Nov. 2, 2017 | Mary McCarthy became a novelist almost by default. She had to be coerced into writing by her husband, Edmund Wilson. Nevertheless, her fiction lives on... more »

Nov. 1, 2017 | In the arts, “outsider” means something specific. But what is an outsider writer? And can Virginia Woolf plausibly be considered one?... more »

Oct. 31, 2017 | Angela Carter found meaning in antagonizing foes, especially Andrea Dworkin. “If I can get up … the Dworkin proboscis,” she said, “then my living has not been in vain”... more »

Oct. 30, 2017 | No sooner had photography been invented than it became inextricably connected with lying. Such deceptions were born from a hope that the camera could transcend death... more »

Oct. 28, 2017 | Whatever you may think about Arturo Toscanini or his interpretation of a specific work, there is no doubt that he changed the concept of conducting... more »

Oct. 27, 2017 | The cartoonish anti-Semitism, the affinity for fascists: "Ezra Pound is a litmus test as much as he is a poet." Is his work proof of his insanity?... more »

Oct. 26, 2017 | How did a KKK-supporting, neo-Confederate sculptor of modest reputation come to dominate salons in Washington? Inside the tangled history of liberalism... more »

Oct. 25, 2017 | Luisa Casati lived with albino blackbirds, a cheetah, and a life-size wax replica of herself. What can she teach us about the nature of bohemianism?... more »

Oct. 24, 2017 | Who could be against empathy? Paul Bloom, or so he says. But is the Yale psychologist serious? Or is he just trying to sell books?... more »

Oct. 23, 2017 | The relationship between morality and neurology is complicated. Few people get it, fewer can explain it. Robert Sapolsky, one of those few, is a determinist, but not a simple one... more »

Oct. 21, 2017 | Thinking about thinking. We think, says Alan Jacobs, because we hope to become “more than we currently are.” Therein lies both the promise and peril of a life lived thoughtfully... more »

Oct. 20, 2017 | Elizabeth Bishop had astonishing control and poetic technique. But below the surface was a gushing emotional register. Was she the loneliest person who ever lived?... more »

Oct. 19, 2017 | The past should be studied only to expose its failings. Or so goes liberal logic. How disparaging the past become a mark of intellectual respectability... more »

Oct. 18, 2017 | Many of Alexander Calder's greatest works have their genesis in children’s toys. He was an overgrown man-child with a deep affinity for play
... more »

Oct. 17, 2017 | Hitler sought to construct an empire of both military and cultural dominance. So did Mussolini. Their method: attract artists who were not themselves fascists... more »

Oct. 16, 2017 | The midlife crisis, first described by psychologists in 1965, is a first-world problem, but it's a problem nonetheless. The first rule of crisis prevention: avoid self-absorption... more »

Oct. 14, 2017 | Giorgio Vasari was a second-rate artist and a first-rate gossip. Behold his catalog of piquant trivia about Renaissance Italy ... more »

Oct. 13, 2017 | Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was not just a historian but an "action-intellectual," driven by his commitments and a belief that politics is more a war of will than of ideas... more »

Oct. 12, 2017 | E. O. Wilson suggests that evolution can “make sense” of art. But the relationship between biology and creativity is more complicated — and less determinative — than that... more »

Oct. 11, 2017 | Did F. Scott Fitzgerald fancy himself a social critic, a foe of market capitalism? Well, he wouldn't be the first such critic to relish capitalism's fruits... more »

Oct. 10, 2017 | How to interpret experiences that resist interpretation? What's the point of sowing terror if the terrorized can't understand you? Translating in concentration camps... more »

Oct. 9, 2017 | In the early 1930s, Nazi jurists debated how best to create a racist regime. They found inspiration in American law... more »

Oct. 7, 2017 | Sylvia Plath at Smith. “I’m so happy here I could cry!” she wrote to her mother. In her journals, she struck a different note: “God, who am I? ... I’m lost.”... more »

Oct. 6, 2017 | James C. Scott faults civilization for destroying the freedom and equality of our ancestors. But civilization is why we value such ideals in the first place... more »

Oct. 5, 2017 | “As a child,” wrote Roland Barthes, “I was bored often ... and it has continued my whole life.” His boredom was powerful: the intensity of a lack of intensity... more »

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