Oct. 1, 2015 | Braid, knot, spray, perm, color, curl, straighten, shave, cut: Siri Hustvedt offers notes on a theory of hair... more »


Sept. 30, 2015 | Lionel Trilling, magnet for admiration and model of critical integrity: Why did he have such a minor impact on the intellectuals of his era?... more »


Sept. 29, 2015 | Ethics beyond anthropocentrism. “Empathy” is often just a buzzword, but focusing on its true meaning can help us better understand animals... more »


Sept. 28, 2015 | Hume’s philosophy was long overlooked. He was instead known for his lightly researched historical works and a talent for wrongheadedness... more »


Sept. 26, 2015 | Clive James vowed not to reread Conrad. But he must, because no other writer so perceptively presaged our world of radicalism, terrorism, and idealism... more »


Sept. 25, 2015 | The age of annotation is upon us. But is Genius — a crowdsourced annotation website — really the future of close reading?... more »


Sept. 24, 2015 | Not warmth or decency, but ornament. We dress ourselves out of vanity — but fashion is pivotal to art, ideas, even history itself... more »


Sept. 23, 2015 | “You ever loved two women at the same time?” asked Hemingway. His predicament began when he met Pauline Pfeiffer, a very rich girl who wouldn't be denied... more »


Sept. 22, 2015 | Mark Edmundson was a Catholic for 12 years, a period he associates with feelings of shame and denial as well as gratitude. The church provided an education in ideals... more »


Sept. 21, 2015 | What does the American short story do well these days? Where is it failing or lacking? George Saunders and Ben Marcus discuss... more »


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 It remained unpublished until now...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 »


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