Sept. 2, 2016 | Tom Wolfe has long been deft at skewering the pompous, the status-seeking, the class-conscious. His new target: Darwin. Wolfe comes armed not with evidence, but with sarcasm... more »


Aug. 31, 2016 | The vanishing Christian intellectual. Auden, Eliot, Lewis, Niebuhr once dominated public discourse and dotted the covers of Time. Where are their descendants?... more »


Aug. 30, 2016 | Benjamin vs. Brecht. Their chess matches pitted the mercurial self-confidence of Brecht against the quiet focus of Benjamin. Brecht usually won... more »


Aug. 29, 2016 | There is a vast literature on Wagner: his politics, philosophical ambition, and anti-Semitism. Is it any longer possible to really hear the music?... more »


Aug. 27, 2016 | Rousseau, Nietzsche, Isaiah Berlin, Leo Strauss — the history of modernism is full of pessimists. But modernity is about more than great books... more »


Aug. 26, 2016 | Forgiveness, stuck in the past, is not all it’s said to be. Martha Nussbaum ponders some alternatives... more »


Aug. 25, 2016 | A 14th-century Egyptian bureaucrat’s compilation of human knowledge includes the price of chickens, an encounter with a lion, and formulae for enlarging the penis... more »


Aug. 24, 2016 | Jacob Neusner published more than 1,000 books. Being the most published person in history became his trademark. That and falling out with everyone he knew... more »


Aug. 23, 2016 | Felix Weil was the heir to a great grain fortune. He could have asked his father for anything. He asked for a Marxist academic institute. Thus the Frankfurt School... more »


Aug. 22, 2016 | “Free at last, with no money troubles, and able to love, to sing, and to die,” Paul Gauguin wrote about Polynesia, as a member of the "exote school of art"... more »


Aug. 20, 2016 | The wittiest British writer? Saki, aka Hector Hugh Munro. His writing is full of lunatic clarity: cows could be murderers; ferrets, gods... more »


Aug. 19, 2016 | Was the Holocaust a single event or a post-hoc label for disparate events? The reality seems to be a strange mixture of intent and improvisation... more »


Aug. 18, 2016 | The flâneur: urban idler, dawdler, roaming thinker. But for women, the relationship between thinking and walking is vexed. A history of the flâneuse... more »


Aug. 17, 2016 | What is forgiveness? A victim can't separate the wrong from the wrongdoer. And the wrongdoer can't remake himself. At most, we can hope for generosity... more »


Aug. 16, 2016 | “Everywhere there was somewhere and everywhere there they were men women children dogs cows..." Gertrude Stein wrote a children's book... more »


Aug. 15, 2016 | Eulogies are not a genre noted for honesty — the origin of the word, after all, is “to speak well.” What are the benefits of truth when speaking of the dead?... more »


Aug. 13, 2016 | Boas, bugs, and backscratchers, cockroaches and condors, the evil eye and the history of toast. In praise of the erudite eclecticism of the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica... more »


Aug. 12, 2016 | Justin E.H. Smith is battling against philosophical insularity - its overly male, overly white, overly Western biases. He's losing ... more »


Aug. 11, 2016 | Accused of plagiarism, T.S. Eliot annotated The Waste Land with notes about his sources. To his dismay, that kickstarted the critical practice of allusion-hunting... more »


Aug. 10, 2016 | Frederick Law Olmsted created a profession - landscape architecture - and stumbled onto an ironic truth: It takes a lot of artifice to create “natural” scenery... more »


Aug. 9, 2016 | For as long as human cultures have existed anywhere, we have buried our dead. What's changed is the place the dead occupy in our lives... more »


Aug. 8, 2016 | Jungian theory emerged from the dynamics of Carl's marriage: a mercurial husband who strays, a wife who brings up the children and puts her own ambition on hold ... more »


Aug. 6, 2016 | An “uncouth, neurotic, psychopathic murderer-poet.” Robert Lowell was mad. And when he was mad he fell in love. His affairs were all the same: intense and fleeting... more »


Aug. 5, 2016 | Marx’s views were occasionally prescient, often wrong-headed, sometimes repugnant. But they had little in common with what later came to be understood as Marxism... more »


Aug. 4, 2016 | In praise of Cynthia Ozick, "a sorceress of silken prose, wholly incapable of platitude, of cliché, of even the stray dead phrase"... more »


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