July 24, 2021 | To cool down, seals urinate on themselves, bees vomit, storks defecate. We sweat, for better and worse   ... more »


July 23, 2021 | Almost every culture has a ritual of getting drunk in one another's company. What evolutionary purpose does intoxication serve?  ... more »


July 22, 2021 | Out with cataloging, in with “interventions”? The study of antiquity is increasingly designed to buttress rather than question contemporary pieties  ... more »


July 21, 2021 | Thoreau-bashing is in vogue, but it is misdirected. The real problem isn’t his quietism, but his obsession with self-emancipation  ... more »


July 20, 2021 | Gabo and Mercedes met when she was 9 and he was 14. It was a marriage that lasted decades and survived literary stardom  ... more »


July 19, 2021 | Was Graham Greene a Catholic writer or a writer who happened to be Catholic? Either way, he knew not to confuse theological and literary standards ... more »


July 17, 2021 | Among other things, Jenny Diski proved that invention can arise from indolence as much as creativity... more »


July 16, 2021 | Decades of occasional pieces and private blasts reveal Richard Dawkins’s inimitable mix of grandeur and scorn  ... more »


July 15, 2021 | A litany of recent novels skewers the art world not for its hypocrisy, venality, or elitism, but for its disturbing vacuousness... more »


July 14, 2021 | “I have a rule of never looking back,” Ian Fleming said. “Otherwise I’d wonder, ‘How could I write such piffle?’”  ... more »


July 13, 2021 | July 27, 1794, was no ordinary day. In a mere 24 hours, the tide of the French Revolution turned from radical to conservative  ... more »


July 12, 2021 | It’s all well and good to bash the triumphalism of the “cognitive elite.” But what does reforming meritocracy actually look like?... more »


July 10, 2021 | Salman Rushdie can be an infuriating, humble-bragging, preposterous, tone-deaf know-it-all. And it’s all entirely forgivable... more »


July 9, 2021 | Condemned by Kate Millet as an apologist for the patriarchy and priest of the phallus, does D.H. Lawrence deserve a second look?... more »


July 8, 2021 | Adrienne Rich’s war on tokenism. Honorary degrees, letters of recommendation, National Book Awards — to Rich, they all stank   ... more »


July 7, 2021 | Poe’s triumph. He made polymathic contributions despite the challenges he faced first as an orphan and then living in debt, with an invalid wife... more »


July 6, 2021 | Voltaire is said to have consumed 72 cups a day; Balzac ate the grounds directly. Did coffee help cause the Enlightenment?... more »


July 5, 2021 | In a new thriller written with James Patterson, Bill Clinton reveals such a naked fantasy version of himself that you can feel embarrassed for him... more »


July 3, 2021 | The eccentricities of English. The language’s fitful development is an endless tussle between logic and habit  ... more »


July 2, 2021 | The meat paradox. How do people who care about animals manage not to care about farm animals... more »


July 1, 2021 | To the philosopher Marsilio Ficino, scholars suffered from “divine madness.” His cure: rising before dawn and combing one’s hair 40 times, front to back... more »


June 30, 2021 | Listen to the way members of a cult talk and one thing becomes clear: You've probably at some point been in one  ... more »


June 29, 2021 | Most widows of the Middle Ages have vanished into obscurity. But some of them shaped art history  ... more »


June 28, 2021 | Yes, meritocracy is flawed. But it sure beats nepotism, patronage, clientelism, and venality  ... more »


June 26, 2021 | Pablo Neruda’s memoir is stunningly vain, morally abhorrent, yet beautifully written. A new version renders it complete — or does it?... more »


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