Oct. 27, 2020 | Does history really “have its eyes on us,” as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s George Washington says? Where did this idea come from, anyway?   ... more »


Oct. 26, 2020 | Hannah Arendt is the most used and abused philosophical source to interpret American politics. Sam Moyn explains  ... more »


Oct. 24, 2020 | "The mob is drunk on the new power that surveillance provides them, seemingly unaware of the many ways it could come back to bite them next" ... more »


Oct. 23, 2020 | Political poems were “excruciating”; the “so-called arts of the left” were insincere — for George and Mary Oppen, politics and the arts did not mix   ... more »


Oct. 22, 2020 | Ruthlessly self-absorbed, obsessed with power, a sexual predator — Simone de Beauvoir was not a good person. But at least she stood for something  ... more »


Oct. 21, 2020 | What makes Chekhov unique? His perception, his ability to discern the subtlest emotional shades of human experience. Gary Saul Morson explains ... more »


Oct. 20, 2020 | "A grabby talky disorderly inferno of the spirit." William Gaddis's J R was almost comically ahead of its time  ... more »


Oct. 19, 2020 | What do we mean when we say a piece of art is "relevant"? The characterization says less about the work than about the audience... more »


Oct. 17, 2020 | The talents of the painter and poet Max Jacob were legion. Their fullest expression may have come in an overcrowded prison cell for Jews in Orléans in 1944  ... more »


Oct. 16, 2020 | James Wood has a suggestion: "Every professor of literature should stand in a classroom and announce (in effect): 'My god, this is beautiful.' And yes, do it every year, anew" ... more »


Oct. 15, 2020 | The meaning of a mustache. For Wesley Morris, it’s a way to connect to Blackness, and to a legacy of improving America ... more »


Oct. 14, 2020 | A bookstore is a place of reverie, digression, discovery. As efficiency-accustomed customers have discovered, it is not Amazon Prime... more »


Oct. 13, 2020 | Some poets harvest a narrow field. Robert Conquest had an appetite — and a satirical bite — for the world and all it contains ... more »


Oct. 12, 2020 | Stanley Kubrick demonstrated a contradiction: He was a rebel who succeeded, yet his films are about rebels who fail  ... more »


Oct. 10, 2020 | For seven weeks in 1726, it was believed that a woman, Mary Toft, could give birth to rabbits. It was a gift to satirists, but torment for Toft... more »


Oct. 9, 2020 | Many of us still believe in UFOs, Bigfoot, and Sasquatch. Why? An improvisational millenarianism has taken root ... more »


Oct. 8, 2020 | Liberalism’s discontents. Does it, as Catholic intellectuals contend, offer “thin gruel” in lieu of deeper moral commitments?... more »


Oct. 7, 2020 | In a 50-year run at The New Yorker, Whitney Balliett produced more than 500 essays on jazz. They amount to a blueprint for arts criticism... more »


Oct. 6, 2020 | In America, self-storage is a national psychopathology. Behind it lurks the dream of infinite space... more »


Oct. 5, 2020 | Luc Sante on reality TV: “It’s like the stuff I’m interested in, but with all the poetry taken out and all the money put in”  ... more »


Oct. 3, 2020 | To understand seduction, we must consider both Pamela and the modern pickup artist. So claims a new book, dubiously  ... more »


Oct. 2, 2020 | As Homer shows, truth can be revealed in concentric circles radiating out from the plot. As Sebald shows, such narrative rings can also bamboozle   ... more »


Oct. 1, 2020 | Universities have long played host to eccentric ideas. But a tolerance for debate has survived. Is that now in doubt?   ... more »


Sept. 30, 2020 | Surrounded by revolutionary fervor in China, Eileen Chang chronicled smaller revolutions, in romance and lust. She would have been 100 today ... more »


Sept. 29, 2020 | The Iowa Writers’ Workshop exported a literature of individualism and domesticity, not of solidarity and big ideas. Creative writing is still recovering  ... more »


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