April 20, 2018 | “Poetry makes nothing happen,” thought Auden. But properly understood, books are a type of magic: “To write is to sell a ticket to escape, not from the truth but into it.”... more »

April 19, 2018 | 43 years ago, Laura Mulvey coined the term “male gaze.” Is it still artistically justifiable for a man to paint a naked woman?... more »

April 18, 2018 | We express our emotions physically, but now we mediate them digitally as well. As Don DeLillo put it, “Nobody knows how to feel and they’re checking around for hints”... more »

April 17, 2018 | "We won. ... But having won, we have no sense of balance or modesty or graciousness," Jaron Lanier says about those who built the internet. "So we kind of turned into assholes"... more »

April 16, 2018 | Did Orwell really did shoot an elephant in Burma? Did Sontag accurately represent a get-together? The vagaries of memory pose a special threat for writers... more »

April 14, 2018 | The true story is always the oppositional story. Or so goes the logic of both literature professors and the right-wing media. What have the radical politics of humanities professors wrought?... more »

April 13, 2018 | How to be an intellectual. Find three uninterrupted hours per day; overcome boredom; mind the distinction between intellectuals and academics... more »

April 12, 2018 | John Gray takes a dim view of reason. Indeed, he takes a dim view of humanity. He is a "card-carrying misanthrope for whom human life has no unique importance"... more »

April 11, 2018 | While science advances, philosophy stays the same, asking the Big Questions again and again. The field is still immature... more »

April 10, 2018 | The cult of Tocqueville: How did a Frenchman who hasn’t been in the United States in over 185 years become the man everyone loves to quote?... more »

April 9, 2018 | The death of Seamus Heaney lets us mourn not only an artist of rare verbal gifts but also the loss of a language that long mapped a way of living... more »

April 7, 2018 | Samuel Beckett's relationship with his mother was long, tempestuous, and, he realized, formative. “I am what her savage loving has made me”... more »

April 6, 2018 | What makes scientific theories true? Falsifiability or observability work in some cases, but the madcap ideas that push the borders of knowledge require a different approach... more »

April 5, 2018 | The writerly imperialism of Dave Eggers. His work is a combination of twee visual details, Muslim characters, and a well-meaning American exceptionalism... more »

April 4, 2018 | Beware the grammar bullies! Morality and language are linked, argued Ursula K. Le Guin. But morality and correctness are not the same thing... more »

April 3, 2018 | James Baldwin in Hollywood. He was there to make a movie about Malcolm X. It didn't go well. “I would rather be horsewhipped ... than repeat the adventure”... more »

April 2, 2018 | "Populism" is a label often used but little understood. It's incoherent an ideology yet not to be dismissed as deranged or imaginary. Populism is a disease in the body politic... more »

March 31, 2018 | The poet Joan Murray died at 24. Her manuscripts, sent to be preserved, apparently fell off the back of a truck. Is it fair, then, to call her a minor poet?... more »

March 30, 2018 | When fiction fuels the future. Sun-powered screens, electric weather, telepathy via battery — by picturing what’s to come, does science fiction help us invent it?... more »

March 29, 2018 | Hyper-liberalism is the academy's legitimating ideology, says John Gray. "The result is a richly entertaining mixture of bourgeois careerism with virtue-signaling self-righteousness"... more »

March 28, 2018 | Our old photos follow us online, and it’s become increasingly difficult to achieve distance from the past. That’s changed our politics and, perhaps, our thinking... more »

March 27, 2018 | For James Wood, the novel is “the slayer of religions.” Rationalist writers like Ian McEwan agree — they want their craft to be more scientific, less spiritual. Is it?... more »

March 26, 2018 | In Shakespeare's time, there were no directors. Plays were performed without scenery, on open stages. It's still something of a mystery what directors do... more »

March 24, 2018 | When did the sum total of a college’s intellectual value become reducible to its willingness to host controversial speakers?... more »

March 23, 2018 | Communing with art won’t make you money, burn calories, or help you network. It may, writes Claire Messud, help you find joy in the superfluous and glory in each day... more »

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