April 27, 2015 | You read all those books?The question occurs only to nonreaders. For bibliophiles, a personal library of unread books is a reminder that they will never be smart enough... more »


April 25, 2015 | Driver's License, Drone, Remote Control, Blanket, Phone Booth: Academic studies of everyday things aren't new. And the new ones aren't good... more »


April 24, 2015 | Words that used to mean something - ideals, character, self, soul - now mean nothing. The very idea of an inner life is passe at institutions of higher learning... more »


April 23, 2015 | In the late 19th century, August Bebel called anti-Semitism the socialism of fools. Today it is the anti-Zionism of fools, and nowhere more so than in France... more »


April 22, 2015 | Extinction is not a helpful way to think about conservation. It's alarmist, simplistic, and inaccurate. Nature is as robust as it ever was - maybe more so, says Stewart Brand... more »


April 21, 2015 | He's stopped writing new work, been betrayed by Obama, alienated his friends. What's become of Cornel West? asks Michael Eric Dyson... more »


April 20, 2015 | The anti-aphorism, a seemingly wise but ultimately meaning-resistant turn of phrase, is a literary staple. It is also the stuff of great poetry... more »


April 18, 2015 | The slow death of the university proceeds steadily and not always visibly, writes Terry Eagleton. He blames bean counters, bureaucrats, and barbarians...... more »


April 17, 2015 | Studying with Stanley Fish and Richard Rorty in the 80s, Crispin Sartwell couldn't help detecting a sense of finality. It was an end for philosophy... more »


April 16, 2015 | Those who claim Mencken was incapable of writing a boring sentence haven't read the 1,200 pages of post-publication notes he appended to his memoirs... more »


April 15, 2015 | Reading racist literature. Old books promote old social values. But historical insults can be transformed into artistic strength... more »


April 14, 2015 | Couldn't we say that a tie is really a symbolic displacement of the penis, only an intellectualized penis dangling not from one's crotch but from one's head?... more »


April 13, 2015 | Max Weber considered rationalism a distinguishing features of modernity. Yet the spirit has always been in revolt against the intellect... more »


April 11, 2015 | In Victorian London, intellectuals looked for love in the British Museum's reading room. One of the most disastrous unions: Eleanor Marx and Edward Aveling... more »


April 10, 2015 | Tolstoy was in his time known as a nyetovshcik, a contrarian. His views - on love, family, intellectuals - are even more out of sync today. But they are no less urgent... more »


April 9, 2015 | Literary translation is low-paying, painstaking labor. Why bother? It's the best way to understand how language works... more »


April 8, 2015 | The consolations of poetry are not benign illusion or false hope. Poetry is equipment for living, an education in reconciling ourselves to our fates... more »


April 7, 2015 | The story of invisibility. Thoughts, feelings, personalities, psyches, morals, minds, souls: The world is held together by what we cannot see... more »


April 6, 2015 | Nella Larsen's writing life was short, acclaimed, and marked by a curious incident of plagiarism. Then she vanished, living like a woman who would rather be forgotten... more »


April 4, 2015 | Bellow the novelist is an enthusiast, a comic, a lover of the sentence. Bellow the essayist is a humorless pontificator, a man looking to impress... more »


April 3, 2015 | We don't look to poems for factual truths. Poetry is truest when it attends to something beyond facts: the education of our emotions... more »


April 2, 2015 | The Naipaul Question. How does a writer become so protean ? sympathetic and vile, attractive and repulsive, wounder and wounded?... more »


April 1, 2015 | When, in 1967, Noam Chomsky said the responsibility of intellectuals was to ?expose the lies of governments,' it was a minority view. Now it's de rigueur... more »


March 31, 2015 | Orwell was 35 when he suffered his first bout; Camus was 17. Tuberculosis was one thing to discuss had they met in Paris, as planned, in February 1945... more »


March 30, 2015 | 'I am ashamed of being in a university,' said Lionel Trilling. 'I have one of the great reputations in the academic world. This thought makes me retch?... more »


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