May 30, 2016 | Poets, pimps, rogues, sycophants, dreamers: Scribbling for money on 18th-century Grub Street... more »


May 28, 2016 | We remember her German years, but the current climate demands a different Hannah Arendt, one we have forgotten: philosopher of statelessnes... more »


May 27, 2016 | The Kama Sutra has long been misunderstood as a handbook on what to do in bed. It is, in fact, a series of devious strategies for seduction... more »


May 26, 2016 | Have you ever wanted to be a badger? A goat? The long, weird history of artists and intellectuals trying to become animals involves Tolstoy, Joyce, Heidegger... more »


May 25, 2016 | Cultural critics and English professors face the same problem: How to articulate a positive case for art and literature, and talk as if they actually matter... more »


May 24, 2016 | Want to eat like Alfred Hitchcock? Learn what Joan Crawford thrived on, apart from anger, spite, and bile? Now there's a book for that... more »


May 23, 2016 | How to describe late Henry James? Rebarbatively abstract, recondite, complicated, confusing -- all true. It's his difficulty that helps makes him worth reading... more »


May 21, 2016 | Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Dostoyevsky regarded Alexander Herzen as one of the finest prose writers. Then Lenin praised him, and his reputation never recovered... more »


May 20, 2016 | A tale of two architects. Frank Lloyd Wright, genius; Philip Johnson, highbrow aesthete. How were they rivals when one so eclipsed the other?... more »


May 19, 2016 | The Romanovs ruled for 304 years, a reign that was particularly bleak for women yet great for female rulers... more »


May 18, 2016 | Wittgenstein’s charisma. He lived philosophy as a personal struggle. That made him severe, ruthless, censorious, and depressed. And bewitching... more »


May 17, 2016 | So you want to have a baby. Why leave anything -- gender, intelligence, personality, propensity for disease -- to chance? Welcome to the future of sex-free reproduction... more »


May 16, 2016 | Burglars remake the built environment to conform to their own needs, upending basic assumptions about how buildings work.... more »


May 14, 2016 | How plot works. Flashbacks, prefigurations, parallel subplots all rest on the subtle relationship between chronology and artistic effect... more »


May 13, 2016 | Courtier, politician, scientist, explorer: Sir Kenelm Digby, 17th-century English polymath, lived a literary life of rakish excess... more »


May 12, 2016 | A man of principle and an opportunist, scoundrel, snob, con man easily fooled, coward and hero, generous, mean, clever, stupid: the true Casanova... more »


May 11, 2016 | Slapstick and the Soviets. Charlie Chaplin turned industrial labor into a circus act. This connected with Petrograd's avant garde - at first... more »


May 10, 2016 | David Hume failed to get an academic job. Today he is a hero of academic philosophers. Why? His decorously veiled attacks on theism, for one thing... more »


May 9, 2016 | Loneliness is endemic to urban life: the acute feeling of isolation in a big crowd. Think of Warhol, surrounded always by people but never true friends... more »


May 7, 2016 | "Deviates are so widespread that they sometimes seem to be running a kind of closed shop.” That was Time in 1966 on gays in the arts. What was the Homintern?... more »


May 6, 2016 | How Patti Smith spends her days: On a bizarre, bohemian death cruise, taking blurry Polaroids of writers’ graves and meditating on pebbles... more »


May 5, 2016 | What word processing wrought. Easily, endlessly editable text lets you go on revising forever. It’s a blessing. And a curse... more »


May 4, 2016 | If secularism is a powerful force, why is it so often on the losing side of history? Because religion is no atavistic holdover; it's here to stay... more »


May 3, 2016 | The cult of the unfinished. Incomplete paintings, sculptures, novels, and musical compositions are undeniably seductive - too seductive... more »


May 2, 2016 | Frank Gehry, known for egomaniacal arrogance and an inability to stick to a budget, made his name by turning a shack into a shrine... more »


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