Feb. 27, 2015 | Self-criticism is integral to our sense of self. What does this unrelenting, unforgiving, internal nag want? Adam Philips hazards an answer... more »


Feb. 26, 2015 | The history of literature is not tidy, and the path of the modern novel is particularly long and improbable. Can its origins be traced to Protestantism?... more »


Feb. 25, 2015 | What is the preferred musical accompaniment to virtual killing? Beethoven, of course. Ted Gioia on the rise of ?first-person-shooter Romanticism?... more »


Feb. 24, 2015 | Lost in the wave of protest and commentary that followed the massacre at Charlie Hebdo is an adequate understanding of the social function ? indeed, necessity ? of satire... more »


Feb. 23, 2015 | Darwin didn't argue with politicians. But politicians tangle with him. Indeed, evolution is a litmus test: Do you stand with reason even if it costs votes?... more »


Feb. 21, 2015 | Birth of American ballet. Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream opened up new possibilities. His motto: ?Don't think, just dance?... more »


Feb. 20, 2015 | Oliver Sacks has months to live. There is no longer time for anything inessential ? just himself, his work, his friends. And some silliness.... more »


Feb. 19, 2015 | A person of average intelligence today would have been exceptionally intelligent a century ago. We're getting smarter. Are we getting more moral?... more »


Feb. 18, 2015 | Favoritism in physics. The ?Many Worlds Interpretation? is popular despite its incoherence. We simply want it to be true... more »


Feb. 17, 2015 | The natural world is not easily shoehorned into a mathematical formula. Thus the long, strange history of efforts to reimagine the calendar... more »


Feb. 16, 2015 | When the times are brutal and the news is all lies, great poets experience our loneliness for us. Andrew O?Hagan explains... more »


Feb. 14, 2015 | What's wrong with public intellectuals? Their underestimation of the public, which is, in fact, no less smart or striving than they are... more »


Feb. 13, 2015 | From Dickens to Dave Eggers, novelists have resisted familiar literary tropes as they reach for authenticity. Well and good, but it can make for a slippery read... more »


Feb. 12, 2015 | Every Sunday morning at 10, Keats sought spiritual communion. How? Reading Shakespeare, of course. It was his scripture... more »


Feb. 11, 2015 | The practice of ridiculing ? even killing ? cowards has a long history. But sometimes they are not craven but courageous. Cowardice keeps the peace... more »


Feb. 10, 2015 | Tolstoy, by 1889 a sex-hating crank, published The Kreutzer Sonata, a novella about a wife-murderer. Now Tolstoy's wife gets to have her say... more »


Feb. 9, 2015 | No one can doubt the power of William Blake's visual imagination and the brilliance of his engravings. So why are his images overshadowed by his words?... more »


Feb. 7, 2015 | Even for hard-core secular rationalists, luck is a deity deserving some level of credence. Fortune may be fickle, but it ain't dumb... more »


Feb. 6, 2015 | When everyone is an artist and no one buys art, artists starve. So it goes in America, where the professional dancer's annual salary can be $15,000... more »


Feb. 5, 2015 | ?Whatever the music means, it is not the story,' said Leonard Bernstein. Except that his music is fundamentally story time... more »


Feb. 4, 2015 | Tyranny of the smart take. On the Internet, book critics feel pressure to stand apart and perform. They should merely inform... more »


Feb. 3, 2015 | If free speech is contingent on hurting no one's feelings, then it isn't free speech. It's paternalism, and it's insidious ? especially in a university... more »


Feb. 2, 2015 | Elite undergrads want to do many things ? save the world, build an app, make it on Wall Street. What they don't want to be are professors... more »


Jan. 31, 2015 | Biography in the age of psychoanalysis. Some lives ? Freud's, for example ? resist neat explanation. Enter the ?bio-riff?... more »


Jan. 30, 2015 | Montaigne thought that animals could speak but that man was too arrogant to hear them. So if your dog spoke up, what would she say?... more »


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