Oct. 23, 2018 | “He was a boy raised on a river.” Is there anything new to say about Mark Twain? In a slew of new books, scholars try and fail... more »


Oct. 22, 2018 | An orthodoxy has taken hold of intellectual, cultural, and academic life. Its hallmarks: moral preening, lazy attitudinizing, and grim-faced virtue-signaling. The remedy: Marxists against wokeness... more »


Oct. 20, 2018 | "The university has nurtured many partisan causes to which its members can devote themselves, but there seem to be few partisans of the university itself left"... more »


Oct. 19, 2018 | What happens when our writers and thinkers express themselves through Facebook instead of on the page? Imagine Herzog in the era of the status update... more »


Oct. 18, 2018 | Precision "pervades our lives entirely, comprehensively, wholly," says Simon Winchester. But does the abstract concept have a precise history? Yes. It begins in 1776... more »


Oct. 17, 2018 | The pernicious social dynamics of the internet. We overshare about our personal lives and fail to understand those of others. Narcissism spreads; empathy vanishes... more »


Oct. 16, 2018 | What is the point of a bookish life? It's not to become knowledgeable or clever, and certainly not to become learned. It is to become wiser... more »


Oct. 15, 2018 | When his aged father and newborn son died within a few years of each other, William James took an interest in "ghosts and clairvoyances and raps and messages from spirits"... more »


Oct. 13, 2018 | Women do the lion’s share of the book reading, editing, agenting, and buying. Still, we live in a literary culture that ignores women... more »


Oct. 12, 2018 | What was the Frankfurt School? Twentieth-century Europe had exposed civilization’s dark impulses. Did the new reality demand a new style of critique?... more »


Oct. 11, 2018 | Are you charming? (Hint: If you think you are, you’re probably not.) But what is charm? Easier to determine what it isn't... more »


Oct. 10, 2018 | Is the “grievance studies” hoax an effort to spotlight fashionable nonsense in the academy, a salutary correction, or a reactionary hit job?... more »


Oct. 9, 2018 | To be called a plagiarist is arguably the most existential accusation a writer can face. But perhaps borrowing is simply part of art... more »


Oct. 8, 2018 | The painter Sam Rothbort’s pacifist ideals led him to open a no-kill egg farm in the 1920s. His unlikely past: fighting in an armed resistance... more »


Oct. 6, 2018 | Soft murmurs, the shuffling of papers, the groan of book carts. Libraries have a steady, timeless feel, as if there we can live forever... more »


Oct. 5, 2018 | A new culture war. The moralizers are young, and their quest is for representation and social justice. The result? Dull art... more »


Oct. 4, 2018 | The apostle of pastiche, Leonard Bernstein flitted between high and low, sacred and profane, romanticism and kitsch. He was music’s public intellectual... more »


Oct. 3, 2018 | “It was tedious & futile & fatiguing. I found I was not at all frightened; only very bored & very weary.” Evelyn Waugh at war... more »


Oct. 2, 2018 | Alarmed at the progress of his research, the German nuclear physicist Felix Houtermans sent a secret telegram to America: “Hurry up. We are on the track”... more »


Oct. 1, 2018 | Most novels include one or two mediocrities flitting about. Those are B.D. McClay's people. She writes in praise of books that linger on the unattractive and uninteresting... more »


Sept. 29, 2018 | The demise of the Village Voice underscores the end of Greenwich Village bohemia — which invites a question about the beginning... more »


Sept. 28, 2018 | Banned Book Week is upon us. Does this annual orgy of inaccuracy, overstatement, and self-righteousness serve any purpose? Yes... more »


Sept. 27, 2018 | For some students, Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is their introduction to what it means to think historically. It is a work of unalloyed certainty — and danger... more »


Sept. 26, 2018 | Does Ian Buruma's abrupt departure from the New York Review of Books mean that editors will be reluctant to take risks? Laura Kipnis is concerned... more »


Sept. 25, 2018 | Requiem for the Gutenberg mind. The cognitive virtues of reading on paper have developed over centuries. But now the practice is in its last gasp... more »


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