Feb. 9, 2016 | We speak of being consumed by envy but filled with gratitude. Oliver Sacks approached death with poignancy, stoicism -- and gratitude... more »


Feb. 8, 2016 | Robert Lowell in love. He was a depressive, philandering alcoholic who treated women terribly. Yet he saw them as intellectual equals... more »


Feb. 6, 2016 | Psychologists set out to provide moral guidance for society, but they have proven morally suspect themselves. It’s not easy to outsource ethical reflection... more »


Feb. 5, 2016 | Liberal democracy is so widely admired that we conflate liberalism and democracy. But democracy can be an illiberal train wreck... more »


Feb. 4, 2016 | Joan Didion is our Mother of Sorrows, our Saint Joan. Only she isn't. She’s cool-eyed and coldblooded. That's her genius... more »


Feb. 3, 2016 | "Pimp my muse." Is anything so transparently self-conscious, self-undermining, self-mocking as a video book trailer for literary fiction?... more »


Feb. 2, 2016 | So the great magazine story is dead, killed by the Internet? Nonsense. Magazines have been dying for as long as there have been magazines... more »


Feb. 1, 2016 | In which 3,000 medievalists gather in Kalamazoo to cavort and dance and talk about what they love most: the deep past... more »


Jan. 30, 2016 | Each Wednesday a bottle of iced tea was placed at the head of the conference table. Then Saul Bellow would walk in, never late... more »


Jan. 29, 2016 | When someone declares "I have a novel in me,” that person will never be an artist, says Richard Sennett. You either do it or you don’t... more »


Jan. 28, 2016 | What does a tattered 17th-century map discovered in Oxford's Bodleian Library reveal about Chinese enterprise and European curiosity?... more »


Jan. 27, 2016 | How a centimeter of clay in a 1,300-foot layer of rock in Italy explains one of the most important days in the history of life... more »


Jan. 26, 2016 | Briefly a lawyer, Goethe turned to writing poetry and falling in love - and never stopped. At the age of 72, he proposed marriage to a 17-year-old... more »


Jan. 25, 2016 | For writers, economic freedom is artistic freedom. Today's writers tend to be insecure and in debt. As a result, they play it safe... more »


Jan. 23, 2016 | Economists fancy themselves rigorous social scientists. But science tends to foster consensus, and economists are as divided as ever... more »


Jan. 22, 2016 | Translators rarely become celebrities. Ann Goldstein — translator of Elena Ferrante, Jhumpa Lahiri, Primo Levi -- is an exception... more »


Jan. 21, 2016 | This is the era of the first sentence: supposedly a writer's only chance to entice a reader. Too often, however, a great first sentence is the only great sentence... more »


Jan. 20, 2016 | Triumphant yet beleaguered, liberalism is oddly hard to define. Is this evidence of an intellectual tradition that has lost coherence and credibility?... more »


Jan. 19, 2016 | Does it matter if the world is beautiful? It does to Frank Wilczek. His laws of nature are exuberant, harmonious, and symmetrical... more »


Jan. 18, 2016 | Every four seconds, Lee Child sells a book somewhere in the world. His daily regimen: 26 cigarettes, 19 cups of coffee, 2,000 words... more »


Jan. 16, 2016 | When Peter Lewis hired Frank Gehry, the estimate was $5 million. The cost would reach $82.5 million. But Lewis wasn't mad; a starchitect can do no wrong... more »


Jan. 15, 2016 | As society is pelted by sinister acts -- terrorism, surveillance, random violence -- "chick lit" is out. “Chick noir” is in... more »


Jan. 14, 2016 | Think of the great theorists of the past century. All European, right? Benedict Anderson proposes two American exceptions: Noam Chomsky and Milton Friedman... more »


Jan. 13, 2016 | “The most difficult thing about doing fieldwork is remembering who you are,” said Erving Goffman. Enter his daughter Alice, an ethnographer…... more »


Jan. 12, 2016 | In awe of his older brother, William, Henry James declared himself inadequate — to his family, as well as to the times. It improved his writing markedly... more »


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