Sept. 19, 2015 | On June 3, 1926, T.S. Eliot promised an essay, "The Contemporary Novel," to Edmund Wilson at The New Republic. It remained unpublished until now... more »


Sept. 18, 2015 | Picasso put most of his effort into painting. But was he a more natural sculptor? Peter Schjeldahl makes the case... more »


Sept. 17, 2015 | These days "Luddite" is a cudgel, an indictment of fuzzy-headed nostalgia. But the impulse to preserve a boundary between human and machine is anything but passé... more »


Sept. 16, 2015 | Bioethics has become a field for glib moralizing, a redoubt of knee-jerk naysayers. When it comes to ethics, don't trust bioethicists... more »


Sept. 15, 2015 | Writers have flocked to cafés for some years now. Do they go to write or to be distracted? 17th-century London offers some clues... more »


Sept. 14, 2015 | Simon Critchley asked his adviser if he could switch from a course on Foucault to one on Derrida. The response: “Man, that’s like going from horseshit to bullshit”... more »


Sept. 12, 2015 | Poetry has always been about myth, and the boom in poetry about celebrities can be seen as ridiculous, or deeply rooted, or both. Consider “Love Letter to Flavor Flav”... more »


Sept. 11, 2015 | According to Hemingway’s “Theory of Omission,” writing is what we leave out. But how do we decide what to omit? ... more »


Sept. 10, 2015 | The literary drunk is often assumed to be a man. But what of the alcoholic adventures of Elizabeth Bishop, Dorothy Parker, and Shirley Jackson?... more »


Sept. 9, 2015 | Ellen Willis, believer. She was skeptical, irreverent, a self-described “irrepressible crank.” But underneath lay a profound faith in the human capacity for happiness... more »


Sept. 8, 2015 | The glamour of writer’s block doesn’t extend to procrastination, which is all broken promises, evasions, and outright lies you tell yourself and others... more »


Sept. 7, 2015 | The story of the French Resistance – how a people liberated itself – is a touchstone of French identity. And almost pure poppycock... more »


Sept. 5, 2015 | The idea of portraiture rests on a simple premise: A face contains the ineradicable essence of character. That belief is under assault, says Simon Schama... more »


Sept. 4, 2015 | Ambiguity is usually a flaw. But in literature it's regarded as an asset, a special cleverness deserving of praise, not scorn. Nonsense... more »


Sept. 3, 2015 | Everybody's a critic. And everybody's in a rush to declare an opinion. But how one arrives there is often more interesting than the opinion itself... more »


Sept. 2, 2015 | The meaning of what we say can’t be divorced from its context. That's Wittgenstein, and it goes far to explain the sorry state of discourse on the Internet... more »


Sept. 1, 2015 | The obsolescence of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The verse of the poet who was obsessed with new forms now seem out of date. He wanted it that way... more »


Aug. 31, 2015 | “Men of high intelligence and sensibility,” it was said, tended to be enchanted by Hannah Arendt. Hans Morgenthau was no exception... more »


Aug. 29, 2015 | The belief that prolific writing equals bad writing is snobbish, inane, and demonstrably untrue, says Stephen King – who once published four books in one year... more »


Aug. 28, 2015 | Michael Lind has a modest proposal: abolish the social sciences. It's past time we acknowledged that the dream of a comprehensive science of society is a mistake... more »


Aug. 27, 2015 | Jonathan Franzen wants to be your friend. Sure, he’s endearing. But his writing moralizes and is laden with elitist populism. Is he worth your time?... more »


Aug. 26, 2015 | James Whistler was a raffish dandy who perfected the personal grudge. “Whistler’s Mother” was the painter's attempt to change this reputation — to claim genteel respectability... more »


Aug. 25, 2015 | The strange limbo of Daniel Patrick Moynihan: hero and villain, gentleman and eccentric, intellectual who ridiculed intellectuals... more »


Aug. 24, 2015 | The utilitarian beauty of Kingsley Amis. His short stories — “chips from a novelist’s work-bench” — were constructed from well-observed fact... more »


Aug. 22, 2015 | The tchotchkefied writer: H.P. Lovecraft has inspired board games, phone cases, thongs, podcasts, even a bar. Pretty good for an artist unappreciated in his own time... more »


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