Dec. 11, 2018 | Ponderous, posturing, even silly, Hemingway’s fiction becomes more out of fashion every year. So why do we still read it?... more »


Dec. 10, 2018 | Pleasure and expertise. Those who play tennis well or cook well experience a kind of pleasure unavailable to others. Is the same true for those who read well?... more »


Dec. 8, 2018 | “We’re in hot water”; “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”; “a leopard cannot change its spots”: What exactly makes a cliché a cliché?... more »


Dec. 7, 2018 | The story of how a cripplingly shy, often sickly boy became Andy Warhol is also the story of our own antihumanist swerve... more »


Dec. 6, 2018 | “What a complex foamy mixture a couple is,” wrote Elena Ferrante. In our eagerness to uncover her identity, have we erred in assuming she is one person?... more »


Dec. 5, 2018 | Art is a way of contending with life, even in its shadiest corners. But does that cover artists like Egon Schiele, who displayed interest in prepubescent girls?... more »


Dec. 4, 2018 | Should studying literature be fun? Not if you want to be a serious scholar. Thus aesthetic appreciation became the province of nonacademic critics... more »


Dec. 3, 2018 | How did an uncharismatic Oxford medievalist create the most popular adventure story of the 20th century? Tolkien's stories had ideas, not ideology... more »


Dec. 1, 2018 | Want to be an artist? Jerry Saltz has some advice: Know what you hate, scavenge, be delusional, and, of course, accept that you will probably be poor... more »


Nov. 30, 2018 | Besides book blurbs, there are “pre-blurbs” and even “pre-pre-blurbs.” The blurbing industrial complex is out of control and must be destroyed... more »


Nov. 29, 2018 | Selfies, with machinelike monotony, reduce us to predictable characters. Can they become artistic statements, like self-portraits once were?... more »


Nov. 28, 2018 | We build the boxes we live in, write on square pieces of paper, and invented the four-cornered frame. This frame is what separates us from nature itself... more »


Nov. 27, 2018 | In the works of Richard Rorty and Michael Walzer is an argument for how to liberate the left from itself. Their ideas can look feeble or sentimental or unsophisticated. They are, in fact, necessary... more »


Nov. 26, 2018 | Saint Oscar, Wilde the Irishman, Wilde the wit, classicist, socialist, martyr for gay rights: The Oscar Wilde industry gives us the Wilde we need — or at least the Wilde that sells... more »


Nov. 24, 2018 | William H. Gass compiled a final collection near the end of his life, resigned to the fact that his real legacy would be buried by the fickle winds of literary opinion... more »


Nov. 23, 2018 | What's the burden of the black public intellectual? She defends and explains black culture, and argues for black people’s humanity, but does so for a white audience... more »


Nov. 22, 2018 | The greatest book ever written about the theater? The Season by William Goldman, who died recently. What makes it great? Its bluntness... more »


Nov. 21, 2018 | An idiom is like a musical phrase; a cliché is like an earworm. "If idioms help us think outside the box, clichés box us in"... more »


Nov. 20, 2018 | What do we mean when we talk about “quality of life”? Aging is not a problem to be solved. It is a meaning to be lived out... more »


Nov. 19, 2018 | The pun, long considered the lowest form of wit, is widely — and unfairly! — reviled. Puns are at once pedestrian and profound... more »


Nov. 17, 2018 | What is "cultural Marxism"? An old slander posing as a new insight. The myth led to grievous harm in the last century. How about ours?... more »


Nov. 16, 2018 | What makes bullshit bullshit? The answer is psychological and sociological, as well as linguistic and philosophical... more »


Nov. 15, 2018 | How did Sartre come to embrace Marxism? The tale involves his friendship with Camus, and his work at a clandestine newspaper... more »


Nov. 14, 2018 | "It remains startling to me how little many men have to do to earn intellectual authority," says Jill Lepore, "and how much more women have to do"... more »


Nov. 13, 2018 | The American Memoir tells a recurring story of personal responsibility and freedom from history. As Christopher J. Lebron explains, it is a lie... more »


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