March 31, 2016 | Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Hunter S. Thompson, and Mario Vargas Llosa ran for office. They all failed. Politics is unkind to writers... more »

March 30, 2016 | T.S. Eliot believed that to understand a writer requires reading her complete works. He overlooked the advantages of ignorance... more »

March 29, 2016 | How to read The Divine Comedy. Few of us any longer try to tackle what the poet called his versi strani, strange verses. But patience pays off... more »

March 28, 2016 | In 1970, Kate Millett filed the dissertation that would become Sexual Politics. Reading it, an adviser complained, was like “sitting with your testicles in a nutcracker"... more »

March 26, 2016 | Magnanimous and cosmopolitan, prudent and traditional, humanitarian and realist: Will the real Edmund Burke please stand up?... more »

March 25, 2016 | What futurists get wrong. The next frontier of intelligence might not be silicon-based. Machines might want to go back to biology... more »

March 24, 2016 | To sum up, to explain, to glimpse the darkness, to leave the world with words: The morbid appeal of the suicide note as literary genre... more »

March 23, 2016 | Is there a point at which scientific development can no longer be described as progress? Thoughts on the human toll of human ingenuity... more »

March 22, 2016 | A familiar pattern: Liberal writer with Muslim background criticizes Islam. Western intellectuals recoil. It's a problem, and it's happening again... more »

March 21, 2016 | Consciousness is a spectrum; the mind flows from one mental state to another. Software could imitate this spectrum. How would humans fare in a world of superhuman robots?... more »

March 19, 2016 | The mattering instinct. Sure, figure out what matters to you, what’s meaningful in life. But resist the tendency to universalize... more »

March 18, 2016 | Does the novel provide communitarian mortar, showing us how to live together? Or — in an age of connectivity — does it teach us how to be separate?... more »

March 17, 2016 | In an academic and intellectual culture that emphasizes safe and comforting patterns of thought, what becomes of free thinking - and what happens to the clash of ideas?... more »

March 16, 2016 | Literary translation is an imperfect art; errors and omissions flourish. Finding the original is like seeing an oil painting after the discolored varnish has been removed... more »

March 15, 2016 | Art and arson. Arshile Gorky, Robert Rauschenberg, Alfred Leslie, John Baldessari: Why do artists' studios so frequently go up in flames?... more »

March 14, 2016 | What happens when a poet who writes about fame becomes famous? Eileen Myles, renegade outsider, is now an insider. Welcome to the hall of mirrors... more »

March 12, 2016 | The Jean Sibelius paradox: Why did the feted and revered composer feel neglected and misunderstood? Blame Mahler, who called him a purveyor of Scandinavian kitsch... more »

March 11, 2016 | Art and politics. Art made submissive to politics is unhealthy for both. The critic's task is to find the edge where art meets the world... more »

March 10, 2016 | Literature is where we go to identify ourselves, where we shake off attitudes and beliefs. The novel, says Arthur Krystal, is the vehicle of our discontent... more »

March 9, 2016 | "Is it possible to write criticism — or even to write critically — while at the same time refusing the critic’s authority?"... more »

March 8, 2016 | Sociology is a suspicious, even paranoid science, an attempt to suss out the reality of reality. What can it teach us about spy fiction?... more »

March 7, 2016 | Science may be impartial, but scientific culture is not. Ask a female scientist about unwanted advances, jokes that aren't funny, grabbing that isn't an accident... more »

March 5, 2016 | What happened to Annie Dillard? She seemed like a Thoreau for our time, a major voice in letters. Then came hypocrisy, spiritual snobbery, and silence... more »

March 4, 2016 | Constance Fenimore Woolson was a popular American writer beset by depression, deafness, and an inability to make a romantic connection. Then, in 1879, she went abroad... more »

March 3, 2016 | Pink teacups, crumbling frescoes, and a brown typewriter. What can one learn from a journey to James Baldwin’s house in Saint-Paul de Vence? A great deal, it turns out... more »

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