Sept. 8, 2017 | Philip Levine was the poet of the left wing of the left wing of the past, the bard of workaday exhaustion and routine. Paul Berman has come to praise him... more »


Sept. 7, 2017 | "The term 'resilience' was coined in the 1970s," says Edgar Jones. Before that, "everyone was assumed to be tough, so there wasn’t really a word for it"... more »


Sept. 6, 2017 | Meet Henry George — economist, pamphleteer, journalist. Once famous, now dead and forgotten, he's the guru whom Silicon Valley doesn't know it needs... more »


Sept. 5, 2017 | "All that is solid melts into air," wrote Marx in the 19th century. He was premature. Postmodernity, which aspires to melt solids, arrived a century later. A pre-history of post-truth... more »


Sept. 4, 2017 | Vivian Maier was a street photographer with hoarding tendencies who produced startling and memorable images. Most else about her life is a cloud of unknowns... more »


Sept. 2, 2017 | Few have played as central a role in the long, slow destruction of literary study as Stephen Greenblatt. And few have profited from it as much, professionally and financially... more »


Sept. 1, 2017 | When Norman Mailer heard that Elizabeth Hardwick was reviewing him in Partisan Review, he pre-emptively bought an ad defending himself. She got the last word, of course... more »


Aug. 31, 2017 | Nobody played Schubert like Sviatoslav Richter. His secret: tempo. Slow, even glacial, or making no sense at all, but all mesmerizing... more »


Aug. 30, 2017 | How did religious freedom come to the West? Spinoza and Locke are often invoked, but in reality, persecution simply became too expensive... more »


Aug. 29, 2017 | The author of a novel is not always well placed to interpret it. Ask Orhan Pamuk, who has spent a decade reflecting on the pitfalls of teaching his own books... more »


Aug. 28, 2017 | Emotions are seen as something to be tamed by cool reason. This seductive view of intelligence reflects a bogus view of the brain... more »


Aug. 26, 2017 | The e-book of The Godfather amounts to a million bytes. A picture of Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone: 35,000 bytes. We know this thanks to Claude Shannon... more »


Aug. 25, 2017 | If the pleasures of reading are not too far removed from the pleasures of life, becoming a good reader is akin to learning to live well... more »


Aug. 24, 2017 | An accent in “élite,” a diaeresis in “reëmerge.” The New Yorker style, arbitrary and peculiar, somehow overshadows the substance of the writing ... more »


Aug. 23, 2017 | Sex is nice but fleeting. The joys of syntax, on the other hand, are everlasting. For a good time, diagram a sentence or dive into Coleridge’s poetics... more »


Aug. 22, 2017 | Delmore Schwartz worried that he would be remembered as nasty, gauche, awkward — an overeager clown. The weight of his concerns, and his loneliness, hangs over his biographer... more »


Aug. 21, 2017 | The politics of identity is nothing new, especially on the right. Now the obsession with identity is strangling liberalism, and campus politics bears much of the blame... more »


Aug. 19, 2017 | Thoreau was a critic of triviality, gossip, and distraction. He preferred communing with dead authors to chatting with his neighbors. What would he have made of Twitter?... more »


Aug. 18, 2017 | Mr. Electrico, a magician, shouted “Live forever!” and electrified 12-year-old Ray Bradbury. The sci-fi writer is gone, but his work will last... more »


Aug. 17, 2017 | Intellectuals are unreliable students of populism, finding it too prone to ignorance and demagogy. Beware anyone who claims to speak for "the people," but listen... more »


Aug. 16, 2017 | A dream of Utopia, an Eden of innocence, and then the Fall: The Summer of Love was about the pursuit of pleasure. But there was a puritan streak, too... more »


Aug. 15, 2017 | Communists are unlikely entrepreneurs. But beginning in the 1930s, they set up bookstores across America. Turns out that even anticapitalists can't ignore the bottom line... more »


Aug. 14, 2017 | Art enriches life and helps engage us with mortality. And so Robert McCrum, after a stroke and a fall, began to catalog his inventory of dissolution... more »


Aug. 12, 2017 | Liberal democracy was meant to depoliticize society, to turn issues of public morality into private concerns. By that measure, it's been a failure ... more »


Aug. 11, 2017 | Freud the philosopher. Before psychoanalysis, he was primarily concerned with destroying what was then an intellectual orthodoxy: mind-body dualism... more »


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