Nov. 21, 2015 | Michael Walzer likes to say that he "lives on the left." So why is America's leading social-democratic thinker barely tolerated among his comrades?... more »


Nov. 20, 2015 | The impulse to become a hermit is ancient and universal. What's the allure? To escape triviality? To live more contemplatively?... more »


Nov. 19, 2015 | Walter Benjamin loved to trade ideas with the world, especially if he could avoid physically interacting with anyone in it. ... more »


Nov. 18, 2015 | Lightning, thunder, floods: Early stories about weather were apocalyptic. Then it faded from literature. Now meteorology has brought it back... more »


Nov. 17, 2015 | William Blake has had many guises, in life and after: radical visionary poet, engraver and illustrator, Marxist protester, London dreamer, psychological mythmaker, pioneer of tantric sex... more »


Nov. 16, 2015 | The human impulse to construct narratives is a gift of imagination. But beware the seductive allure of plot and the delusion of comprehension... more »


Nov. 14, 2015 | Katha Pollitt to campus feminists: Every curious writer or scholar has said something very mistaken. That's no reason to write her out of the movement... more »


Nov. 13, 2015 | Philosophical writing is typically obscure, academic, difficult. All the easier to come off as profound — and to claim that others are misreading you... more »


Nov. 12, 2015 | Goya’s paintings exude unreality. But this — their fictiveness — is itself an aesthetic triumph, a way of telling the truth... more »


Nov. 11, 2015 | Murakami. Franzen. Ferrante. Knausgaard. Enough. Unrelenting waves of adulation suggest that readers are being hoodwinked. Tim Parks explains... more »


Nov. 10, 2015 | Beware "distant reading," the scholarly practice of turning literature into data. Why do we cling to this notion of reading as transformative, even sacramental?... more »


Nov. 9, 2015 | Caviar, duck liver, exhibitions in Moscow, Paris, and Berlin, a woman named Lourdes. Oh, the life of Robert Hughes as art critic for Time... more »


Nov. 7, 2015 | When "wisdom" is a dirty word. For feminist intellectuals, it's the enemy, especially when “received,” “inherited,” “popular,” or “conventional”... more »


Nov. 6, 2015 | Toxic texts. Paternalistic censors have long labeled literature dangerous. But with trigger warnings, young people infantilize themselves... more »


Nov. 5, 2015 | Stoner, a novel about a beloved but tragic professor, barely sold when published in 1965. But it has passed like samizdat among grad students... more »


Nov. 4, 2015 | A Prada handbag, an Armani suit, a Rolex watch: The history of an object matters to the pleasure we get from it. Paul Bloom on the lure of luxury... more »


Nov. 3, 2015 | Heavy-handed, on the nose, show don't tell: When did we become obsessed with subtlety? In art, potency is paramount and bluntness a virtue... more »


Nov. 2, 2015 | For Iris Murdoch, there were no boundaries between love, sex, and friendship. Each new man was an opportunity for discovery, erotic as well as intellectual... more »


Oct. 31, 2015 | For Michael Oakeshott, being cultured meant knowing what you don't have to know. These days we are surpassingly well-informed — thanks, Google — but increasingly less cultured... more »


Oct. 30, 2015 | Dark matter dominates the universe, but it exists beyond our senses. Recognizing that our individual perspectives are limited is essential to the progress of both science and society... more »


Oct. 29, 2015 | In science, paradigms come and go. Our understanding of reality is incremental, a work in progress — which is why fewer people trust science today... more »


Oct. 28, 2015 | The plots are predictable, the character fails to develop. Yet he continues to fascinate us. Sherlock Holmes is like mental comfort food... more »


Oct. 27, 2015 | How innovation happens. Technological change is not a tale of heroic, solo inventors but rather the incremental, inevitable creep of science... more »


Oct. 26, 2015 | Peanuts was a dark comic, full of uncomfortable truths about the selfishness and cruelty of social existence. We all stand to gain from a Snoopy-like view of the world... more »


Oct. 24, 2015 | When George met Tobias. It was 1986. Saunders figured great writers had to be dysfunctional, difficult. And here was Wolff, walking around, being nice... more »


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