March 9, 2018 | The finest art, felt the Greeks, was a perfect illusion of reality. “Aphrodite of Knidos” blurred the boundary between marble and flesh... more »


March 8, 2018 | We like to think of liberal democracy as deepening its roots with every passing year. But democracy is in decline, and young people especially are disenchanted... more »


March 7, 2018 | The male glance is the opposite of the male gaze. Rather than linger lovingly on women, it looks, assumes, and moves on. It is ruining our ability to see good art... more »


March 6, 2018 | Albert Camus and Maria Casarès traded nearly 1,000 letters. Reading them, we discover a man we thought we knew and a woman most of us never knew... more »


March 5, 2018 | Haters of literature bring four charges: abuse of authority, lack of morality, perversion of truth, and diminished usefulness. Yet they mask a more depressing reality — shared indifference to literature... more »


March 3, 2018 | Since Rousseau, at least, we've told ourselves a story about the shape and direction of human history. Big problem: It isn't true... more »


March 2, 2018 | What attracted a gregarious psychiatrist to a reclusive professor? Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze bonded over a mutual distrust of identity... more »


March 1, 2018 | Who is more to blame for the crisis of liberalism over the past four decades: Homi Bhabha and Judith Butler — or Lawrence Summers?... more »


Feb. 28, 2018 | October 18, 1973: Sotheby's auctioned works by Twombley, Johns, and Rauschenberg. It was called the day the art world collapsed. Well, no, but it was the beginning of the end... more »


Feb. 27, 2018 | The incarnations of Bruno Latour. A devoted Catholic disdainful of universal truths, critic of science turned climate-science promoter, playwright, military collaborator... more »


Feb. 26, 2018 | According to Will Self, novels are a jungle gym for the mind. So choose challenging texts: “No one ever got smart by reading … Dan Brown”... more »


Feb. 24, 2018 | A taxonomy of unfinished novels. Common causes include writer’s block and death. Then there are those works whose unfinishability is an aesthetic virtue... more »


Feb. 23, 2018 | The history of anti-literature: Whether Plato's denouncing literary fantasy or Oscar Wilde's labeling art useless, they are unintentional tributes... more »


Feb. 22, 2018 | A well-intentioned culture of positivity has pervaded contemporary book reviewing. The result? Advertisement-style frippery. Bring back the hatchet job... more »


Feb. 21, 2018 | The awfulness of pop culture. It promises to deliver pleasure — then fails. It suggests aesthetic freedom — but is only a mirage. Or so thought Adorno... more »


Feb. 20, 2018 | Marcuse for the new millennium. The philosopher’s insights into automation are key to understanding our work-obsessed age: Busyness makes us bad thinkers... more »


Feb. 19, 2018 | In Egypt, Flaubert grew ““ignobly plump,” took in striptease shows, and was dazzled by the country's colors. The color eau de Nil stems from such Egyptomania... more »


Feb. 17, 2018 | Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Mailer, Carver, Lish: the literary sections of magazines like Esquire and GQ were, for decades, a cult of maleness. Are they still?... more »


Feb. 16, 2018 | “Every passion, ultimately, has its spectator," wrote Barthes. That is especially true, Leslie Jamison explains, at Croatia’s Museum of Broken Relationships... more »


Feb. 15, 2018 | Lunch at the White House, parties with celebrities, hangouts with plutocrats in Aspen. Will Ta-Nehisi Coates’s proximity to power distort his perspective?... more »


Feb. 14, 2018 | Steven Pinker may be the most optimistic man in America. But his optimism curdles into despair at the way science is treated on many campuses... more »


Feb. 13, 2018 | Louis-Ferdinand Céline became famous suddenly and infamous soon after. Can we distinguish “good” Céline, the novelist, from “bad” Céline, the anti-Semitic pamphleteer?... more »


Feb. 12, 2018 | Publishing is an upper-class industry that attracts upper-class writers. This social and cultural sliver has a profound impact on whose stories get told... more »


Feb. 10, 2018 | Why do art collectors collect? To establish political legitimacy, to claim aristocratic roots, for tax write-offs — the reasons are as varied as the collectors... more »


Feb. 9, 2018 | Zadie Smith has been ordained a public intellectual, adopted the attendant seriousness, and learned a lesson: Middle age is no fun... more »


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