March 3, 2020 | The obstreperous Becketteers watched in chagrin as the literary gig of the century — writing Beckett’s biography — went to a young woman... more »


March 2, 2020 | Presidents and their books. Thomas Jefferson was more of a reader than a writer. John Adams couldn’t stop writing... more »


Feb. 29, 2020 | Morbidly depressed, William James hung on not through intellectualism, but by making the value of his life a hypothesis... more »


Feb. 28, 2020 | What new can be gleaned from the French Revolution’s central paradox: how so many citizens were slaughtered in the name of liberté, égalité, fraternité?... more »


Feb. 27, 2020 | In Regency England, even aristocratic younger sons had to work. Their choices: the army, navy, clergy, or law. Each had its indignities... more »


Feb. 26, 2020 | Because few bankers are men of letters, and few men of letters are bankers, Walter Bagehot remains unique. As does his supercilious literary style... more »


Feb. 25, 2020 | Warhol’s pranks, like dressing up as a box of Brillo, sound dumb. But we still live in his world... more »


Feb. 24, 2020 | Liberalism is besieged, we must rush to defend it! So goes a popular narrative. But post-liberalism is more bark than bite... more »


Feb. 22, 2020 | Depictions of Emily Dickinson vary by decade. In the ’80s she was seen as a model feminist; in the ’90s, as queer. Today we see her as driven... more »


Feb. 21, 2020 | Michael Hollingshead, LSD provider to the intellectually minded, is known as a benign cosmic courier. But his story has a dark side... more »


Feb. 20, 2020 | Savaged by his contemporaries as “King Rat” and “the demon of Austria,” Metternich lamented: “My life has fallen at a hateful time”... more »


Feb. 19, 2020 | The pugnacious Robert Parkin Peters was a bigamist and a con man. His biggest con: infiltrating Oxford’s academic elite... more »


Feb. 18, 2020 | Comedy and social theory make an awkward pair. If Andrea Long Chu’s Females is any guide, the problem is that punchlines wear off quickly... more »


Feb. 17, 2020 | Our age is full of decadent art that risks little. But safe aesthetic choices come with grave consequences for society at large... more »


Feb. 15, 2020 | The Cold War wasn’t entirely a clash of opposites. In terms of cultural politics, it was obscured by confusion, equivocation, deceit... more »


Feb. 14, 2020 | Drugs and the golden age of glossy magazines. “Plane highs were usually the best,” says one former editor, “especially in first class”... more »


Feb. 13, 2020 | Infinite jerk. David Foster Wallace was needy, petulant, crude, and creepy. So what was it like to date him?... more »


Feb. 12, 2020 | The woman who gave birth to rabbits. Mary Toft was a fabulist, but her tale reveals much about gender in the 18th century... more »


Feb. 11, 2020 | Ruins are ripe for allegory. They remind us that human achievement is always marked by the inevitability of a fall... more »


Feb. 10, 2020 | Elizabeth Bishop’s life was not long, but she outlived many of her troubled friends. Her suffering was outweighed by her stamina... more »


Feb. 8, 2020 | Employment in newspaper newsrooms decreased by 60 percent from 1990 to 2016. Does the industry deserve a government bailout?... more »


Feb. 7, 2020 | AI’s hollow victory. Computers may beat humans at chess, Go, and Jeopardy. Unlike us, though, they can’t enjoy their success... more »


Feb. 6, 2020 | “Boats, like books, are a means of transport. They allow us to travel and discover worlds whose existence we hadn’t suspected”... more »


Feb. 5, 2020 | Once exhilarated by “the loose embrace of feminism,” Vivian Gornick has turned her back on today’s inclusive feminine solidarity... more »


Feb. 4, 2020 | After taking the London arts scene by storm, John Berger moved to a mountain village and discovered a new joy: shoveling manure... more »


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