Sept. 22, 2016 | Epidemics of political insanity are unique: Islamists are distinct from Maoists. But they're united by an iconography and an attraction to dogmatism and violence... more »


Sept. 21, 2016 | Making sense of Mahler. His symphonies burst with seemingly incoherent themes and moods. The immensity of his productions are a problem -- and a gift ... more »


Sept. 20, 2016 | Smartphones haven't made us happier, but they've made us less aware of our unhappiness, says Andrew Sullivan. "There is no dark night of the soul anymore that isn’t lit with the flicker of the screen" ... more »


Sept. 19, 2016 | Are you a jerk? If the question causes genuine worry, you're probably not. But note: Often it's the most educated who are the least self-aware... more »


Sept. 17, 2016 | We're used to irony and polemic from our public intellectuals, but a higher standard is to be found. Exhibit A is Jürgen Habermas... more »


Sept. 16, 2016 | The virtue of analogies, said Wittgenstein, consists in "changing our way of seeing." But most offer just temporary distraction, not illumination ... more »


Sept. 15, 2016 | Philip Larkin's photographs. He picked up a camera as a child, and the images — striking, sensitive, emotion-filled — send us back to the poems with new eyes... more »


Sept. 14, 2016 | Secular national movements of the 20th century assumed that "decline was the destiny of all religions,” as Michael Walzer puts it. They were wrong. So is Walzer... more »


Sept. 13, 2016 | Against art history. It’s obsessed with obscure formalist twists, micromovements, and jargon-laden intellectualism. Real art is bigger than all that... more »


Sept. 12, 2016 | “Your mind is a country I find very agreeable.” wrote Iris Murdoch to Raymond Queneau. But is it really possible to enter the well-guarded secrecy of another life?... more »


Sept. 10, 2016 | The Frankfurt School, today. Adorno and Horkheimer didn’t live to see social media, but they would recognize its corruption of human personality... more »


Sept. 9, 2016 | American novels were once concerned with serious social problems and collective injustice. Now they focus on the individual, the lone genius, Twitter... more »


Sept. 8, 2016 | William Empson had nothing more than a serious amateur's interest in Eastern art, but this was a man undeterred by lack of expertise. Thus The Face of the Buddha... more »


Sept. 7, 2016 | The metamorphosis of Adrienne Rich. Patronizingly praised by Auden for poems that “speak quietly,” she developed a voice of towering rage... more »


Sept. 6, 2016 | Imagine a government chosen by those with knowledge of politics, economics, and policy. No more rule by the dismayingly ignorant. The appeal is clear — and fatal... more »


Sept. 5, 2016 | Emily Bronte's coffin. The sister most transfixing and impossible to know has long been the victim of yarn-spinning. Was her coffin really only 16 inches wide?... more »


Sept. 3, 2016 | Philip K. Dick made skepticism an art form. His inability to separate reality from fiction, and his certainty that everyone was out to get him, was the wellspring of his work... more »


Sept. 2, 2016 | Sex and socialism. Women formed the bedrock of the Engels-Marx alliance. For Eleanor Marx, Muriel Lester, and others, the revolution was personal... more »


Sept. 1, 2016 | The boy who bullied Byron. John Charles Wallop loved blood, hangings, and funerals. He was considered insane. But what’s insanity to an English aristocrat?... more »


Aug. 31, 2016 | In the dim light of his prison cell, Oscar Wilde was no longer trying to amuse readers or mock his betters. His writing became stranger and more beautiful... more »


Aug. 30, 2016 | What stands between you and the act of writing? The insidious Imps of Inertia: Disenchanted Imp, Jaded Imp, Loneliness Imp, and Sloth Imp. Mark Edmundson explains... more »


Aug. 29, 2016 | Klaus Mann, dead at 42, wrote seven novels, six plays, four biographies, three autobiographies, hundreds of stories, essays, and reviews. None of it impressed his father, Thomas... more »


Aug. 27, 2016 | A dominant scientific dogma has arrived: dataism. The result? Humanism faces an existential challenge, and the idea of free will is under threat... more »


Aug. 26, 2016 | Unthinkable events, like the horrors of WWII, cannot be expressed in art. Does that mean such attempts are necessarily failures?... more »


Aug. 25, 2016 | The Greek Attalids purchased an entire island just to steal its art.  J. Paul Getty spent lavishly on art he would never see. What motivates collectors?... more »


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