Aug. 10, 2020 | In his work, William Faulkner could not escape the Civil War’s aftermath or its meaning. Neither can we... more »


Aug. 8, 2020 | In the 18th century, botany was a louche science. The foppish, braggadocio-Prone Joseph Banks helped it earn that reputation... more »


Aug. 7, 2020 | There are many terrible books, but only one “worst novelist in the English language.” Meet Robert Burrows, the man who bore that moniker... more »


Aug. 6, 2020 | Mid-20th-century Brooklyn was full of striving, struggling immigrants. One thing set the Neugeboren family apart: The Complete Works of Charles Dickens... more »


Aug. 5, 2020 | Transfixed by his own melancholy, the literary “longing man” is a self-serious sap interested in intellectual romance. Just avoid him... more »


Aug. 4, 2020 | Gilles Deleuze’s letters reveal his ability to be clear and uncomplicated. So why is most of his writing so impenetrable?... more »


Aug. 3, 2020 | Daphne Merkin had been at work since the 1980s on a novel about erotic obsession and sexual submission. Then came the #MeToo movement... more »


Aug. 1, 2020 | Gone are the days of Elizabeth Anscombe and Philippa Foot. Philosophers once wrote to be understood; now they write to earn academic credentials... more »


July 31, 2020 | Orwell in Havana. How did 1984 come to be released in translation by a Cuban publishing house?... more »


July 30, 2020 | John Giorno was sleeping with Andy Warhol, starring in his films, accompanying him to parties. Then Warhol moved on... more »


July 29, 2020 | Via Joyce, Rushdie, and Franzen, the modern novel is obsessed with competition. Yet the semantics of power are difficult to trace... more »


July 28, 2020 | What exactly distinguishes charismatic democratic rulers from charismatic authoritarians? As a new book reveals, the line is vanishingly thin... more »


July 27, 2020 | We are witnessing a shift in how we think about free speech. Stanley Fish is an intellectual godfather of this moment... more »


July 25, 2020 | E.M. Forster’s funeral was an odd affair. Religion was banned, Beethoven piped in, the procession of cars was halted when a Rolls-Royce got stuck... more »


July 24, 2020 | Intellectual life is beset by a climate of censoriousness and self-censorship; Twitter gets the final say. Thomas Chatterton Williams explains the Harper’s letter... more »


July 23, 2020 | “The Flatterer,” “The Chatterer,” “The Coward.” Theophrastus’ character types, more than 2,000 years old, are readily recognizable today... more »


July 22, 2020 | Will Self has seen the future, and it's not pretty: increasing virtualization zooming us toward mass neuroticism in a ghastly synergy of fetishism and frigidity... more »


July 21, 2020 | Michael Walzer has leftist friends who regard consumerism as a capitalist vice and shopping as an activity to be avoided. But he is a shopping man... more »


July 20, 2020 | What’s the difference among a gadget, a thingamabob, a doohickey, and a gimmick? The last one promises more and perhaps delivers less... more »


July 18, 2020 | The unpopularity of new smells. In 1657 a London barber was prosecuted for making “a liquor called ‘coffee’’ whose scent caused a “great nuisance” in the area... more »


July 17, 2020 | Before “prestige” TV, the medium was considered the “idiot box.” With new shows like Floor Is Lava, the pendulum is swinging back again... more »


July 16, 2020 | The plight of the plague specialist. As a pestilence once again rains down on humanity, what good is literary expertise in disease and disaster?... more »


July 15, 2020 | What is this cancel culture? Is it even a real thing? It's complicated, says Ross Douthat, who offers a guide to the perplexed... more »


July 14, 2020 | Irving Fisher and the quantification of everything. The economist died in 1947, but he anticipated the temper of our own times... more »


July 13, 2020 | How did Eric Hobsbawm, a Marxist historian, achieve such success as socialism was in decline? He was a master of argument-driven synthesis... more »


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