March 22, 2019 | Was Shakespeare a “punk poet,” a “proto-rockstar,” a “16th-century Russell Crowe,” and also a talentless middleman? Indeed so, says a new book... more »


March 21, 2019 | The genre of books about growing old is nearly as old as old age itself. They fall into three categories: the scientific, the personal, and the political... more »


March 20, 2019 | Pamela Hansford Johnson was romantically involved with Dylan Thomas and C.P. Snow. Naturally, she developed a talent for depicting conceited men... more »


March 19, 2019 | Has the internet changed the way we think? At the least, it convinced fans of Brain Pickings to confuse a grab bag of mildly cool factoids for real insight... more »


March 18, 2019 | Autism was not a new term, but Hans Asperger gave it new meaning. He identified a spectrum and urged "proper understanding, love, and guidance." But his benevolence went only so far... more »


March 16, 2019 | Part of the allure of the British Empire was the promise of exotic thrills in distant lands. But the age of pith helmets was mostly just boring... more »


March 15, 2019 | In Indonesia, where it’s apparently cool to quote Hitler, the newsstands offer magazines devoted to U-boats: evidence of German excellence. The weird afterlife of Nazism... more »


March 14, 2019 | Mikhail Sholokhov drank to escape Stalinism, which displeased Stalin. Sholokhov’s reply: “From such a life, Comrade Stalin, anyone would turn to drink”... more »


March 13, 2019 | Charles de Gaulle, intellectual. He hated Proust, enjoyed the work of Henri Bergson, and, even as president, read two or three books a week... more »


March 12, 2019 | After Eve Babitz dropped a lit match on herself while driving, she gave up writing. Now she stays home and listens to conservative talk shows... more »


March 11, 2019 | Intelligent design has been dismissed by scientists and courts as "creationism in a cheap tuxedo.” But its advocates persevere. They're just getting dumber... more »


March 9, 2019 | The “Invisible College,” a secret brain trust of scientists and billionaires, is embracing a new religious mode: belief in UFOs... more »


March 8, 2019 | The poet Letitia Elizabeth Landon died in 1838 in a castle in Africa. She was 36, an emblem of insipid girlishness. The truth was far darker... more »


March 7, 2019 | What the American West really means. A “limitless frontier,” a “safety valve” for the nation? Greg Grandin unpacks our euphemisms... more »


March 6, 2019 | Oft satirized and generally considered a “dry old stick,” Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, actually had a touch of charisma... more »


March 5, 2019 | Alfred Stieglitz offered “new ways to see the world.” His vision attracted Georgia O’Keeffe and wove a tangle of personal and professional ambitions... more »


March 4, 2019 | Between 1917 and 1923, anti-Semitism mutated into something new: the myth of Judeo-Bolshevism. It was a toxic gloss on an ancient hatred. It made Adolf Hitler... more »


March 2, 2019 | Isaac Newton’s interest in alchemy was long regarded as an embarrassment. Now it's seen as the very foundation of all his endeavors... more »


March 1, 2019 | Editing Isaiah Berlin: “You will surely by now not be surprised by my total inaccuracy, vagueness and tremendous distortion of quotations"... more »


Feb. 28, 2019 | Misogyny is often treated as a question of psychology. But for Kate Manne, the problem is one not of motivation, but of politics... more »


Feb. 27, 2019 | The internet was shaped by utopian-minded intellectuals who valued respect and transparency. So how did we end up with the internet of today?... more »


Feb. 26, 2019 | When America read. In the 1940s, people of all backgrounds devoured plays, novels, poems. One hundred million paperbacks went to soldiers alone... more »


Feb. 25, 2019 | For his Stoner, John Williams has been called "the man who wrote the perfect novel.” So why are his other books so resoundingly terrible?... more »


Feb. 23, 2019 | The unobtainable lightness of being. For Plato, thinness was tied to lofty goals. But, as a cultural history of fat reveals, bigger was traditionally better... more »


Feb. 22, 2019 | History has been unkind to John Ruskin, he of the beard and the wedding-night disaster. In fact, he was a prophet for our times... more »


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