Jan. 22, 2016 | Beware the scorn of Janet Malcolm. A new biography has her explaining what writers can and cannot do if they want to be regarded as honest and serious... more »


Jan. 21, 2016 | "The camera is just as capable of lying as the typewriter," wrote Brecht. How then should we handle this devious tool?... more »


Jan. 20, 2016 | Poetry used to be a performance, not a subject for close textual analysis. The century-old shift from poetry for the ear to poetry for the eye has not been good for poetry... more »


Jan. 19, 2016 | From Tolstoy to Bellow, Roth, and Knausgaard, it's male authors who are the real romantics, portraying love as mysterious, physical, and beyond explanation... more »


Jan. 18, 2016 | Our fascination with Augustine has led some scholars to try to know the unknowable, to spin flimsy hypotheses. Consider the semen-bread episode... more »


Jan. 16, 2016 | Musicians need philosophy. Indeed, it is the absence of philosophical reflection that has produced so many half-baked ideas in music... more »


Jan. 15, 2016 | Bernard Williams saw his work as reminding moral philosophers of truths that are known to all adults except moral philosophers. He had a point... more »


Jan. 14, 2016 | Housewives have been declared boring, but novelists can't seem to get enough of them. What gives? Laura Miller has the answer... more »


Jan. 13, 2016 | Reading online, are we mindless clickers racing against the onrush of published content? If so, it’s because of our expectations, not the technology... more »


Jan. 12, 2016 | Northrop Frye allowed that others were “infinitely more accurate scholars” than he. But, he said, he had something they lacked: genius... more »


Jan. 11, 2016 | Is it practical to impose "equality" on people who no longer see it as a worthwhile objective? That is the question facing France. Emmanuel Todd has an answer... more »


Jan. 9, 2016 | Return of the chin-stroking shrink. Freud's view of the mind hasn’t fared well among scientists. But therapy isn’t -- and shouldn’t be -- science... more »


Jan. 8, 2016 | The moral danger of reading a novel. We give authors enormous — potentially diabolical — power to shape our ideas, our politics, our selves... more »


Jan. 7, 2016 | The meaning of diversity in literature. Do we want fiction to present aspirational versions of ourselves, or do we want something else entirely?... more »


Jan. 6, 2016 | Oliver Sacks enjoyed Montblanc fountain pens, Norwegian sardines, and his T-shirt with a fern on it. But above all else, he loved to swim... more »


Jan. 5, 2016 | Beware the gratitude gurus and their creed of self-love masquerading as selflessness. "The current hoopla around gratitude is a celebration of onanism"... more »


Jan. 4, 2016 | Sidney Mintz told stories that no one else bothered to tell. His eye for both big ideas and small details changed how history is done and read today... more »


Jan. 2, 2016 | John Brockman's Edge question for 2016 asks scientists and other thinkers: What do you consider the most interesting recent news? What makes it important?... more »


Jan. 1, 2016 | Swearing is like songwriting — it structures the world around us. Mark Edmundson explores the philosophy of his favorite profanity: “shit”... more »


Dec. 31, 2015 | Pages vs. pixels. As reading is increasingly digitized, doomsayers sound the alarm. But there are good reasons to be concerned, says Michael Dirda... more »


Dec. 30, 2015 | The merits of being a pain in the ass. The virtue of defiance has been central to Western culture. So why have we pathologized it?... more »


Dec. 29, 2015 | Forty years ago, Laura Mulvey showed how Hollywood foisted a masculine point of view on audiences. Is the "male gaze" still relevant?... more »


Dec. 28, 2015 | Don't try to discern the “original intent” of the American founders – they contradicted one another. But this is clear: They had no intention to create a religion-based government... more »


Dec. 26, 2015 | Punk is in its fourth decade, but confusion remains about what, exactly, it is. The rules, aesthetic, and parameters are, at best, murky... more »


Dec. 25, 2015 | Academics are sometimes cautioned to put scholarship over politics. Benedict Anderson regarded this as a false and foolish distinction... more »


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