March 9, 2017 | Angela Carter’s becoming a feminist icon and darling of academics was an unhappy development for her. "The thought that I’m taught in universities makes me feel rather miserable”... more »

March 8, 2017 | The impediments of style. Terry Eagleton’s writing proceeds by jokey elaboration, winking asides, and absurdist flights of fancy. It’s fun, but frustrating... more »

March 7, 2017 | Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac grew up speaking joual, a working-class dialect of Canadian French. Later, going by “Jack,” he would shape the nature of Americana... more »

March 6, 2017 | Every perished democracy died in its own way. In 1930s Germany, what mattered most was that so many citizens were willing to allow Hitler to do what he did ... more »

March 4, 2017 | Find the moral landscape of our times rather impoverished? You're not alone. Rod Dreher suggests taking a cue from a sixth-century monk and retreating from modernity... more »

March 3, 2017 | The myth of Machiavelli as an amoral schemer is just that — a myth. But as to whether he had a dim view of women, even by the standard of Florentine men of his era: guilty as charged... more »

March 2, 2017 | Didion in Faulkner country. In her 1970 travels, she discovered the morbidity of New Orleans, the rarity of bikinis, and the difficulty of ordering dinner after 8 p.m.... more »

March 1, 2017 | Why do writers write? Narcissism, rage, a quest for ecstasy, a therapeutic impulse. Then there’s J.M. Coetzee, who writes out of apathy... more »

Feb. 28, 2017 | Possessing, per Orwell, a “general hatred of humanity,” Jonathan Swift was a peerless misanthrope. He told Alexander Pope he wanted “to vex the world rather than divert it”... more »

Feb. 27, 2017 | Evelyn Waugh, the funniest writer of his generation, was a famously charming companion. Unless you were a member of his family... more »

Feb. 25, 2017 | Sleuthing word origins has become a game that anyone can play. Now the old founts of linguistic innovation are falling. Poor James Joyce... more »

Feb. 24, 2017 | Cézanne, who grew up in a mountainous region, was a master of line. Turner, from London, was expert in mist and fog. Does geology dictate art?... more »

Feb. 23, 2017 | Critics are unkind to Anna Komnene, the princess who presumed to write military history. It's been suggested not only that her husband wrote her works, but that she plotted fratricide... more »

Feb. 22, 2017 | Somewhere at the uneasy intersection of art and science, Impressionism and empiricism, objectivity and subjectivity, sits the Rorschach test. Behold the blot... more »

Feb. 21, 2017 | Ezra Pound's insanity spared him from execution but condemned him to the asylum. His delusions of conspiracy, persecution, and grandeur speak to the politics of our time... more »

Feb. 20, 2017 | Silicon Valley: Live in a group house, work with a "start-up accelerator," feel like king of the world even if you're running a company that does nothing... more »

Feb. 18, 2017 | At 15, he was a member of the Hitler Youth. At 24, he attacked Heidegger for sympathizing with Nazism. The complicated moral development of Jürgen Habermas... more »

Feb. 17, 2017 | The self-righteousness of literary style guides. They offer advice like “avoid fancy words” but often fail to practice what they preach... more »

Feb. 16, 2017 | The Holocaust survivor and historian Saul Friedländer has been known as Pavel, Pavlícek, Paul, Shaul, and Saül. His many identities can help us understand our own... more »

Feb. 15, 2017 | The Ancient Mariner strangely prophesied the life Coleridge would live. But is it a tale of Christian hope or a drug-fueled nightmare?... more »

Feb. 14, 2017 | Genetic evolution is not enough to explain the skills, power, and versatility of the human mind, says Daniel Dennett. Our minds became modern thanks to cultural memes... more »

Feb. 13, 2017 | Poetry and death. Why are doomed poets -- melancholy, drunken, lascivious, suicidal -- the ones we celebrate?... more »

Feb. 11, 2017 | Step aside, beauty and truth. You were central artistic signifiers for millennia, but no more. The new alpha and omega: identity.... more »

Feb. 10, 2017 | Alexander von Humboldt climbed volcanoes, braved an anthrax epidemic, and negotiated with Napoleon. He wanted to measure everything... more »

Feb. 9, 2017 | Nabokov and Edmund Wilson’s falling out — over translating Pushkin — is often considered silly. But at stake was a serious question: Who owns language?... more »

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