June 27, 2017 | The search for ecstasy. In 1960 an estimated 20 percent of Americans said they'd had a mystical experience. Now it's 50 percent... more »


June 26, 2017 | If economists aren't questioning the effectiveness of economic theory, they should be. Simply put: Their claim to scientific expertise is no longer tenable... more »


June 24, 2017 | Fraud, lies, and the importance of the group. Via attachment theory, Arendt, and Milgram, a former cult member considers the psychology of brainwashing... more »


June 23, 2017 | Orchestras of the Third Reich. Austro-German musicians’ admiration for Hitler strains any belief that high art is ennobling to the spirit... more »


June 22, 2017 | Whose bohemia? Ida Nettleship married the painter Augustus John, had five children, competed with his 21-year-old muse, and went unmentioned in his memoir... more »


June 21, 2017 | A.E. Housman was a classicist-poet and voice of England. He was gaunt, gray, fond of isolation. For fun he wrote caustic takedowns of other scholars... more »


June 20, 2017 | Literature enriches the public sphere but speaks most powerfully in private. Andrew O’Hagan asks: What future does literature have in an age drenched in social media?... more »


June 18, 2017 | Neuroscientists working on the “hard problem” of consciousness may be doomed to fail. But there is meaning — even pleasure — in the Sisyphean task... more »


June 17, 2017 | In 1965 a young New Yorker writer’s story ideas were rejected, one after another by the editor. Finally he said, “Oranges.” “That’s very good,” replied William Shawn... more »


June 16, 2017 | Virginia Woolf's diary includes her thoughts on other people’s diaries. She read lots of them, seeing them as a valuable literary genre... more »


June 15, 2017 | Eric Hobsbawm became, perhaps, the world’s most-read historian. Still, he was puzzled over: How did a scholar so perceptive fail the test of anticommunism?... more »


June 14, 2017 | Futurists dismiss religion but anoint “evangelists” of technology and “oracles” of artificial intelligence. Are futurists really as atheistic as they think?... more »


June 13, 2017 | Austro-Hungarian modernists like Wittgenstein, Karl Kraus, and Joseph Roth were anti-utopian and anti-ideological. What were they for? Irony... more »


June 12, 2017 | Philosophical writing is pedantically precise. It's not much fun and doesn't much influence people. The problems are hard to settle. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it... more »


June 10, 2017 | Quick: Think of a novel devoted to climate change. Tough, right? What explains this failure of imagination involving the fate of the world?... more »


June 9, 2017 | In the end, it's been said, authors write for professors. But the scholarly fate of Thoreau is uncertain; the 7,000 pages of his journal still await full study. It is the great untold secret of American letters... more »


June 8, 2017 | Published 50 years ago, One Hundred Years of Solitude has become a trendy text. Frederic Jameson considers its cultural, political, and aesthetic ascendance... more »


June 7, 2017 | Where tarot cards come from. Not ancient Egypt, but a place almost as mysterious: Paris, in 1781, with its occult-obsessed secret societies and private clubs... more »


June 6, 2017 | The personalized internet curates our social-media feeds and individualizes our search results. It's a marvel. It's also caused an explosion of intellectual arrogance... more »


June 5, 2017 | Churchill and Orwell, different in so many ways, shared a determination to confront unpleasant realities. They also had a tragic understanding that their views were unlikely to prevail... more »


June 3, 2017 | W.G. Sebald is famous for his Holocaust writing, depiction of vacant landscapes, and sense of drifting melancholy. But comedy was key to his brilliance... more »


June 2, 2017 | "One can be taught—and one needs to be taught—how to look," says Philippe de Montebello. "This is why I am so impatient with those who want to position their museum as a form of entertainment"... more »


June 1, 2017 | Why we need Thoreau. His critics note that his moral vision was linked to self-righteousness. But who hasn’t felt self-righteous? His frustrations are ours as well... more »


May 31, 2017 | After the “Midcentury Misogynists,” male American writers tended to avoid writing about sex, lest they be seen, like Updike, as “a penis with a thesaurus”... more »


May 30, 2017 | Of all the biographers who have written about Hemingway, not one was a woman. Now comes Mary Dearborn, immune to the writer's hairy-chested legend... more »


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