Dec. 4, 2015 | What would be lost if we lose libraries? Books help us remember who we are, the many things we've done wrong, the few things we've got right... more »


Dec. 3, 2015 | Murakami and Franzen: Why are their new books so familiar? Commercially successful novelists have a tendency to repeat the same old formula... more »


Dec. 2, 2015 | Where student protesters go wrong. Their grievances are often warranted. But they have a mistaken idea of what a university should be... more »


Dec. 1, 2015 | We think of Orson Welles as a drunk, as falling short of his potential, as a wasteful filmmaker. Those notions say more about us than about Welles... more »


Nov. 30, 2015 | The visiting author’s email, Claire Vaye Watkins writes, provided a “glass-bottom-boat tour of a certain type of male writer’s mind”... more »


Nov. 28, 2015 | At what point might an oppressed group be contributing to its own plight? The answer requires more than closely reading Ta-Nehisi Coates and nodding... more »


Nov. 27, 2015 | We celebrate — and mock — Hemingway as a swaggering celebrity, a revolutionary. But his real talents were listening, mimicry, and revision... more »


Nov. 26, 2015 | "Free-floating hostility is the ether in which most writers cavort," says Joseph Epstein, who is quite familiar with literary malice... more »


Nov. 25, 2015 | In America, booze is a necessary balm and tippling an essential liberty. Indeed, drink fueled democracy — and almost destroyed it... more »


Nov. 24, 2015 | Our hyperconnected lives, saturated with advertising and technological automation, are increasingly disconnected from family. George Scialabba explains... more »


Nov. 23, 2015 | The age of the selfie has brought hand-wringing over a generation consumed by narcissism. Nonsense. Self-regard is nothing to be ashamed of... more »


Nov. 21, 2015 | Michael Walzer likes to say that he "lives on the left." So why is America's leading social-democratic thinker barely tolerated among his comrades?... more »


Nov. 20, 2015 | The impulse to become a hermit is ancient and universal. What's the allure? To escape triviality? To live more contemplatively?... more »


Nov. 19, 2015 | Walter Benjamin loved to trade ideas with the world, especially if he could avoid physically interacting with anyone in it. ... more »


Nov. 18, 2015 | Lightning, thunder, floods: Early stories about weather were apocalyptic. Then it faded from literature. Now meteorology has brought it back... more »


Nov. 17, 2015 | William Blake has had many guises, in life and after: radical visionary poet, engraver and illustrator, Marxist protester, London dreamer, psychological mythmaker, pioneer of tantric sex... more »


Nov. 16, 2015 | The human impulse to construct narratives is a gift of imagination. But beware the seductive allure of plot and the delusion of comprehension... more »


Nov. 14, 2015 | Katha Pollitt to campus feminists: Every curious writer or scholar has said something very mistaken. That's no reason to write her out of the movement... more »


Nov. 13, 2015 | Philosophical writing is typically obscure, academic, difficult. All the easier to come off as profound — and to claim that others are misreading you... more »


Nov. 12, 2015 | Goya’s paintings exude unreality. But this — their fictiveness — is itself an aesthetic triumph, a way of telling the truth... more »


Nov. 11, 2015 | Murakami. Franzen. Ferrante. Knausgaard. Enough. Unrelenting waves of adulation suggest that readers are being hoodwinked. Tim Parks explains... more »


Nov. 10, 2015 | Beware "distant reading," the scholarly practice of turning literature into data. Why do we cling to this notion of reading as transformative, even sacramental?... more »


Nov. 9, 2015 | Caviar, duck liver, exhibitions in Moscow, Paris, and Berlin, a woman named Lourdes. Oh, the life of Robert Hughes as art critic for Time... more »


Nov. 7, 2015 | When "wisdom" is a dirty word. For feminist intellectuals, it's the enemy, especially when “received,” “inherited,” “popular,” or “conventional”... more »


Nov. 6, 2015 | Toxic texts. Paternalistic censors have long labeled literature dangerous. But with trigger warnings, young people infantilize themselves... more »


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