May 25, 2020 | The value of science as a credential seems stronger than ever. Is this ubiquity a symptom of its decline?... more »


May 23, 2020 | John Cage stroking bits of wire, Leonard Bernstein conducting Beethoven’s Ninth: The strangely addictive joy of classical YouTube... more »


May 22, 2020 | The rise of individualism is linked to that of infectious diseases. Leo Robson traces the inevitable effect on literature... more »


May 21, 2020 | For Locke and Rousseau, home schooling was ideal. For many parents now, not so much. What’s the basis of a moral education?... more »


May 20, 2020 | The impulse to compare contemporary political events to the past lives on. But such analogies hinder more than they help... more »


May 19, 2020 | Greil Marcus isn’t afraid, as one reader put it, to let “everything remind him of everything else.” It's both a gift and a liability... more »


May 18, 2020 | “Art breathes from containments and suffocates from freedom,” said Leonardo da Vinci. Contemporary art is suffocating... more »


May 16, 2020 | During London’s Great Plague, Samuel Pepys was resigned to his fate yet found much to rejoice in. Pandemics are complicated... more »


May 15, 2020 | Heiner Müller was a poet, playwright, and Stasi informant. The messiness of his life speaks to the complexity of postwar Germany... more »


May 14, 2020 | Critics once assessed the value of books. Now they use reviews as opportunities to showcase their erudition... more »


May 13, 2020 | According to Peter Turchin and others in cliodynamics, historical material can be used to predict the future. Historians are skeptical... more »


May 12, 2020 | Fiction is no good in a crisis, and it dislikes confronting world events head-on. So you'll have to wait for that coronavirus novel... more »


May 11, 2020 | “Thou art a boil / A plague-sore, or embossed carbuncle.” Shakespeare didn’t write much about the bubonic plague, but it did provide good insult material... more »


May 9, 2020 | The word "nostalgia" did not originally mean what it means now. It was coined with a longing for a time when there was no word for what it described... more »


May 8, 2020 | Our reading problem. Yes, we shouldn't idealize the past. But that doesn't mean we have no crisis in the present... more »


May 7, 2020 | The new, quarantined normal means getting closer with your family — too close, in many cases. Agnes Callard explains... more »


May 6, 2020 | “The secret of black intellectuals is that we have other interests.” Darryl Pinckney, Margo Jefferson, and others discuss race and intellectual life... more »


May 5, 2020 | To George Will, conservatism is “more than an attitude and less than an agenda.” It's a way of thinking, not a slate of principles and policies... more »


May 4, 2020 | John Carey has always been a strange critic: an anti-elitist don, avuncular but deadly, amiable yet formidable... more »


May 2, 2020 | Amid the current crisis, memorizing a poem can be a potent talisman — a charm or a balm to help us through this dry, brittle season... more »


May 1, 2020 | In seeking a New Canaan, the Puritans were deeply influenced by the Jewish notion of chosenness. Roger Williams — who rejected this idea — was even exiled... more »


April 30, 2020 | Leaving the academy isn’t easy — especially when you’re drawn partially back in. Spectral conference sightings may result. Lucia Tang explains... more »


April 29, 2020 | Clive James and John Burnside could hardly be more different, except in this: Both are masters of appreciation and models of the poet/critic... more »


April 28, 2020 | Critics fixate on the role of empire in Conrad’s work. For Fredric Jameson, something else — the invention of the steamboat — reveals more... more »


April 27, 2020 | The origins of Shakespearomania. His reputation as an artist of genius was essentially an 18th-century creation... more »


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