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 »


Aug. 24, 2016 | Russians tend to live within ideas, to believe that books teach you how to live, that they create ideals for you to uphold. Svetlana Alexievich explains... more »


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 »


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