May 15, 2017 | Anger is a popular emotion. It is seen as an engine of progress, a check on injustice. But it also pollutes democratic politics and is of dubious value in both life and the law, says Martha Nussbaum... more »


May 13, 2017 | How cool is cool itself? Not very. It's been the preoccupation of less-than-first-rate writers, shoddy thinkers, and poseurs in general... more »


May 12, 2017 | Since Hegel, philosophers have declared the end of art, meaning that no further progress is possible. In that sense, it’s a good thing: Art is now free to be anything... more »


May 11, 2017 | Why do Japanese audiences adore Woody Allen films? Because Jewish humor has become a marker of elite sophistication... more »


May 10, 2017 | Writers once sought silence, exile, and cunning. Today they seek dialogue, community, and workshopping. What's lost when writers are afraid to stand alone?... more »


May 9, 2017 | Canons are formed through critical consensus. Yet consider this: None of the five most profitable films are canonical. You've probably seen them, but don't feel guilty... more »


May 8, 2017 | Satan's emissary, cunning fox, cold-blooded destroyer: That's the conventional view of Machiavelli. But was his advice in The Prince really meant to be followed?... more »


May 6, 2017 | Edgar Allan Poe is known for his supernatural horror and detective stories. But in his final major work, Eureka, he turned to cosmology — and was uncannily prescient... more »


May 5, 2017 | Art is rooted in emotions. So what happens when algorithms are able to understand and manipulate human emotions better than Mozart, Picasso, or Shakespeare? ... more »


May 4, 2017 | Nostalgia used to be considered a disease; causes, symptoms, and cures were debated by doctors. Now it's a cultural condition, but no less dangerous... more »


May 3, 2017 | "As a writer, my principal observation about why other writers fail is that they are in too much of a hurry," says Malcolm Gladwell. "I don’t think you can write a good book in two years."... more »


May 2, 2017 | That $1,200 margarita? Blame late capitalism. A $400 internet-connected juicer? Also late capitalism. Fancy lettuces? You guessed it. It's the buzzword that explains everything — or nothing... more »


May 1, 2017 | Science succeeds because it's evidence-based, which has built public trust. That's now at risk, for reasons technical and cultural... more »


April 29, 2017 | George Steiner grew up trilingual, soaked in high culture. Few critics or scholars have been as wide-ranging or provocative. He is the last of the great elitists... more »


April 28, 2017 | In 1973, Jerry Saltz was 22, full of himself and making art obsessively. He battled self-doubt and lost. But he learned how to be a critic... more »


April 27, 2017 | The idea that free speech is contrary to social inclusiveness represents a pernicious shift in Western culture. Stifling hate speech does not safeguard the oppressed. It empowers the oppressors... more »


April 26, 2017 | "To believe that change is driven by technology, when technology is driven by humans, renders force and power invisible," says Jill Lepore... more »


April 25, 2017 | In 2010, Google said it would scan all 129,864,880 books in the world, building the greatest library that's ever existed. It failed, sort of  ... more »


April 24, 2017 | Nabokov was self-involved, even callous. His fiction isn't praised for its compassion. But was he so uncaring as to leave a wounded man to die?... more »


April 22, 2017 | Why are we still interested in the story of the Benson family? Sure, it includes eccentrics, Victorian patriarchs, and repressed sexuality. But also: That clan couldn’t stop writing... more »


April 21, 2017 | We suffer from “nature-deficit disorder” and the accompanying pretenses of citified life. Take a cue from Hobbes, Rousseau, Einstein, Dickens, and Hazlitt: Take a hike... more »


April 20, 2017 | Once upon a time, a bar-brawling but talented malcontent could make a career as a professor. Consider the improbable 30-year employment of Harry Crews... more »


April 19, 2017 | Transhumanists tend to see religion as a threat. But the movement's appeal is fundamentally religious, a secular outgrowth of Christian eschatology... more »


April 18, 2017 | A dyspeptic crank? The music critic Virgil Thomson slept through performances, dismissed beloved works, and reviewed his own compositions. Yet he changed classical music for the better... more »


April 17, 2017 | When Empson went East. The literary critic, booted from Cambridge after condoms were discovered in his room, left for Japan and China. It was a professional calamity that proved fortunate ... more »


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