Oct. 25, 2016 | Two pillars of physics – general relativity and quantum mechanics -- have been borne out in countless experiments. But they contradict each other... more »


Oct. 24, 2016 | Singleness is thought of as a transitory state, a way station en route to marriage. For Emily Witt, it was a way of life... more »


Oct. 22, 2016 | When Clive James met David Hockney, they discussed Picasso. Hockney had so much to say, recalls James. "I still count this as one of the great conversations of my life"... more »


Oct. 21, 2016 | Screens consume our attention, of course, but they also change the way we look at the world. What happens online increasingly shapes how we feel offline... more »


Oct. 20, 2016 | Alfred Hitchcock was scared of heights, policemen, imprisonment, and other people. But his neuroses meshed well with his talent. The result: a superb fantasist of fear... more »


Oct. 19, 2016 | The amiability and productivity of Jean Cocteau stemmed from a despairing thought: The world is a misunderstanding... more »


Oct. 18, 2016 | At age 18, Patrick Leigh Fermor started walking across Europe in search of erotic, alcoholic, intellectual, and courageous escapades. He never stopped... more »


Oct. 17, 2016 | Fiction in a time of climate change. John Updike defined the novel as an “individual moral adventure.” Not so for Amitav Ghosh, who thinks a collective aesthetic is needed now... more »


Oct. 15, 2016 | Degas vs. Manet, Matisse vs. Picasso, Pollock vs. de Kooning, Bacon vs. Freud. Other than knives through canvases and sexual intrigue, what makes an artistic rivalry memorable?... more »


Oct. 14, 2016 | Mark Rothko, an underprivileged refugee, was scorned at school. He dropped out of Yale to seek “the dignity and excitement” of the arts... more »


Oct. 13, 2016 | Claude Lévi-Strauss is often lumped with Lacan, Barthes, and Foucault in a structuralist “Gang of Four.” But he wanted little to do with Parisian intellectuals... more »


Oct. 12, 2016 | Evelyn Waugh at war. Despite his sloth, snobbery, gluttony, and alcoholism, he was accepted into a commando unit — for his sense of humor... more »


Oct. 11, 2016 | Confronted by solipsism, philosophers have found meaning in religion, society, love — and in grand schemes for the future of humanity... more »


Oct. 10, 2016 |  Feeling a “need to be extraordinary,” the author Angela Carter set off for Japan. She left her wedding ring in a Tokyo airport ashtray... more »


Oct. 8, 2016 | So Hobbes was an atheist with a gloomy view of human nature? Rousseau believed in a peace-loving “noble savage”? Wrong and wrong. We misunderstand the great philosophers ... more »


Oct. 7, 2016 | John O’Hara, part Wharton, part Fitzgerald, chronicled and envied well-to-do American society. At 65 he asked Yale for an honorary degree. Yale refused... more »


Oct. 6, 2016 | Romantic acolyte, professional doppelgänger, transcendental hack: Thomas De Quincey’s drug addiction may be the least interesting thing about him... more »


Oct. 5, 2016 | An imperious 19th-century philosopher engaged in ad hominem attacks and obscure internecine disputes. Eleven people showed up for his funeral. His name: Karl Marx... more »


Oct. 4, 2016 | The only way is Wessex. Thomas Hardy’s imagined region grew out of his London experiences — dinners, soirees, supervising cemetery reconfigurations... more »


Oct. 3, 2016 | Climate affects art, especially in England: Shelley was fascinated by wind, Wordsworth by clouds, other English poets by persistent dampness.... more »


Oct. 1, 2016 | Oedipal rebellion and the Frankfurt School. Were Adorno, Benjamin, et al. merely sons rebelling against — while depending on — their wealthy fathers?... more »


Sept. 30, 2016 | What's causing literary culture’s decline? According to Cynthia Ozick, it’s neither TV nor the internet but weak literary criticism. “Without the critics, incoherence.”... more »


Sept. 29, 2016 | Shirley Jackson’s biography had uncanny parallels to her fiction. But what can it tell us about an author who wanted to trade in her life and start anew?... more »


Sept. 28, 2016 | When it came to explaining China to America, Pearl S. Buck and H.T. Tsiang seemed on two ends of a spectrum. But they shared a common fate: being ignored... more »


Sept. 27, 2016 | One day in 1953, Henry Molaison lost the ability to form new memories. He existed entirely in the now, which made him history’s most studied man... more »


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