April 29, 2015 | Talking, arguing, shouting, preaching, threatening: Wilhelm II, the last kaiser, "was like a Tourette's tic at the heart of the state"... more »


April 28, 2015 | On a November evening in 1977, Barbara Taylor, a Ph.D. student, had an epiphany. By 1981 she'd written a dissertation. And gone crazy... more »


April 27, 2015 | John Gray, well-versed in literature of all brows, is among the best-read contemporary philosophers. He's also the bleakest... more »


April 25, 2015 | Eugene O'Neill was grim and unsmiling. O'Neill didn't deny it: "I'll write about happiness if I ever happen to meet up with that luxury"... more »


April 24, 2015 | Blinkered and dangerous. Westerners tend to write about war as if success and failure depended only on them, not enemies or locals... more »


April 23, 2015 | The Enlightenment's baleful legacy has made us insular, distracted, selfish, says Matthew Crawford. Too bad he doesn't understand the Enlightenment... more »


April 22, 2015 | We know about his science, his politics, his philosophy - what else is there to know about Albert Einstein? Not least: his sense of humor... more »


April 21, 2015 | We read about the Holocaust to see who we really are. If we had been there, we suspect, we would have failed any moral test... more »


April 20, 2015 | Saul Bellow disdained literary criticism. Thus his cheery greeting to Lionel Trilling at a party: "Still peddling the same old horseshit?"... more »


April 18, 2015 | John Searle has a bone to pick with Bacon, Descartes, Locke, and Kant. He blames them for the basic mistake of modern epistemology... more »


April 17, 2015 | A shy boy with big ears, T.S. Eliot got mediocre grades and nearly flunked out of college. Then he discovered the French poet Jules Laforgue... more »


April 16, 2015 | Those who don't praise Ulysses, wrote Ezra Pound, earn themselves a place in the lower intellectual orders." But to praise it, shouldn't we understand it?"... more »


April 15, 2015 | Neuroscience is booming, but much of it is trivial or even wrong. When it comes to the brain, we still don't know much... more »


April 14, 2015 | The study of literature has to change. But the embrace of big data must be tempered by critical reflexes that come only from reading, reading, reading... more »


April 13, 2015 | The history of madness is full of maddening assumptions. Most curious that a set of American diagnostic manuals is considered authoritative... more »


April 11, 2015 | A critic's education. At Columbia, Morris Dickstein got the real thing: Trilling, Morgenbesser, Dupee. It was not to be encountered again... more »


April 10, 2015 | Did August Strindberg, the alchemist and paranoid, cross into insanity when writing The Defense of a Madman? He himself had no idea... more »


April 9, 2015 | Feeling distracted, as if advertisers, Facebook, and Apple had colonized your mental space? Is silence ever harder to find? Blame Kant... more »


April 8, 2015 | Philip Glass was born with the I-don't-care-what-you-think gene." It's been a gift, a license to experiment. It's also led him astray"... more »


April 7, 2015 | Few journalists have gone as far as Joseph Mitchell in bending reality to his artistic will. This is not because they are more virtuous; it is because they are less gifted... more »


April 6, 2015 | When feminism took on motherhood, it revealed a big gap between theory and practice. Social change requires more than ideological declarations... more »


April 4, 2015 | In March 1966, Michael Wood went to lunch at the Sirloin and Saddle and discovered how the CIA was duping college students... more »


April 3, 2015 | For men in ancient Greece, the gymnasium was a place to pursue physical and intellectual excellence. Also sex. Homosexuality shaped gym culture... more »


April 2, 2015 | Freedom from all constraints is no freedom at all. True liberty lies in responsibility. We are defined by the commitments we keep... more »


April 1, 2015 | When Friedrich Hayek became obsessed with John Stuart Mill, it wasn't Mill's intellect that captivated Hayek. It was his love life... more »


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