Nov. 28, 2018 | We build the boxes we live in, write on square pieces of paper, and invented the four-cornered frame. This frame is what separates us from nature itself... more »


Nov. 27, 2018 | In the works of Richard Rorty and Michael Walzer is an argument for how to liberate the left from itself. Their ideas can look feeble or sentimental or unsophisticated. They are, in fact, necessary... more »


Nov. 26, 2018 | Saint Oscar, Wilde the Irishman, Wilde the wit, classicist, socialist, martyr for gay rights: The Oscar Wilde industry gives us the Wilde we need — or at least the Wilde that sells... more »


Nov. 24, 2018 | William H. Gass compiled a final collection near the end of his life, resigned to the fact that his real legacy would be buried by the fickle winds of literary opinion... more »


Nov. 23, 2018 | What's the burden of the black public intellectual? She defends and explains black culture, and argues for black people’s humanity, but does so for a white audience... more »


Nov. 22, 2018 | The greatest book ever written about the theater? The Season by William Goldman, who died recently. What makes it great? Its bluntness... more »


Nov. 21, 2018 | An idiom is like a musical phrase; a cliché is like an earworm. "If idioms help us think outside the box, clichés box us in"... more »


Nov. 20, 2018 | What do we mean when we talk about “quality of life”? Aging is not a problem to be solved. It is a meaning to be lived out... more »


Nov. 19, 2018 | The pun, long considered the lowest form of wit, is widely — and unfairly! — reviled. Puns are at once pedestrian and profound... more »


Nov. 17, 2018 | What is "cultural Marxism"? An old slander posing as a new insight. The myth led to grievous harm in the last century. How about ours?... more »


Nov. 16, 2018 | What makes bullshit bullshit? The answer is psychological and sociological, as well as linguistic and philosophical... more »


Nov. 15, 2018 | How did Sartre come to embrace Marxism? The tale involves his friendship with Camus, and his work at a clandestine newspaper... more »


Nov. 14, 2018 | "It remains startling to me how little many men have to do to earn intellectual authority," says Jill Lepore, "and how much more women have to do"... more »


Nov. 13, 2018 | The American Memoir tells a recurring story of personal responsibility and freedom from history. As Christopher J. Lebron explains, it is a lie... more »


Nov. 12, 2018 | Difficult books are difficult in different ways. Some are just plain bad. But readability is not always good. The case for difficult books... more »


Nov. 10, 2018 | Calling bullshit has a venerable intellectual pedigree. And why not? Bullshitters get the kudos without the work... more »


Nov. 9, 2018 | Wars of conquest have declined sharply over the past seven decades. Could a treaty signed in 1928 be the cause?... more »


Nov. 8, 2018 | Art, before the age of mechanical reproduction. The four extant original manuscripts of Old English poetry are a reminder of the yawning void of history... more »


Nov. 7, 2018 | When Donald Hall turned 80, he’d stopped writing poetry. He'd lost 60 pounds. He was ill and depressed. Then he rediscovered prose... more »


Nov. 6, 2018 | A golden age of English literature began under a draconian monarchy. For Thomas Wyatt, this meant collaborating with — and falling victim to — tyrants... more »


Nov. 5, 2018 | The whitewashing of antiquity. Fascists have long looked to the ancient world as a source of ideology and pride. They are abetted by a generation of scholars... more »


Nov. 3, 2018 | Francis Perey’s eureka moment had come. Unfortunately, the physicist’s landmark paper was “maddeningly repetitious philosophical froth”... more »


Nov. 2, 2018 | Who would have thought that n+1, largely founded by men, would in time become the world’s least boring journal of feminist theory?... more »


Nov. 1, 2018 | The art world is a place of cravenness and tropospheric wealth, beset by toxic rot and junkie-like behavior. Yet it can still produce good work... more »


Oct. 31, 2018 | Beyond dark and stormy nights. Gothic literature is more than candles and curses. Its chief concerns are terror, the sublime, and the uncanny... more »


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