, cunning, clear-eyed, mercurial, a little boastful, and pathetic. But a comedian?... more »


Aug. 7, 2015 | A. Alvarez helped establish Lowell, Plath, and Berryman but felt something was missing from their work: a political message. Then he found Miroslav Holub... more »


Aug. 6, 2015 | In which W.B. Yeats shows up at a meeting of the Sex Education Society in London in 1937, charms a young woman, and discusses his libido... more »


Aug. 5, 2015 | Perhaps it's true that Vidal and Buckley's 1968 debates, a master class in ad hominem insults, ushered in an era of televised gasbaggery. But what gasbaggery it was!... more »


Aug. 4, 2015 | Max Beerbohm — critic, novelist, caricaturist — remains an inspiration and a mystery: Why did this major talent limit himself to relatively minor achievements?... more »


Aug. 3, 2015 | Charlie Hebdo survived a massacre. Now it faces a dangerous new challenge: sudden wealth. Long poor, the publication is flush... more »


Aug. 1, 2015 | When Hayek met Wittgenstein. It was 1918, and the two artillery ensigns — and ardent socialists — shared a train back to the war. Hayek was forever changed... more »


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 »


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