July 4, 2015 | Openness and its discontents. Participation, transparency, collaboration: The great promises of the Internet aren't what they seem... more »

July 3, 2015 | The midcentury male writer: angry, bighearted, loving, hungry for fame, fiercely competitive, tragic, drink-soaked. William Styron knew all too well ... more »

July 2, 2015 | Over beer in an Oxford pub, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis talked torture, Tertullian, bores, odd place names, and the revitalization of Christian intellectual life... more »

July 1, 2015 | One of the functions of Nazism was social advancement, and few Nazis were as opportunistic as Joseph Goebbels. He embraced barbarism, but that was hardly unusual... more »

June 30, 2015 | The editorial license of Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. They stripped fairy tales of cruelty, licentiousness, rococo delirium, sophisticated comic irony... more »

June 29, 2015 | The essayist Max Beerbohm was always more lauded than read. Adored by the likes of Virginia Woolf, he earned a reputation that stranded him on a pedestal... more »

June 27, 2015 | Challenges of a Bloomsbury childhood: growing up in a ménage à trois, being courted by a parent’s former lover, paternity secrets, emotional blackmail... more »

June 26, 2015 | Max Brod was a middling, if prolific, writer. He was also, of course, a close friend of Kafka. Together they explored museums, theaters – and brothels... more »

June 25, 2015 | Marriage, a fraught and mysterious institution, inspires both passion and pragmatism. Gabriel García Márquez called it “the conjugal conspiracy”... more »

June 24, 2015 | Whether glass, ruby red, or furry slippers; winged boots or glowing-hot iron shoes; footwear is a recurrent fairy-tale motif. Why?... more »

June 23, 2015 | Everything you know about perception is wrong – and it’s the fault of Western philosophers, starting with Descartes. Or so John Searle would have you think... more »

June 22, 2015 | The first literary duel: Hector and Achilles. Among the last: Allen Tate against Karl Shapiro, in 1948. The unlikeliest weapon: unsold books... more »

June 20, 2015 | In defense of pragmatic pessimism. As a corrective to the deluded optimism of the happiness industry, worrying is more essential than ever... more »

June 19, 2015 | The Japanese literary scene is plagued by rehashed American literature. Contemporary novelists are “brainless writers of crap.” Exhibit A: Haruki Murakami... more »

June 18, 2015 | The trouble with new nature writing. Books by Helen Macdonald and Robert Macfarlane purport to be about wildness. Why are they so tame?... more »

June 17, 2015 | How are children supposed to grow up, to become free, happy, decent adults? Answers are elusive in our infantile age... more »

June 16, 2015 | The challenges of translating Homer. How does one render magically appearing bathtubs or spears in two places at once? That depends. Is The Iliad art or accident?... more »

June 15, 2015 | A collection of biographies shows literature as a longtime refuge for sad sacks and self-destructors, a cynical celebration of spectacular failure... more »

June 13, 2015 | An aesthetic of shyness. Elizabeth Bishop wasn’t much for confession. In her life, as in her apartment, she craved “closets, closets, and more closets!”... more »

June 12, 2015 | Mary Shelley wasn’t overtly political in her seven novels, two travelogues, and 23 short stories. But the influence of her outspoken mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, is evident throughout... more »

June 11, 2015 | Roland Barthes regarded biography as “a novel which dare not speak its name.” He preferred to reduce life to a few distinct moments, details, inflections he called “biographemes”... more »

June 10, 2015 | Critics says Alain de Botton is a marketer of solipsism, a moron. But does their ire just highlight their own unwillingness to engage the public?... more »

June 9, 2015 | A guide to Jonathan Galassis Muse: Pepita Erskine = Susan Sontag; Sterling Wainwright = James Laughlin; Elliott Blossom = Harold Bloom. But who is The Nympho?... more »

June 8, 2015 | Boswell was at home in the salons of the Enlightenment, but he wasn't an enlightened thinker. Ask the women he pursued... more »

June 6, 2015 | What could have brought William F. Buckley and Norman Mailer together in friendship? For starters, both detested Gore Vidal... more »

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