Oct. 13, 2018 | Unambiguous identities – and the politics of identity – may be illusions. But when they are widely accepted, illusions become very powerful social facts... more »


Oct. 12, 2018 | Life has sped up. We ruthlessly divide our time into efficient units. We even walk faster than we used to. Time to slow down... more »


Oct. 11, 2018 | Work: The Greeks reviled it; the Judeo-Christian tradition thought it could lead to redemption. We think it’s simply what one does... more »


Oct. 10, 2018 | For Marilynne Robinson, the culprit behind our ills is disbelief, which neatly fits her theological disposition. But are we really suffering a surfeit of rationality... more »


Oct. 9, 2018 | The average person consumes 100,000 words a day. But are we paying close attention to what we read?... more »


Oct. 8, 2018 | Translators should themselves be artists, argues a new book. The goal: not just to accurately recreate a work of literature, but to enhance it... more »


Oct. 6, 2018 | “I did not feel guilty,” said Doris Lessing of the children she abandoned in Africa. But she also compared guilt to an iceberg, with “ninety-nine hundredths hidden”... more »


Oct. 5, 2018 | Young Oscar Wilde: Physically unprepossessing – overgrown, clumsy, “slab-faced” – he was nonetheless magnetic. But his talent was to annoy as much as to amuse... more »


Oct. 4, 2018 | The reluctant genius and the relentless promoter. Though Max Brod turned out his own books, his life was defined by the items he seized from the late Kafka’s desk... more »


Oct. 3, 2018 | Lionel Trilling's letters reveal a man who was deft, a bit dull, and often depressed. Above all, a man exquisitely attuned to small slights... more »


Oct. 2, 2018 | Yes, utopian projects deserve deep suspicion. Moral progress is, after all, fragile. But can our highest aspiration really be a purpose-free life?... more »


Oct. 1, 2018 | For 25 years, Irad Kimhi has perfected the résumé of an academic failure. Or is the philosopher a hidden giant hampered by his perfectionism?... more »


Sept. 29, 2018 | Plennie L. Wingo set out to walk around the world backward. He thought he’d strike it rich. Instead he got $4 and calves in the front of his legs... more »


Sept. 28, 2018 | Mike Davis: trucker, scholar, Marxist, expert on Turkish cinema. Now he's turned to the environment. His question: Who will build the ark?... more »


Sept. 27, 2018 | The history of the book does not begin with books. Chinese tortoise shells inscribed 3,000 years ago; Sumerian clay tablets with cuneiform scripts; knotted string records by Incan officials... more »


Sept. 26, 2018 | The advice column wasn’t born in America, but it flourished there. It's a kooky genre, coming with the promise — at least the hope — of setting ourselves right... more »


Sept. 25, 2018 | Jill Lepore has told a story of America — its sunny ideals and its darker realities. She rejected the urge to moralize but can't resist making stern judgments... more »


Sept. 24, 2018 | Bruce Lee's life was singular, abbreviated, and politically vacant. In the five decades since his death, he's become a multifarious symbol... more »


Sept. 22, 2018 | The battle over Kafka’s literary remains, fought by reasonable people with reasonable claims, never became a dark parable befitting the man himself... more »


Sept. 21, 2018 | Old age confers a certain freedom to say what one thinks. Donald Hall, who died this year, took full advantage... more »


Sept. 20, 2018 | Overconfident, often drunk, a foe to feminism, Norman Mailer is an odd fit for our time. As his work comes back into print, what does it mean for our culture?... more »


Sept. 19, 2018 | A publishing romance. James Laughlin was 6-foot-6, a handsome champion skier. Tennessee Williams was hunched over and wore dirty gray pants. The rest was history... more »


Sept. 18, 2018 | Nietzsche aimed to terrify rather than instruct. If his philosophy can be used as therapy, it’s through the ability to deliver an electric jolt to our souls... more »


Sept. 17, 2018 | Across nearly 50 books, Terry Eagleton has proven the adage that being usefully wrong is often better than being trivially right... more »


Sept. 15, 2018 | John Steinbeck was a bad husband. How bad? On his wedding night, he spent more than an hour on the phone with his mistress... more »


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