Dec. 12, 2016 | In 1964, Edmund Wilson published a 6,600-word assault on Nabokov's translation of Eugene Onegin. Why did Wilson savage his friend?... more »


Dec. 10, 2016 | Early in life, Stéphane Mallarmé lost his parents. Late in life, he lost a son. So he built an intellectual defense against the agony of mourning... more »


Dec. 9, 2016 | Young Bram Stoker worshiped the actor Henry Irving. The feeling was not mutual. Irving’s take on Stoker’s years-in-the-making novel: “dreadful”... more »


Dec. 8, 2016 | Before there were zoos, exotic animals were kept according to aristocratic whim. Ann Boleyn had a monkey; George IV, a giraffe. What did this mean?... more »


Dec. 7, 2016 | Romain Gary had an incorrigible thirst for narrative. His carefully constructed life veered from the "dubious to the patently false and from the slapstick to the macabre"... more »


Dec. 6, 2016 | Does the “micro texture” of Shakespeare’s sonnets hold the key to a longtime literary mystery? Elaine Scarry thinks so. She might be the only one... more »


Dec. 5, 2016 | Ezra Pound called Jean Cocteau -- poet, playwright, theatre director, jeweler -- the best writer in Europe. But his life story was riches-to-rags... more »


Dec. 3, 2016 | Marx's disciples praise his conviction and his bold proclamations. In reality, however, he was a doubter, a rethinker, a worrier — the first post-Marxist... more »


Dec. 2, 2016 | The poet Delmore Schwartz bounced between the academy and his East Village haunts. Posthumously, he hovers between canonization and obscurity... more »


Dec. 1, 2016 | After being tried for dissent, William Blake rededicated himself to esoteric engravings. He suffered among acid fumes and copper dust, which might have been what killed him... more »


Nov. 30, 2016 | The cinematic prohibitions of Robert Bresson. “No psychology,” wrote the director, no ostentatious camera movements, and “no music at all.” He believed in adding by subtraction... more »


Nov. 29, 2016 | John Berger is a painter, writer, critic, former soldier, and “the kind of Marxist who would be instantly dismissed from any Marxist organization he joined”... more »


Nov. 28, 2016 | Poets like John Clare and William Blake found meaning in trees. Now we know more about their secret lives -- they communicated via the mysterious “wood wide web”... more »


Nov. 26, 2016 | Norman Mailer, who vowed to make a revolution "in the consciousness of our time," lives on less as a novelist than an all-purpose gadfly... more »


Nov. 25, 2016 | Alexander Pushkin: Talented misfit, ladies' man, hothead, he died in a duel at 31. He's known as Russia's supreme poet. Was he also its greatest writer of prose?... more »


Nov. 24, 2016 | Jane Jacobs -- patron saint of walkability, uber-theorist of contemporary urban living -- never adequately thought through the implications of gentrification... more »


Nov. 23, 2016 | Awe, terror, and tech. Technological progress promises to solve our problems and turn the world into an Edenic garden. To some of us, that is a creepy notion... more »


Nov. 22, 2016 | To grow up in the Soviet Union was to celebrate suffering. It “justifies our hard and bitter life. For us, pain is an art”... more »


Nov. 21, 2016 | How to reconcile our stubbornly held view of Kafka as an unworldly neurotic, an "uncanny man bringing forth uncanny things," with his knack for slapstick and punch lines... more »


Nov. 19, 2016 | In 1969, a 13-part documentary made Kenneth Clark high culture’s classiest superstar. In his own mind he was just an aesthete, a mere popularizer... more »


Nov. 18, 2016 | Herbert Asquith, prime minister of Britain from 1908 to 1916, was a master epistolary flirt, which made him a weird kind of philanderer... more »


Nov. 17, 2016 | Between the world of the university and that of magazines, cultural critics like James Wood, A.O. Scott, and Mark Greif search for their place... more »


Nov. 16, 2016 | The pathological vision of Robert Bresson. The French filmmaker was so repelled by how people behaved in front of the camera that he hardly ever went to the movies... more »


Nov. 15, 2016 | Author photo, tours, readings, lectures, interviews: The modern hustle of the moderately successful writer. Elena Ferrante wanted none of it... more »


Nov. 14, 2016 | What should a left-leaning intellectual do when fascism is on the rise? Frankfurt School theorists of the 1930s lost faith in the power of their ideas... more »


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