Aug. 23, 2016 | Great political figures tend to be inspired not by wealth or comfort but by honor and recognition. Few tempted by ambition are about to resist it... more »


Aug. 22, 2016 | No one is born a writer. The vocation, emerging from a delusional desire, is honed by the discipline of "locking yourself away in a crucible of secret frustration"... more »


Aug. 20, 2016 | S.Y. Agnon, the only Nobel laureate among Hebrew-language writers, may well be the only modern writer to name himself after one of his stories... more »


Aug. 19, 2016 | We live in a time of rampant narcissism. We are told this is exceptional. It matters less whether that's true than whether we believe it's true... more »


Aug. 18, 2016 | How the events of one week — political crisis, terrorist attack, failed coup, bloviating candidate — explain liberal democracy's struggle for survival... more »


Aug. 17, 2016 | When Vasily Grossman went to war, he carried one book, War and Peace. And what he discovered in battle is that the old distinction between war and peace no longer holds... more »


Aug. 16, 2016 | Walter Benjamin believed that great art contains an inexplicable "aura," an element of mystery. Now forensic science is ruining the romance of art history ... more »


Aug. 15, 2016 | Aristotle called plot "the first principle." Though many revolutions have tried to replace it with intellectual or aesthetic dazzle, plot always returns... more »


Aug. 13, 2016 | What's changed isn't that politicians and media lie, but that we seem to have stopped caring whether they tell the truth or not. It's as if we've bid farewell to reality... more »


Aug. 12, 2016 | As the purpose of college is reduced to questions of profit and loss, it's time for humanists to embrace a new credo: If we must perish, let us perish resisting... more »


Aug. 11, 2016 | Christopher Logue, a "Catholic atheist," found war to be the only god he could believe in. In the Iliad he found a stoic resignation to bloodshed. He made translating it his life's work... more »


Aug. 10, 2016 | Self-improvement through shocks. Electricity is central to our understanding of religion, philosophy, and love. Ever since the Victorians, we've made ourselves electrical ... more »


Aug. 9, 2016 | Very few of the Nuremberg defendants were mentally diseased. Psychiatry can offer diagnoses, but it reveals little about the problem of human evil ... more »


Aug. 8, 2016 | Yes, Rudyard Kipling was a racist, misogynist, and imperialist. He was also a wonderful writer. To simply dismiss him for his prejudices reveals little but cultural ignorance... more »


Aug. 6, 2016 | To the extent that intellectuals are out of touch with the societies they inhabit, it is because they lose sight of a central fact: They belong to a tiny and bizarre minority... more »


Aug. 5, 2016 | Hieronymus Bosch. We know the painter witnessed a wildfire, married up, and joined an elite religious brotherhood. But where did his real world end and fantasy begin?... more »


Aug. 4, 2016 | What matters is not what you think or do but how you feel. So goes the reigning view of neuroscientists, mindfulness mongers, and other technologists of joy... more »


Aug. 3, 2016 | By the age of 50, Basil Bunting had been a balloon operator, military interpreter, and spy. He'd survived assassination attempts and jail. Then he became a poet... more »


Aug. 2, 2016 | A philosophy of education. Influenced by Hegel and Darwin, John Dewey launched a revolution that overthrew the methods of the day. Hannah Arendt was not pleased... more »


Aug. 1, 2016 | We have a nuanced canon of war literature. Motherhood, however, is missing from our literary and philosophical tradition. That's beginning to change ... more »


July 30, 2016 | To writers, their work amounts to evidence that they've fallen short of their potential. The oeuvre is never satisfied, always taunting, a work in progress until the end ... more »


July 29, 2016 | How to think about anger. Its arguments are weak and pathetic, says Martha Nussbaum, while the voice of generosity is strong as well as beautiful ... more »


July 28, 2016 | Widowed, Patrick Brontë sought a new wife with remarkable crassness and egotism. What, if anything, did his literary daughters learn from him?... more »


July 27, 2016 | Rousseau was a hypocrite for our times. He preached family values but exposed himself to women and was given to compulsive masturbation, though he warned against it in his writings... more »


July 26, 2016 | Libertarians like genre fiction but tend to ignore romance novels. Want to understand the importance of work and free markets? Crack open a bodice-ripper... more »


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