April 17, 2017 | In Making It, Norman Podhoretz, consumed as much by the qualities of failure as by his own success, came to realize what he was against: "losers"... more »

April 15, 2017 | How biography works. It isn't merely a mode of historical inquiry, “but an act of imaginative faith,” says Richard Holmes, who has spent his life pursuing subjects through the past... more »

April 14, 2017 | Jürgen Habermas has devoted his career to the study of democracy. But is his version of it premised on naïve, idealized, unrealistic notions?... more »

April 13, 2017 | The barfly turned graphomaniac, the hoarder turned diarist. “When an ordinary person writes exhaustively about her own life, it can be something of a nightmare”... more »

April 12, 2017 | Charles Ives envisioned an eclectic gathering of diverse sounds. A century later, it's come to pass: rock, gamelan, hip hop, salsa, jazz, classical, klezmer: It's all one playlist... more »

April 11, 2017 | When critics look in the mirror. Memoirs from Lee Siegel and Daphne Merkin show that book reviewers, too, can suffer from debt and depression... more »

April 10, 2017 | "Universities are now terrible places to find political heterogeneity," writes Jennifer Senior. "Campus discourse has become the equivalent of the supermarket banana. Only one genetic variety remains"... more »

April 8, 2017 | Particle physics helps explain astronomy; botany shapes archaeology; the moon landing informs paleontology. Does all science converge?... more »

April 7, 2017 | According to A.C. Grayling, philosophy made the transition from medieval to modern in the 17th century. But does assigning a historical period actually mean anything?... more »

April 6, 2017 | Darwin’s work set off an intellectual earthquake in America. It transformed Thoreau from a poet into a geologist, altered abolitionism, and spurred a generation of literary naturalists... more »

April 5, 2017 | Rarely has so much catastrophe been crammed into one biography. Czeslaw Milosz, who died at 93, came to see life as an honorable defeat... more »

April 4, 2017 | In the humanities, it’s not contemplation but speed that seems to matter now. Fast and efficient should not be how we look at art... more »

April 3, 2017 | The poet and painter David Jones never got over his experience on the Western Front during World War I. "My mind can't be rid of it," he said late in a life spent mostly indoors  ... more »

April 1, 2017 | William Empson detested the “horrible Frenchmen” of Deconstruction. Yet Empson himself, author of Seven Types of Ambiguity, anticipated many of their ideas... more »

March 31, 2017 | The Holocaust bisected Isaac Deutscher's life. But he remained an optimist, confident that humanity would emerge better off. Was this admirable, or foolish, or both?... more »

March 30, 2017 | Louis Kahn wanted buildings to speak an ancestral spatial language. A brick arch wasn’t just a brick arch — it was a way to connect across cultures and history... more »

March 29, 2017 | Dwight Garner on Camille Paglia: "Reading this book is like being stranded in a bar where the jukebox has only two songs, both by Pat Benatar" ... more »

March 28, 2017 | David Jones was a soldier at the Somme, a poet, and an artist. He saw his mission as rebutting the corrupting of culture -- what he called “the Break”... more »

March 27, 2017 | Privilege police. When did fetishizing powerlessness become a commonplace of online debate? Dismissing someone's view because of his "privilege" isn't an argument. It's a slur ... more »

March 25, 2017 | In the mid-1930s, when Nazi jurists and politicians looked for innovations in racism and a guide on how to discriminate, they looked to America... more »

March 24, 2017 | Orchestra after the Anschluss. It was mostly business as usual for the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics. But a surreal otherworldliness echoed inside and outside the concert halls... more »

March 23, 2017 | The novel has been declared dead so many times that such arguments are less interesting than theories about why they keep being made... more »

March 22, 2017 | In the darkness, she saw her father perched on a ledge. “I’m going to jump!” he yelled. Her mother replied, “Why don’t you?” Just another night in the Tynan household... more »

March 21, 2017 | Suicide, self-destruction, poetry. Berryman, Plath, Chatterton, Larkin, Frost, Auden: Is an unhappy end a necessary price for poetic genius?... more »

March 20, 2017 | Being married to Thomas Carlyle, said a friend, must be "something next worse to being married to Satan himself." Carlyle's wife, Jane, made the most of the situation... more »

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