Aug. 16, 2016 | “Everywhere there was somewhere and everywhere there they were men women children dogs cows..." Gertrude Stein wrote a children's book... more »

Aug. 15, 2016 | Eulogies are not a genre noted for honesty — the origin of the word, after all, is “to speak well.” What are the benefits of truth when speaking of the dead?... more »

Aug. 13, 2016 | Boas, bugs, and backscratchers, cockroaches and condors, the evil eye and the history of toast. In praise of the erudite eclecticism of the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica... more »

Aug. 12, 2016 | Justin E.H. Smith is battling against philosophical insularity - its overly male, overly white, overly Western biases. He's losing ... more »

Aug. 11, 2016 | Accused of plagiarism, T.S. Eliot annotated The Waste Land with notes about his sources. To his dismay, that kickstarted the critical practice of allusion-hunting... more »

Aug. 10, 2016 | Frederick Law Olmsted created a profession - landscape architecture - and stumbled onto an ironic truth: It takes a lot of artifice to create “natural” scenery... more »

Aug. 9, 2016 | For as long as human cultures have existed anywhere, we have buried our dead. What's changed is the place the dead occupy in our lives... more »

Aug. 8, 2016 | Jungian theory emerged from the dynamics of Carl's marriage: a mercurial husband who strays, a wife who brings up the children and puts her own ambition on hold ... more »

Aug. 6, 2016 | An “uncouth, neurotic, psychopathic murderer-poet.” Robert Lowell was mad. And when he was mad he fell in love. His affairs were all the same: intense and fleeting... more »

Aug. 5, 2016 | Marx’s views were occasionally prescient, often wrong-headed, sometimes repugnant. But they had little in common with what later came to be understood as Marxism... more »

Aug. 4, 2016 | In praise of Cynthia Ozick, "a sorceress of silken prose, wholly incapable of platitude, of cliché, of even the stray dead phrase"... more »

Aug. 3, 2016 | It took 51 years for Don Quixote to be widely translated. Today it would take mere months. Still, there are consequences for writing that’s “born translated”... more »

Aug. 2, 2016 | "Poetry is like an old clock that stops ticking from time to time and needs to be violently shaken to get it running again." Enter Jana Prikryl... more »

Aug. 1, 2016 | Much of what we do isn’t the result of a calculation of consequences, but an expression of our sense of identity. Such is often the case with terrorism... more »

July 30, 2016 | Life of Liszt. People have been writing about his virtuosity, charisma, and affairs since the 1830s. What’s left to say?... more »

July 29, 2016 | Nietzsche's politics were unsavory and harsh, but prescient. He understood the attraction to nationalism, racism, parochialism, and insularity ... more »

July 28, 2016 | Cervantes’s career as a soldier ended in injury, not glory. But rather than cynical, he became ambivalent, as his characters showed... more »

July 27, 2016 | Tim Parks disdains the conventions of book talk and the posturings of the literary establishment. He ridicules everyone but himself... more »

July 26, 2016 | The strange prestige of exhaustion. From popes to poets, having an exhausted mind has long been both a weakness and a badge of honor. Why?... more »

July 25, 2016 | Whether his strange blend of fact and fiction elicits delight, astonishment, or boredom -- or all three -- give Geoff Dyer his due: He's an original... more »

July 23, 2016 | Clive James is not a Proust scholar, but he is a Proust appreciator — an enthusiast, not an expert. The distinction is what matters... more »

July 22, 2016 | Books burn at 451 degrees F. The human body burns at 1,500 degrees. “Where they have burned books," said Heinrich Heine, "they will end in burning human beings”... more »

July 21, 2016 | We love our friends. But any explanation tends to feel inconclusive, vague, banal. Friendship defies language... more »

July 20, 2016 | Among society’s greatest achievements have been ever more ways to keep our fingers busy. Fidgeting makes us human... more »

July 19, 2016 | “The art of storytelling is coming to an end,” wrote Walter Benjamin. His own humdrum attempts at fiction serve to confirm that conclusion... more »

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