April 1, 2020 | The case for Don DeLillo. By every metric of literary greatness, he is in the highest percentile. Give him the Nobel Prize. This year... more »


March 31, 2020 | "You can live alone without being lonely, and you can be lonely without living alone," says Jill Lepore, "but the two are closely tied together, which makes lockdowns, sheltering in place, that much harder to bear"... more »


March 30, 2020 | Two years ago, Joseph Epstein set out to learn Latin. As his dream of mastery has given way to reality, what remains is his love for the language... more »


March 28, 2020 | Auden was filthy, strewing old food, cigarettes, and martini glasses everywhere. Such squalor, he protested, was necessary for a man of letters... more »


March 27, 2020 | A pandemic is a time for rethinking everything, for changing one’s mind, for putting down books by fashionable theorists... more »


March 26, 2020 | The literature of contagion is vile, says Jill Lepore. "Every story of epidemic is a story of illiteracy, language made powerless, man made brute... more »


March 25, 2020 | The critical theorist as coronavirus denier. Giorgio Agamben uses outdated jargon to make once-fashionable arguments that now seem absurd. Who's listening?... more »


March 24, 2020 | In praise of marginalia. "Like having a child or planting a garden, annotating a book is an expression of hope for the future"... more »


March 23, 2020 | Any critic who wants to write something lasting must do so in part from aggression. Few have been more successful than T.S. Eliot... more »


March 21, 2020 | Society, Durkheim held, was a social fact irreducible to psychology or economics. In a time of pandemic, we’re all Durkheimians... more »


March 20, 2020 | When Alex Perez praises Philip Roth and Henry Miller, people react as if to an atrocity. And yet he can’t get enough of these problematic white dudes... more »


March 19, 2020 | What does a writer do when his words stop working? Wait for the muse to recharge or dwell in the struggle to overcome your own silence... more »


March 18, 2020 | “Be of good cheer,” advises Geoff Dyer, reflecting on the pandemic. But inwardly he’s clutching his head like Munch’s screamer... more »


March 17, 2020 | In literature, a disease is not just a disease. It is a return of the repressed, a manifestation of an eternal crisis... more »


March 16, 2020 | Much of the poetry we love most is wistful and regret-filled. Why? The all-too human hankering for things to be other than they are. Michael Dirda explains... more »


March 14, 2020 | Through Umberto Eco’s eyes, the library functions not to enlighten, but to disorient — to overwhelm your self-confidence... more »


March 13, 2020 | In 1948, Camus discovered Simone Weil’s manuscripts. They revolutionized not only his sense of suffering but his sense of self... more »


March 12, 2020 | George Steiner, an unrepentant elitist, was a moral force for high art. Among his virtues was a hunger to be more serious... more »


March 11, 2020 | Long gone are the days of Dickens and Kafka — the novel has been brought low. Are its days numbered?... more »


March 10, 2020 | George Scialabba, who has spent a lifetime suffering from depression and reading about others', has some advice... more »


March 9, 2020 | The University of Chicago is renowned for its commitment to open debate and rigorous inquiry. Is that still true of its English department?... more »


March 7, 2020 | In praise of passive protagonists. The insipidity of characters like Candide and Bartleby belies their triumphant potential... more »


March 6, 2020 | Faulkner arrived in Hollywood in 1932 and made a lasting first impression: He was drunk, disheveled, and bleeding from the head... more »


March 5, 2020 | It's been said that most writers are lucky to have one original book in them. A lot of literary careers consist of rewriting it again and again... more »


March 4, 2020 | All is not well in the humanities. Why are its adherents so eager to convince themselves otherwise? Charlie Tyson unpacks “reassurance lit”... more »


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