April 14, 2016 | If Christopher Hitchens was so good — clever, fearless, well read — why so bad? If he was so right, why so wrong?... more »


April 13, 2016 | What makes a dog a dog? Forty-two teeth, advanced auditory and olfactory senses, tight-knit social structure. But really it's all about food... more »


April 12, 2016 | Aged, skeletal, pancaked in makeup, Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmo’s major-domo, was the philosopher-queen of "the will to please"... more »


April 11, 2016 | Twain's autobiography - uncut, unexpurgated, unchronological - clocks in at half a million words. An uproarious and unmitigated delight, right? Well... more »


April 9, 2016 | Often dandyish on the page, Wallace Stevens could be vicious in person. He traded punches with Hemingway. He lost... more »


April 8, 2016 | Hobsbawm, Foucault, Dworkin, Lacan — how far to the left were the thinkers of the New Left? Roger Scruton’s answer may surprise you... more »


April 7, 2016 | Pornography and its discontents. Consider life in a sexual utopia, a “pornutopia” in which anyone is up for anything. Result: Boredom... more »


April 6, 2016 | Charlotte Brontë’s awkwardness. The unrequited love, the early-morning wedding, the incident with the hairpiece -- her social life was in her writing... more »


April 5, 2016 | The “taint” of commerce. When art becomes a stand-in for wealth and political influence, where does that leave those who collect for sake of collecting?... more »


April 4, 2016 | Thomas De Quincey's journey from riches to rags to posthumous fame as an opium eater began on a cheerless Sunday in 1804... more »


April 2, 2016 | Museum work in America has always required an unusual mixture of scholarship, showmanship, and prodigous talent for raising money... more »


April 1, 2016 | The Marx Brothers were antic, zany, madcap, anarchic. Yet scholars and critics insist on attaching deep significance to the act. Groucho would object... more »


March 31, 2016 | A typical German owns 10,000 objects. Britain is home to six billion items of clothing. How we became a world of consumers... more »


March 30, 2016 | Susan Jacoby is a champion of irreligion. But perhaps despite herself, she makes the subject of religion contagiously interesting... more »


March 29, 2016 | What can be gleaned about English grammar from a close examination of newspapers and magazines published on December 29, 2008? ... more »


March 28, 2016 | Digital memory is ubiquitous and inexpensive yet unimaginably fragile. Result: The history of the 21st century will be riddled with silences... more »


March 26, 2016 | In 1972, Joseph Brodsky, expelled from the Soviet Union, arrived in America. He'd become exactly what he didn't want to be: a dissident... more »


March 25, 2016 | Culture shapes language, and language shapes culture. Moral change is therefore partly driven by semantic change. Charles Taylor explains... more »


March 24, 2016 | Eleven books of short stories, eight of poetry, four children’s books, five nonfiction: How did Kay Boyle find time for husbands, children, and lovers?... more »


March 23, 2016 | Finding Franz. Musings on beer, reports of the color of his eyes, a (failed) scheme to strike it rich: 99 ways of looking at Kafka... more »


March 22, 2016 | By day Wallace Stevens was a casually racist insurance executive. By night he confronted the basic questions of art and life... more »


March 21, 2016 | Adventures in lepidoptery. Nabokov regarded his 14-hour days producing comparative analyses of butterfly genitalia as the most rewarding of his life  ... more »


March 19, 2016 | What is existentialism? The loosely defined current of thought became an intellectual movement in 1932 at a cafe in Paris... more »


March 18, 2016 | This history of the 20th-century literary world is one of artistic insecurity. “What I suffer from,” said Alfred Kazin, is “the lack of  a working philosophy”... more »


March 17, 2016 | King of the rock 'n' roll underworld? David Litvinoff was an aficionado of head-shaving, a vicious lowlife, and, says Eric Clapton, "a stupendous intellect"... more »


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