March 2, 2016 | The manuscript of William Empson's The Face of the Buddha was thought to have vanished in a taxi in 1947. It's been found, and it's tremendous... more »


March 1, 2016 | The men who built Hollywood. They made millions, created scandals, and, for the most part, ruined their kids. A story of
children and childish adults... more »


Feb. 29, 2016 | The story of the Brontë sisters is that of women with time. Isolated by geography, a needy father, and a drug-addled brother, they wrote constantly... more »


Feb. 27, 2016 | When Groucho Marx met T.S. Eliot. They had dinner in June 1964. Marx lectured Eliot on King Lear. It was excruciating... more »


Feb. 26, 2016 | While in the Austrian army, Wittgenstein wrote a book of philosophy. Then he quit the subject — he’d solved all its problems... more »


Feb. 25, 2016 | Lola Ridge, feminist anarchist poet, was tiny but often described as “tall.” Perhaps that had to do with her standing up to police officers on horseback... more »


Feb. 24, 2016 | The Third Inkling. The fiction of Charles Williams was beloved by Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, but he stood out for other reasons: physical cowardice and mild sadism... more »


Feb. 23, 2016 | The musical is the old standby of big-budget theater. Why do some shows work and others flop? (Hint: It isn't about artistic quality)... more »


Feb. 22, 2016 | The world has ended, and on the day of judgment God convenes a panel: “Darwinism vs. Intelligent Design.” Into the fray steps Jerry Coyne... more »


Feb. 20, 2016 | Pity Sartre! He spent three years wooing Wanda Kosakiewicz. Then Camus turned up and within days slept with her. Sartre never forgave him.... more »


Feb. 19, 2016 | The Code of Hammurabi, Pliny’s Natural History, The Joy of Sex: The reference shelf contains multitudes, from ancient Babylon to Wikipedia... more »


Feb. 18, 2016 | Our feel-good culture is allergic to ideas of sin and wickedness. These days the dark side of the soul is simply a dozen or so shades of gray... more »


Feb. 17, 2016 | The social sciences have failed to develop a satisfactory theory of ethical behavior. Surely there's more to life than the aloofness of intellectuals... more »


Feb. 16, 2016 | War photography obscures death, destruction, and displacement. The images tend to be heroic, inoffensive -- and false ... more »


Feb. 15, 2016 | Slowly prolific, religious but tolerant, scholarly but unpretentious: Marilynne Robinson is a chastening figure in contemporary letters... more »


Feb. 13, 2016 | The precarious history of “Las Meninas.” Velázquez's masterpiece was thrown out of a second-story window, nearly bombed by Franco, and dangled from a speeding train... more »


Feb. 12, 2016 | Dismissing art as “pretentious" often reveals the accuser’s own anti-intellectual snobbery. Ambitious art merits better treatment... more »


Feb. 11, 2016 | “The problem with socialism is that it takes up too many evenings,” said Oscar Wilde. How a commitment to political and moral ideology is the enemy of pleasure... more »


Feb. 10, 2016 | A.O. Scott is a critic who doesn't like to pick sides. His is an ethos of winking worldliness, not philosophical and aesthetic commitment... more »


Feb. 9, 2016 | The toll of technology. We're engaged in “a race to the bottom of the brain stem.” Rewards go to those companies that keep us mindlessly attentive... more »


Feb. 8, 2016 | Forty-five years after publishing his first book, Giorgio Agamben continues to inspire condemnation, misunderstanding, frustration — and praise... more »


Feb. 6, 2016 | To understand modernism, pay less attention to poems and paintings than to faceless bureaucrats, agency acronyms, and legalese... more »


Feb. 5, 2016 | Orwell and the idea of Englishness. It took decades for the India-born writer to overcome his dislike for Britain... more »


Feb. 4, 2016 | Atheists in antiquity. What did Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris learn from Diagoras of Melos, the first known atheist? Not much... more »


Feb. 3, 2016 | Moriz Scheyer was a central figure in Vienna in the 1930s: friend of Mahler, Schnitzler, and Zweig. His wartime diary has been rediscovered... more »


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