May 6, 2017 | Walt Whitman, lifestyle guru. To cultivate "manly health,” he advised: Get up early, wash with cold water, climb trees, grow beards... more »

May 5, 2017 | Flaubert lived in revolutionary times. It left him with scorn for political movements and the chronic delusions that enable them ... more »

May 4, 2017 | Arbus, Arendt, Didion, McCarthy, Sontag, Weil: Critics saw them as "pitiless," "icy," "clinical." They pursued heartlessness as an intellectual style... more »

May 3, 2017 | Conventional, proper, unthreatening: That's the Jane Austen we think we know. But modern readers misunderstand her. She was a radical, and not a secret one... more »

May 2, 2017 | In September 1939, the first days of World War II, Londoners slaughtered 400,000 of their own pets. A curious moral logic was at work... more »

May 1, 2017 | Ever get the feeling that tech companies took your solitude and monetized it? They have. We've forgotten the value of being alone... more »

April 29, 2017 | Hemingway, the spartan minimalist, and Dos Passos, the cinematic maximalist, became friends in 1923. They parted as enemies at a train station in 1937... more »

April 28, 2017 | We think we know more than our ancestors, but as individuals we know less. We comfort ourselves with an illusion of knowledge... more »

April 27, 2017 | Why did Les Misérables, a 500,000-word novel composed over 16 years, conquer the world? Because Victor Hugo, who believed in progress, told a story of irrepressible optimism... more »

April 26, 2017 | Stalin once thought that under Communism alcohol could be abolished because people would be so happy they wouldn’t want it. Moonshine flourished in the USSR... more »

April 25, 2017 | Arthur Krystal isn't so much literary critic with theories to peddle as an enthusiast with pleasures to share and enemies to fend off... more »

April 24, 2017 | Czeslaw Milosz, who witnessed Stalinist repression firsthand, is remembered as a political writer. Yet he always chafed against the label... more »

April 22, 2017 | Snobs: we hate them, but can we live without them? Insolence, ostentation, and the cultivation of arbitrary superiority help make us all who we are... more »

April 21, 2017 | More than Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, or Henry Ford, it was Norman Bel Geddes, a theater designer turned industrial designer, who invented 20th-century America... more »

April 20, 2017 | Merriam-Webster's offices aren't velvet-curtained or oak-trimmed. They're less refined: drug deals in the parking lot, bullet holes in the safety glass ... more »

April 19, 2017 | Behold the Thought Leader, a thinker so deft and deluded he can flatter great wealth even as he pretends to challenge it... more »

April 18, 2017 | Good monsters, like good art, replace conventional ideas with something weird, troubling, and potentially heroic... more »

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 »

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