May 27, 2019 | “The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him," said Arthur Miller, who understood shame... more »

May 25, 2019 | She had Sartre for conversation; he, only drunks and gamblers. Inside the short-lived long-distance relationship of Nelson Algren and Simone de Beauvoir... more »

May 24, 2019 | Leslie Epstein has spent 40 years in the same wooden chair in the same lopsided room teaching fiction. The job is changing... more »

May 23, 2019 | Slaughterhouse Five at 50. Despite Vonnegut’s conviction that the book was a failure, it has endured surprisingly well... more »

May 22, 2019 | "How much you can learn from someone by looking very carefully at them without judgement.” Lucian Freud’s brute nudity... more »

May 21, 2019 | The web is awash in tips from successful women writers — here’s what they’re reading, their Sunday routine. Does it help us understand them?... more »

May 20, 2019 | “A monster of arrogance and inconsideration.” Susan Sontag cut through received wisdom — an approach sorely missing today... more »

May 18, 2019 | New books reinterpret Homeric poems toward feminist ends. But in advancing a 21st-century politics, do they rob readers of ethical ambiguities?... more »

May 17, 2019 | One notable thing about Stefan Zweig’s writing is how varied the reactions to it have been — in his own time and our own... more »

May 16, 2019 | Make philosophy great again. The field has been reduced to bland Continental and analytic variants — a trend that must be reversed... more »

May 15, 2019 | Humor is often lost in translation, especially if it's being translated from German. Yes, the jokes are ponderous. But they're funny, too... more »

May 14, 2019 | The myth of advice. Successful people want to be helpful. But their advice sounds empty and canned — because it is... more »

May 13, 2019 | Today’s intellectual mode: “Learn an attitude and inquire no further.” Marilynne Robinson on why certain ideas, like economic “associationism,” have vanished... more »

May 11, 2019 | The cultural contradictions of Daniel Bell. He never could quite reconcile the Jewish conservative and the Yiddish radical within him... more »

May 10, 2019 | E.H. Carr and the fate of facts. “By and large, the historian will get the kind of facts he wants. History means interpretation”... more »

May 9, 2019 | Wit, mockery, joking, buffoonery: The oldest monastic rule we know of forbade joking. Laughter has long had a dangerously democratic quality... more »

May 8, 2019 | Adam Gopnik and the limits of liberalism. Is a defense of moderation and incrementalism really evidence of a refusal to look at reality?... more »

May 7, 2019 | Podcasts are the internet for our ears; they allow us to drift into a soothing, saturated state, distracting us from loneliness. Maybe loneliness is better... more »

May 6, 2019 | More than 7,000 pages of his letters, 8,000 pages of prose, 12,000 pages of Criterion, the magazine he edited. How much T.S. Eliot is too much T.S. Eliot?... more »

May 4, 2019 | Making ends meet as a book reviewer: $250 here and there, $1,000 from The New Republic. Jacob Silverman on the “foolish pursuit of an intellectually engaged life”... more »

May 3, 2019 | The history of cheerfulness. It evolved from a Greek virtue aligned with patience and justice into a self-helpy brand of American nonsense that borders on psychosis... more »

May 2, 2019 | The rise of the literary critic as pre-eminent cultural arbiter was a fluky aberration of the 20th century. The role was always going to be temporary... more »

May 1, 2019 | When ancient battles seem modern. The Epicureans were outraged when their school was bought as a retirement home for an amateur pornographer... more »

April 30, 2019 | John Berger occasionally went awry in evaluating individual artists (like Picasso), but his bullshit detection and skepticism of fashionable ideologies were nonpareil... more »

April 29, 2019 | "The habit of seeing universities as the main or even sole custodians of humanistic culture isn’t just inaccurate; it is bad for universities themselves"... more »

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