Aug. 25, 2018 | For a rare group — Witold Gombrowicz, Anaïs Nin, perhaps Franz Kafka, especially John Cheever private diaries comprise their finest writing... more »


Aug. 24, 2018 | “A writer,” said V.S. Naipaul, “is in the end not his books, but his myth.” Now that he has died, what is the myth of Naipaul?... more »


Aug. 23, 2018 | The best spy and detective fiction, we're told, transcends its genre. That’s a backhanded compliment, of course, but what does it even mean?... more »


Aug. 22, 2018 | Derided as boring, indecisive, and weak, gray is overlooked and undersung. In fact, it’s full of possibility, the color that makes all the others speak... more »


Aug. 21, 2018 | Scholars may not agree on how to measure social class, or even if it exists. But that’s no reason to stop talking about it. Kwame Anthony Appiah explains... more »


Aug. 20, 2018 | Hemingway described Little Women as full of “sweetness and light.” Other critics characterize the book as treacly. True enough, in some ways. But it's also an angry book... more »


Aug. 18, 2018 | Given our collective mania for attention, and the boundless opportunities we now have to seek it, we might ask: What did people believe they lost when they lost their privacy?... more »


Aug. 17, 2018 | For all his renown, Hume remains a philosopher’s philosopher. Why? He's not a tragic or romantic figure, and did not offer an easily distilled message... more »


Aug. 16, 2018 | "A curious situation has arisen." That's how Leonard Bernstein began an unusual pre-concert address to an audience. He went on to disavow the performance he was about to conduct... more »


Aug. 15, 2018 | Kant believed that beautiful art “must always show a certain dignity in itself.” Alfred Brendel disagrees. He believes in musical jokes ... more »


Aug. 14, 2018 | “Relevant” is one of the great nonsense words in art, says Jay Nordlinger. The best art doesn't speak to our time. It speaks for all time... more »


Aug. 13, 2018 | Among the Leonardo loonies. How a strange subculture of da Vinci obsessives creates elaborate, unsubstantiated theories to explain him... more »


Aug. 11, 2018 | Choosing what to read takes time and effort and often results in disappointment. Do yourself a favor: Ditch the best-seller list. Read old books instead... more »


Aug. 10, 2018 | "Anyone ambitious who lives to be old or even old endures the inevitable loss of ambition’s fulfillment." Donald Hall on life at 90... more »


Aug. 9, 2018 | We've become indifferent to memory, allergic to tradition. Truth has been eclipsed by useful knowledge. Technocracy reigns, humanism wanes. Deep thoughts with Ross Douthat... more »


Aug. 8, 2018 | The life of the mind has been overtaken by the imperatives of advertising. Welcome to the era of the promotional intellectual ... more »


Aug. 7, 2018 | Anger and tenderness. Adrienne Rich wrote little while raising her three sons, but the experience changed her: “Motherhood radicalized me”... more »


Aug. 6, 2018 | Happy endings are rare in literary fiction. Instead we get bleak plots and pervasive pessimism. Can we really say literature is good for us?... more »


Aug. 4, 2018 | Reading Lolita in the age of #MeToo. The book never pardons us for the sin of participating in it. The revulsion is why it endures. Caitlin Flanagan explains... more »


Aug. 3, 2018 | Learning French has been likened to joining a gang. Both involve "a long and intensive period of hazing.” Why bother? It forces you to rethink your approach to language itself... more »


Aug. 2, 2018 | We used to reach for metaphors, idioms, and images to convey abstract ideas, says Steven Pinker. Now our prose is more efficient, but more lifeless... more »


Aug. 1, 2018 | The cult of Evelyn Waugh included Graham Greene and Kingsley Amis. The modern Waughian wears tweed, rides a bike, and, most likely, blogs... more »


July 31, 2018 | Russia came early to the idea that "the people" carry the moral solution to the world’s ills. These populists, fueled by a guilty idealism, failed utterly... more »


July 30, 2018 | Peter Berger did as much as anyone to illuminate the place of religion in the modern world. He was more opaque about his own religious identity... more »


July 28, 2018 | If art can do harm -- and it can -- it can also do good. If it’s beautiful enough or moving enough or original enough, maybe it can even atone for the sins of the artist... more »


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