Jan. 17, 2017 | Most novelists don’t make a living at it. "The entire fiction-writing profession resembles a pyramid scheme swathed in a dewy mist of romantic yearning"... more »

Jan. 16, 2017 | What's to blame for the death of the Western artistic tradition and the beginning of something entirely new? The dangerous idea of creative genius... more »

Jan. 14, 2017 | Because the study of logic ended with Aristotle, Kant believed, the field had run its course. But what was logic for in the first place?... more »

Jan. 13, 2017 | What literary categories define the Obama age? Christian Lorentzen unpacks autofiction, the new meritocracy novel, the retro novel, and the trauma novel... more »

Jan. 12, 2017 | We know Frantz Fanon for his advocacy of violence, but behind it was a radical humanism. At a psychiatric hospital he introduced theater and a teahouse... more »

Jan. 11, 2017 | Written with seen-it-all skepticism and pseudo-philosophical detachment, the feuilleton was part journalism, part prose poem. The reaction to the new form? Utter contempt... more »

Jan. 10, 2017 | The arriviste Montaigne’s ascent as mayor of Bordeaux was based on bribes and payoffs. But are the local politics of the father of modern liberalism beside the point?... more »

Jan. 7, 2017 | Success in parenthood is uncertain, and apparent only after a lifetime of battle and worry. Is this why so many fathers of philosophy remained childless?... more »

Jan. 6, 2017 | Science's biggest dilemma isn't funding, replicability, or lack of public respect. It's language. Science has an English problem, and that means a lot of lost knowledge... more »

Jan. 5, 2017 | What would Plato tweet? Social media feels like liberation because it seems to unburden us of our shame. But a man without shame, Plato warned, is a slave to desire ... more »

Jan. 4, 2017 | John Brockman's Edge question for 2017 asks scientists and other thinkers: What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known?... more »

Jan. 3, 2017 | If Kepler, Darwin, and Einstein had not come along, would their theories have been discovered by others? Were they indispensable? An alternative history of great ideas... more »

Jan. 2, 2017 | Delmore Schwartz made his debut in 1937. Ten years later, he was the most widely anthologized poet of his generation. Twenty years later, he died alone in the hallway of a sleazy New York hotel... more »

Dec. 31, 2016 | We think of Beethoven as socially inept: fiercely individualistic, careless about hygiene, occasionally rude and abrupt. Yet he longed for companionship... more »

Dec. 30, 2016 | The Argentine novelist Antonio Di Benedetto was imprisoned and tortured by the military government in 1976. His coping mechanism: therapeutic forgetting... more »

Dec. 29, 2016 | The power of “yuck!” and “ew!”. Disgust, which comes from our evolutionary fear of germs, goes a surprisingly long way toward explaining our manners, morals, and religion... more »

Dec. 28, 2016 | Fielding vs. Richardson, McCarthy vs. Hellman, Nabokov vs. Wilson. Literary feuds, which once raged over serious intellectual disagreements, have been ruined by tweets and TV... more »

Dec. 27, 2016 | John Stuart Mill believed that nobody can be a good economist who is just an economist. Yet most study nothing but economics. "Economists are the idiot savants of our time"... more »

Dec. 26, 2016 | At college, things should get more complicated, not less. But students today are told not to think through complex issues themselves — that's been done for them... more »

Dec. 24, 2016 | The pursuit of productivity seems to exacerbate the anxieties it's meant to allay. What if the idea of efficiency is what makes us feel inefficient?... more »

Dec. 23, 2016 | Modern sounds in classical music. Innovation used to take place within the confines of the traditional musical grammar. Now there's a radical break in symphonic sound... more »

Dec. 22, 2016 | Patrick Modiano: novelist, Nobel laureate, compulsive fabricator. Consider the sinister prank calls, swindling of booksellers, and lies about his age. Are these aesthetic deceptions?... more »

Dec. 21, 2016 | The world’s great minds have argued about the essence of time and the feeling of inhabiting it. To consider time, Augustine argued, is to glimpse the soul... more »

Dec. 20, 2016 | “Modern poetry is supposed to be difficult," said T.S. Eliot. It’s an influential view, with disastrous consequences. Christian Wiman is an antidote... more »

Dec. 19, 2016 | You are not necessarily a more intelligent reader at 65 than 25, but you are more subtle. Rereading -- a pleasure and necessity of age -- sometimes means changing your mind... more »

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