Sept. 13, 2018 | “Please be kind to Muriel.” A love affair gone wrong, intimate letters leaked — blackmail and betrayal hovered over both Muriel Spark’s fiction and her life... more »


Sept. 12, 2018 | The number of scientists is growing at a faster rate than the human population. Why haven't more scientists produced more discoveries?... more »


Sept. 11, 2018 | The aphorism is rhetorical algebra, an elevated and ambitious format. Too bad the genre’s current state is one of disgrace... more »


Sept. 10, 2018 | 1968 and the fate of radical protest. The counterculture evaporated into New Age bromides and identity politics. But the core of resistance never entirely disappeared... more »


Sept. 8, 2018 | Higher education has historically been a bulwark against authoritarianism — or its pawn. What will it be this time?... more »


Sept. 7, 2018 | Piero Manzoni’s 1961 work, “Artist’s Shit,” featured 90 small, sealed tins. After they exploded in market value, poor autoclaving produced some literal explosions... more »


Sept. 6, 2018 | Self-help and the apostles of positivity. Why do we demand the most conspicuous happiness from people with the greatest reason to be unhappy?... more »


Sept. 5, 2018 | Modernism and the middle class once ruled the art world. No longer. The firewall between art and money has been abandoned... more »


Sept. 4, 2018 | Immortality can sound appealing, but what would it really entail? Tedium and banality — like being trapped in a never-ending cocktail party ... more »


Sept. 3, 2018 | “Art, it seems to me, should simplify.” So explained Willa Cather, who, through uncompromising effort, wrote the Great American Novel... more »


Sept. 1, 2018 | When genuine criticism is undertaken at the risk of ostracism, marginalization, retribution — this is where abuses like Avital Ronell’s grow like moss, or mold... more »


Aug. 31, 2018 | The Nietzsche wars have raged for more than a century. When a sunny, happier, and more literary Nietzsche threatened to take hold, the bad Nietzsche was never far behind... more »


Aug. 30, 2018 | Romanticism vs. romance novels. For Wordsworth, the genre was “sickly and stupid”; for Coleridge, it merited reading only in indolence... more »


Aug. 29, 2018 | Writing and reading online is an exercise in willful misunderstanding, impatience, and hostility. The result? The op-edization of everything... more »


Aug. 28, 2018 | As politics has become an exercise in drawing a bright line between those on the right and those in the wrong, Meghan Daum falls back in love with an old flame: nuance... more »


Aug. 27, 2018 | For some, socialism conjures the Soviet Union and the gulag; for others, Scandinavia and guaranteed income. What do we mean, in 2018, when we talk about socialism?... more »


Aug. 25, 2018 | For a rare group — Witold Gombrowicz, Anaïs Nin, perhaps Franz Kafka, especially John Cheever private diaries comprise their finest writing... more »


Aug. 24, 2018 | “A writer,” said V.S. Naipaul, “is in the end not his books, but his myth.” Now that he has died, what is the myth of Naipaul?... more »


Aug. 23, 2018 | The best spy and detective fiction, we're told, transcends its genre. That’s a backhanded compliment, of course, but what does it even mean?... more »


Aug. 22, 2018 | Derided as boring, indecisive, and weak, gray is overlooked and undersung. In fact, it’s full of possibility, the color that makes all the others speak... more »


Aug. 21, 2018 | Scholars may not agree on how to measure social class, or even if it exists. But that’s no reason to stop talking about it. Kwame Anthony Appiah explains... more »


Aug. 20, 2018 | Hemingway described Little Women as full of “sweetness and light.” Other critics characterize the book as treacly. True enough, in some ways. But it's also an angry book... more »


Aug. 18, 2018 | Given our collective mania for attention, and the boundless opportunities we now have to seek it, we might ask: What did people believe they lost when they lost their privacy?... more »


Aug. 17, 2018 | For all his renown, Hume remains a philosopher’s philosopher. Why? He's not a tragic or romantic figure, and did not offer an easily distilled message... more »


Aug. 16, 2018 | "A curious situation has arisen." That's how Leonard Bernstein began an unusual pre-concert address to an audience. He went on to disavow the performance he was about to conduct... more »


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