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 »


Sept. 2, 2015 | The meaning of what we say can’t be divorced from its context. That's Wittgenstein, and it goes far to explain the sorry state of discourse on the Internet... more »


Sept. 1, 2015 | The obsolescence of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The verse of the poet who was obsessed with new forms now seem out of date. He wanted it that way... more »


Aug. 31, 2015 | “Men of high intelligence and sensibility,” it was said, tended to be enchanted by Hannah Arendt. Hans Morgenthau was no exception... more »


Aug. 29, 2015 | The belief that prolific writing equals bad writing is snobbish, inane, and demonstrably untrue, says Stephen King – who once published four books in one year... more »


Aug. 28, 2015 | Michael Lind has a modest proposal: abolish the social sciences. It's past time we acknowledged that the dream of a comprehensive science of society is a mistake... more »


Aug. 27, 2015 | Jonathan Franzen wants to be your friend. Sure, he’s endearing. But his writing moralizes and is laden with elitist populism. Is he worth your time?... more »


Aug. 26, 2015 | James Whistler was a raffish dandy who perfected the personal grudge. “Whistler’s Mother” was the painter's attempt to change this reputation — to claim genteel respectability... more »


Aug. 25, 2015 | The strange limbo of Daniel Patrick Moynihan: hero and villain, gentleman and eccentric, intellectual who ridiculed intellectuals... more »


Aug. 24, 2015 | The utilitarian beauty of Kingsley Amis. His short stories — “chips from a novelist’s work-bench” — were constructed from well-observed fact... more »


Aug. 22, 2015 | The tchotchkefied writer: H.P. Lovecraft has inspired board games, phone cases, thongs, podcasts, even a bar. Pretty good for an artist unappreciated in his own time... more »


Aug. 21, 2015 | The tattered tradition of summer reading: Once it was an exercise in middlebrow art, in the importance of leisure, in ambitious edification... more »


Aug. 20, 2015 | The myth of the melancholy genius. Montaigne, van Gogh, David Foster Wallace: Society celebrates the aesthetic insights of depression. But take a closer look... more »


Aug. 19, 2015 | Is there a place for courage, contemplation, and compassion in a culture of debunking realism? Such a question is in danger of dropping off the map of human inquiry... more »


Aug. 18, 2015 | For Montaigne, the three finest things in life are friendship, sex, and reading. The best? Reading. Your friend may die, your sexual partner may betray you, but literature is always there... more »


Aug. 17, 2015 | When censorship becomes a weapon against injustice, when so many are so quick to take offense and so desperate to avoid discomfort, what's the fate of free speech?... more »


Aug. 15, 2015 | Sex, brawls, and litigation. Gore Vidal made intellectual sparring into an art form. His mantra: “Never lose an opportunity to have sex or be on television.”... more »


Aug. 14, 2015 | Poems don't exist to be analyzed. They exist because they are useful in some basic way, says Dana Gioia. "Poetry gave humanity the words to get through life."... more »


Aug. 13, 2015 | Gloriously aloof, unimpeachably cool, Joan Didion was also a passionate foe of feminism, a simmering elitist, the white girl to whom generations of white girls have been drawn... more »


Aug. 12, 2015 | Talk of microaggressions and trigger warnings are all the chatter on college campuses. Chalk it up to the tyranny ofemotional reasoning.”  The result: intellectual homogeneity... more »


Aug. 11, 2015 | Writers get their ideas from dreams, visions, daemons, and of course, other writers. But one thing is constant: the fickleness of literary inspiration... more »


Aug. 10, 2015 | In ancient Greece, remembered tales were transformed into works of literature. But the practice of writing itself got off to a leisurely start... more »


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