July 9, 2018 | Have we fundamentally misunderstood our relationship with the earth? Bruno Latour, suspecting so, goes to meet the 98-year-old behind the “Gaia” hypothesis... more »


July 7, 2018 | The lone male artist has often been taken as a genius; the lone female artist as a muse or “art monster.” But art does not have to be masculine or feminine... more »


July 6, 2018 | Donald Hall’s poetry could be dismissed as patriarchal, capitalist, and nationalist. But it also teaches persistence, practicality, and farsightedness... more »


July 5, 2018 | The good life, according to Aztec philosophy: The goal was not the pursuit of perfection but rather rootedness, moderation, prudence, and courage... more »


July 4, 2018 | The conflict between the sciences and the humanities isn't resolvable as long as we disagree about what it means to be an educated person... more »


July 3, 2018 | In 1838, Frédéric Chopin and George Sand went on vacation in Majorca. Thus began the most notoriously unsuccessful holiday in the history of classical music... more »


July 2, 2018 | A boomlet of “death of liberalism” writing is underway. But look back: It first died in the 1870s and has been dying almost continuously since 1920... more »


June 30, 2018 | Frida Kahlo’s ashtray, her eyebrow pencil, her prosthetic leg — they convey only emptiness, alienation, and loss. They are displayed in museums, but they are not art... more »


June 29, 2018 | Nothing is more American than to proudly declare yourself outside the mainstream. And so we've become a herd of people busily declaring ourselves not part of the herd... more »


June 28, 2018 | Neuroscientists chase incorrect theories; brain-imaging studies suffer from statistical mistakes; economics embraces faulty premises. Does bad science spread?... more »


June 27, 2018 | Writing from Arles, France, van Gogh told his brother, “I’m in Japan here.” As French neoclassicism ran out of gas, his turn was to the East... more »


June 26, 2018 | Fondling in the library, seduction in the bookstore — why do sex and literature go together? Edmund White on reading, writing, and romance... more »


June 25, 2018 | Jean-Michel Basquiat was a young black painter who became the darling of rich, mostly white, collectors. We've had a hard time making the two go together easily. So did he... more »


June 23, 2018 | Looking for a best-selling book for girls? Chances are it has a title like Bygone Badass Broads or Women Who Dared. But well-behaved women, too, make history... more »


June 22, 2018 | Beethoven and #BlackLivesMatter. To be black and a classical musician is considered a contradiction, as if loving a Haydn sonata is somehow to betray black culture... more »


June 21, 2018 | Has Julia Kristeva's reputation been damaged by revelations that she used to work for Bulgarian intelligence? In truth, the damage was done long ago... more »


June 20, 2018 | Finding his riffs on dead babies unappreciated, Wayne Koestenbaum dropped out of a writing workshop. What does his perverse poetry stand for?... more »


June 19, 2018 | Being Leonard Bernstein’s daughter. Hearing of her dad’s sexual exploits was one thing; his showing up at Harvard to party was something else entirely... more »


June 18, 2018 | Attempts to justify the humanities are, too often, self-congratulatory fantasy: I read better books, so I’m a better person. Stanley Fish has read the best books. He's not a better person... more »


June 16, 2018 | The gazillion books and articles, the conferences, symposia, and reading groups — all a waste of time? A scholar breaks up with James Joyce ... more »


June 15, 2018 | Anthony Domestico had been a book critic for seven years when he realized that no editor had ever asked him to review a female author. He thinks of two possible explanations... more »


June 14, 2018 | With Couples, John Updike brought “down-and-dirty sex" into the literary mainstream. Fifty years later, the novel seems less about sex than about loneliness... more »


June 13, 2018 | The metaphysics of water. Lakes, river, the ocean — they spur us to reckon with the immense and the unknown, to confront life’s fluidity.... more »


June 12, 2018 | Paul Gauguin abandoned Paris and his wife and children to paint in Tahiti. Does his artistic brilliance justify the moral cost?... more »


June 11, 2018 | Maybe we really have lost the vocabulary for talking about death, depending instead on euphemism, lies, and ambiguity. But there was never a time when we did death well... more »


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