Jan. 1, 2015 | Mass-market paperbacks transformed the culture of reading, largely for the better. If no pulps, then no Philip Roth and Erica Jong... more »


Dec. 31, 2014 | The Seventies, once known for its lack of significance, is now a source of mournful nostalgia, for a time when we lost what we had become... more »


Dec. 30, 2014 | Careers in art are being shaped by two trends: The death of the artist as solitary genius, and the rise of the artist as entrepreneur... more »


Dec. 29, 2014 | ?Culture? is a confusing word, fraught with divergent definitions. The way we use it today ? think ?rape culture? ? has grown darker, sharper, more skeptical... more »


Dec. 27, 2014 | 'The force behind the idea of nonviolence was given its most powerful run in the civil-rights era,' says Taylor Branch. ?But it became passé pretty quickly.' Too quickly... more »


Dec. 26, 2014 | The world is always ?more dangerous than it has ever been? ? except it isn't. By most measures ? war, homicide, genocide ? it's more peaceful than ever... more »


Dec. 25, 2014 | To read with sensitivity for nuance, meaning, and atmosphere is a tricky business. Tim Parks has a few thoughts on how to do it better... more »


Dec. 24, 2014 | Listen closely to two decades of The New York Times's nonfiction best-seller list and you will hear a shrill cry for help from the American people... more »


Dec. 23, 2014 | The folly of fame. Why do we think being remembered will make us immortal? Blame a cognitive blip, part of our evolutionary constitution... more »


Dec. 22, 2014 | Intoxication is an allure best managed, not escaped. This insight ? simple and profound ? stretches back to Euripides, at a time when drunkenness was new... more »


Dec. 20, 2014 | Russia is a cultivator of theories and doctrines, with an overwhelming temptation to find the secret forces ? imagined or not ? intent on destroying the nation... more »


Dec. 19, 2014 | An American essay today without a sudden and revelatory personal aside is hardly an American essay at all. For that tic we can thank Joan Didion... more »


Dec. 18, 2014 | Cherish foreignness. Enjoying the convenience of modern travel, we underestimate the differences of other lands. That's a mistake... more »


Dec. 17, 2014 | Modernist art repudiated kitsch, a vague substitute for real emotion. So how did we end up with Jeff Koons's balloon dogs and meta-kitsch?... more »


Dec. 16, 2014 | The less we know about the deep past ? and we don't know much ? the more climate looks like an all-purpose explanation of economic and political change... more »


Dec. 15, 2014 | Why are free-market ideas so durable? Maybe because they are right. Or maybe they are wrong but intuitive, tapping into our very sense of self... more »


Dec. 13, 2014 | Slavery and capitalism. The relationship between the two is key to understanding the origins of the modern world... more »


Dec. 12, 2014 | Historian, poet, legal theorist, cryptographer, philosopher: Gottfried Leibniz had many roles, but too often he's remembered for just one thing: Voltaire's ridicule... more »


Dec. 11, 2014 | Inventing the future. The Victorians told a particular story about culture, technology, and optimism. It still shapes our vision of things to come... more »


Dec. 10, 2014 | The argumentative Jew. Disagreements are not only real, they are ideal, says Leon Wieseltier. ?A universe of controversy is a universe of tolerance?... more »


Dec. 9, 2014 | For a 1970s feminist like Vivian Gornick, there is cause for dismay today. Women's liberation is in the doldrums, not likely to recover in her lifetime... more »


Dec. 8, 2014 | After 33 years and 3,000 reviews, Jonathan Yardley, self-described 'ofld-fashioned man in a new-fashioned world,' hangs it up as a book critic... more »


Dec. 6, 2014 | Norman Mailer was a writer for his time, not all time. He lived less as a novelist than as an all-purpose gadfly, taking on every issue of the day... more »


Dec. 5, 2014 | How humanity learned to speak. A language organ? No. A language instinct? No. Our need to cooperate was what paved the way... more »


Dec. 4, 2014 | For an apostle of alienation, Herbert Marcuse sure was a media star. To think his unsettling blend of Hegel, Marx, and Freud ended up in Playboy... more »


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