Feb. 6, 2017 | H.L. Mencken, America's foremost "village atheist," was unmoved by Christianity, but he could not help being intrigued by it... more »

Feb. 4, 2017 | The aquatic Kafka. His journal entry for August 2, 1914 reads: “Germany has declared war on Russia — went swimming in the afternoon.” Was this merely self-absorption?... more »

Feb. 3, 2017 | From pulp writer to religious messiah. L. Ron Hubbard despised science fiction but wrote four million words of it in his lifetime. Why? Because it sold... more »

Feb. 2, 2017 | Henry Green was a writer for radio's golden age, a master of sound, dialogue, slang. When he started to go deaf, he made a joke of it — at first... more »

Feb. 1, 2017 | “The joys of motoring are more or less fictional,” wrote Zelda Fitzgerald. So why, despite Kerouac and Nabokov, do we expect road trips to inspire great writing?... more »

Jan. 31, 2017 | What Victorians looked like. Darwin had a beard and eczema, Tennyson a strange set of false teeth, George Eliot a right hand much larger than her left... more »

Jan. 30, 2017 | In defense of jargon. Words like "performativity," "problematize," and "normative" are alienating, but now is not the time to mock. It's time to double down on them... more »

Jan. 28, 2017 | "Narcissism is the new herpes," says Laura Kipnis. You didn't get it on purpose, but you got it. "Now everyone's pointing fingers and trying to pretend they don't have it, too"... more »

Jan. 27, 2017 | Francis Bacon imagined New Atlantis; Gulliver traveled to the Land of the Houyhnhnms. Why are literary utopias so far away? Because the distance defines them... more »

Jan. 26, 2017 | Thomas Friedman — oracular New York Times columnist, bard of the C-suite, irrepressible fount of thought leadership — has a new mantra: “Naïveté is the new realism”... more »

Jan. 25, 2017 | Renaissance artists looked to classical Greek and Roman works; we fetishize the aesthetics of the 1980s and '90s. The nostalgia gap seems to be shrinking.... more »

Jan. 24, 2017 | What is humanity’s greatest idea? It may be atomic theory — that all things are made of atoms. A tragedy, then, that the works of its originator, Democritus, were lost... more »

Jan. 21, 2017 | In praise of profanity. It arises from a meeting place of anger and gaiety. Are swear words, as a new book has it, just “good dirty fun”?... more »

Jan. 20, 2017 | The declining authority of statistics – and the experts who analyze them – is at the heart of the crisis of liberal democracy. Welcome to the post-statistical society... more »

Jan. 19, 2017 | Truth takes shape in debate. It demands doubt, patience, self-critical inquiry — not qualities of the current moment, when truth functions as a commodity... more »

Jan. 18, 2017 | From Emerson and Carlyle to Lamarck and Darwin, thinkers have debated agency. But where does debating the free will of squirrels, rocks, and robots get us?... more »

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 »

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