April 1, 2020 | Whoever has the most galleries when he dies, wins. Such is the consensus among art collectors like the particularly ruthless Larry Gagosian... more »


March 31, 2020 | Stylish novelists like Ottessa Moshfegh and Ling Ma give us curiously passive, apathetic characters. What’s behind this tedious tendency?... more »


March 30, 2020 | William Blake's flint cottage, Rudyard Kipling's stone manor: What role do houses play in the lives of creative people?... more »


March 28, 2020 | If you elide crucial historical context, it’s easy to make religious notions of the afterlife look like freakish curiosities. A recent book does just that... more »


March 27, 2020 | No modernism without lesbians. More than a sexual preference, lesbianism created the conditions for an artistic revolution. Or so claims Diana Souhami... more »


March 26, 2020 | In his letters, Robert Frost is never tedious, always fun, appallingly crafty, and unusually trusting in people he barely knew... more »


March 25, 2020 | Freud was a social philosopher, using a scientific guise to lend his ideas more authority. Or so argues a new book... more »


March 24, 2020 | During the 16 months Einstein spent in Bohemia, he did nothing much. But the banality of his experience there is itself worth consideration... more »


March 23, 2020 | Could it be that loneliness was invented around 1800? The separation of self and society has deeper roots, as Hamlet or Othello might testify... more »


March 21, 2020 | “Advertising was like art, and more and more art was like advertising. … Ideally, the only difference would be the logo.” So it went at the Warhol Factory... more »


March 20, 2020 | George Gershwin attacked a “crude, vulgar, and unadorned” version of jazz. But were his experiments in the genre just cultural appropriation?... more »


March 19, 2020 | Lucian Freud’s art was an obsessive quest to exert maniacal control over contour, color, and light. He was a King Lear of the brush... more »


March 18, 2020 | Tarred as elitist and conservative for its New Critical roots, formalism is making a comeback. Will it stick this time?... more »


March 17, 2020 | Before the 1600s, the workplace drug most commonly consumed in the West was beer. Then capitalism brought a craze for something new: coffee... more »


March 16, 2020 | Shrinking news coverage, online consumer reviews, the withering of literature in public esteem: an audit of book reviewing in uncertain times... more »


March 14, 2020 | Explainer journalism never lets actual events get in the way of big ideas. Exhibit A: Ezra Klein’s new book... more »


March 13, 2020 | Writing about music is a difficult thing, saying in words that which words cannot say. Philip Kennicott gets it exactly right... more »


March 12, 2020 | How was America transformed from a “rabidly anti-theatrical” society to one that, by 1833, viewed Shakespeare as its great national author?... more »


March 11, 2020 | The battle between Noah Webster and Joseph E. Worcester still matters because it was over the words Americans use to understand themselves... more »


March 10, 2020 | Americans seem headed for an “endless autumn” — plenty of free time, but creativity, warmth, and hope in short supply... more »


March 9, 2020 | The reality of numbers. Does it matter if numbers are, in a philosophical sense, real, as long as they work as expected? Depends on whom you ask... more »


March 7, 2020 | We are confronted with two new, substantial Hitler biographies. How much more is there to say? Quite a lot, it turns out... more »


March 6, 2020 | iBauhaus. Was this laboratory of Modernism, founded in 1919, a progenitor of the iPhone? The case is by turns persuasive and preposterous... more »


March 5, 2020 | Newly married to George Orwell, Eileen Blair cried a lot and typed his manuscripts in the dark. Things went downhill from there... more »


March 4, 2020 | The joyousness of dogs. We love them and they love us, as no small measure of philosophical material bears out... more »


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