Dec. 27, 2019 | The problem with letters of recommendation: A teacher’s vision for her students is blinkered by her own limitations. Agnes Callard explains... more »


Dec. 26, 2019 | Dictatorships conform to type. “We can control him,” for instance, is the perennial belief of the soon-to-be-killed collaborator... more »


Dec. 25, 2019 | Before “narrative nonfiction” or even Pulitzer Prizes, McClure’s magazine invented long-form journalism almost from scratch.... more »


Dec. 24, 2019 | From Hermes’ conical helmet onward, a rich historical lineage helps explain that mystical fashion, the magic hat... more »


Dec. 23, 2019 | Reading poetry aloud can be curious and complicated, says Philip Pullman, recalling the first time he read Paradise Lost — with his eyes, but also with his voice... more »


Dec. 21, 2019 | What if the death of God and the death of the humanities are the same death? Simon During explains... more »


Dec. 20, 2019 | The historical Buddha was born a prince and lived in luxury. Or in austerity, eating once a day and sleeping in the open... more »


Dec. 19, 2019 | The body, a guide: Adults touch their faces 16 times an hour. Humans can make up to 10,000 facial expressions. Tears come in three varieties... more »


Dec. 18, 2019 | Toni Morrison never asked for a proverbial seat at the literary table. She just pulled the entire table over to her side of the room... more »


Dec. 17, 2019 | Peter Schjeldahl, facing death, on how to live: “Don’t waste the chance to have truths, great and small, burst upon you”... more »


Dec. 16, 2019 | The OSS was the precursor to the CIA. Was it also a crucial birthplace of contemporary design? Nikil Saval makes the case: "It was the Bauhaus, but for war"... more »


Dec. 14, 2019 | Meritocracy is ruining everything, writes a Yale law professor. But take a step back: Does that merely reflect the elitism of academia?... more »


Dec. 13, 2019 | Jean Genet put the idea of evil at the heart of his thinking. He inhabited the dualistic universe of monotheism even as he inverted its core values.... more »


Dec. 12, 2019 | “Screw that arty-farty literary twaddle.” A month before Stoner, John Williams’s crass brother-in-law published a book. At first it outsold Stoner two to one... more »


Dec. 11, 2019 | Walter Benjamin wrote his last work on the backs of colorful envelopes — green, yellow, orange, blue, cream. They were written for a future he would never know... more »


Dec. 10, 2019 | What differentiates people from pigs? Perhaps just the existence of autobiographical memories, from which we construct a self... more »


Dec. 9, 2019 | Lucian Freud sought to "move the senses by giving an intensification of reality.” He wanted to “shock and amaze.” At that he succeeded spectacularly... more »


Dec. 7, 2019 | Just as the invisible man’s retreat is a hibernation preparatory to action, Ralph Ellison’s letters are a map of his planned advance... more »


Dec. 6, 2019 | A new science of humanity. In the first half of the 20th century, anthropologists were at the forefront of “the greatest moral battle of our time”... more »


Dec. 5, 2019 | Every era has its fashionable argot. Ours is rife with buzzwords that have gone mainstream: "privilege," "problematic," "cisgender"... more »


Dec. 4, 2019 | A more scientifically literate public, it’s presumed, could better distinguish truth. But our problem is not too little science in public culture, but too much... more »


Dec. 3, 2019 | The flummery of neuroscience: Defeated by the “hard problem” of consciousness, the field postulates one improbable theory after another... more »


Dec. 2, 2019 | Amid the grief, grievances, and betrayal in the marriage of Elizabeth Hardwick and Robert Lowell, what remained was a need to write to each other... more »


Nov. 30, 2019 | What do the digital, medical, and legal humanities have in common? They subjugate the humanities to applied fields... more »


Nov. 29, 2019 | Wherever one looks in history, rationality is haunted and teased by its other, irrationality. Now the boundary is being abandoned altogether... more »


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