March 25, 2016 | What futurists get wrong. The next frontier of intelligence might not be silicon-based. Machines might want to go back to biology... more »


March 24, 2016 | To sum up, to explain, to glimpse the darkness, to leave the world with words: The morbid appeal of the suicide note as literary genre... more »


March 23, 2016 | Is there a point at which scientific development can no longer be described as progress? Thoughts on the human toll of human ingenuity... more »


March 22, 2016 | A familiar pattern: Liberal writer with Muslim background criticizes Islam. Western intellectuals recoil. It's a problem, and it's happening again... more »


March 21, 2016 | Consciousness is a spectrum; the mind flows from one mental state to another. Software could imitate this spectrum. How would humans fare in a world of superhuman robots?... more »


March 19, 2016 | The mattering instinct. Sure, figure out what matters to you, what’s meaningful in life. But resist the tendency to universalize... more »


March 18, 2016 | Does the novel provide communitarian mortar, showing us how to live together? Or — in an age of connectivity — does it teach us how to be separate?... more »


March 17, 2016 | In an academic and intellectual culture that emphasizes safe and comforting patterns of thought, what becomes of free thinking - and what happens to the clash of ideas?... more »


March 16, 2016 | Literary translation is an imperfect art; errors and omissions flourish. Finding the original is like seeing an oil painting after the discolored varnish has been removed... more »


March 15, 2016 | Art and arson. Arshile Gorky, Robert Rauschenberg, Alfred Leslie, John Baldessari: Why do artists' studios so frequently go up in flames?... more »


March 14, 2016 | What happens when a poet who writes about fame becomes famous? Eileen Myles, renegade outsider, is now an insider. Welcome to the hall of mirrors... more »


March 12, 2016 | The Jean Sibelius paradox: Why did the feted and revered composer feel neglected and misunderstood? Blame Mahler, who called him a purveyor of Scandinavian kitsch... more »


March 11, 2016 | Art and politics. Art made submissive to politics is unhealthy for both. The critic's task is to find the edge where art meets the world... more »


March 10, 2016 | Literature is where we go to identify ourselves, where we shake off attitudes and beliefs. The novel, says Arthur Krystal, is the vehicle of our discontent... more »


March 9, 2016 | "Is it possible to write criticism — or even to write critically — while at the same time refusing the critic’s authority?"... more »


March 8, 2016 | Sociology is a suspicious, even paranoid science, an attempt to suss out the reality of reality. What can it teach us about spy fiction?... more »


March 7, 2016 | Science may be impartial, but scientific culture is not. Ask a female scientist about unwanted advances, jokes that aren't funny, grabbing that isn't an accident... more »


March 5, 2016 | What happened to Annie Dillard? She seemed like a Thoreau for our time, a major voice in letters. Then came hypocrisy, spiritual snobbery, and silence... more »


March 4, 2016 | Constance Fenimore Woolson was a popular American writer beset by depression, deafness, and an inability to make a romantic connection. Then, in 1879, she went abroad... more »


March 3, 2016 | Pink teacups, crumbling frescoes, and a brown typewriter. What can one learn from a journey to James Baldwin’s house in Saint-Paul de Vence? A great deal, it turns out... more »


March 2, 2016 | What happened to breaking ranks? Thinkers have grown wary of movements. They prefer to be parties of one. Intellectual life has become atomized... more »


March 1, 2016 | The reality hunger of Henry James. Misunderstood as a literary traditionalist, he wrote autobiographies that anticipated Knausgaard... more »


Feb. 29, 2016 | Why, above other pugilists, does Muhammad Ali remain the focus of so much literary attention? His moral ambiguity makes him an ideal muse... more »


Feb. 27, 2016 | Liberal democracy has triumphed over Soviet-style communism, authoritarian capitalism, and fascism. But another threat looms: Martin Heidegger... more »


Feb. 26, 2016 | Remembering is a creative process. When we offload our memories to digital devices, do we forsake our own experiences and personal fictions?... more »


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