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 »


April 30, 2016 | Stalin's henchmen. Vile murderers and treacherous cowards, they were also a musical bunch. They could have made a competent chamber ensemble... more »


April 29, 2016 | It’s all well and good, intellectually, to praise forgetting. But collective amnesia is something else entirely. Where to draw the line?... more »


April 28, 2016 | The history of virility - Henry VIII’s codpiece, Louis XIV's dancing - was a lively topic. Then a team of French academics went to work... more »


April 27, 2016 | Sexism across the centuries. In classical music, the torch of white, male genius is passed from generation to generation. Time to reconsider female composers... more »


April 26, 2016 | The Aeneid plays an outsize role in the cultural literacy of the West. A reminder of the confusing and disturbing pleasures of epic narrative... more »


April 25, 2016 | Blanche and Alfred Knopf had a simple plan: “We would get married and make books and publish them.” Reality was more complicated - and interesting... more »


April 23, 2016 | How did a Velázquez painting from 1623 emerge in the back of an English bookshop two centuries later? That question drove one man to ruin... more »


April 22, 2016 | A metaphor creates a "little event in the mind of the reader." It can make the familiar strange and the strange familiar... more »


April 21, 2016 | The beauty of Brutalism. Those bold and passionate concrete monstrosities mark a high point of architectural creativity and ingenuity... more »


April 20, 2016 | What's it like to be a bat? A bonobo? A lot of ingenuity has gone into answering that question. Conclusion: Don't underestimate nonhuman minds... more »


April 19, 2016 | Authenticity is overrated. It's pretense and flagrant artifice that create culture. We'd have no art without it... more »


April 18, 2016 | Growing up Mann. Thomas was distant and severe to his six children, who lacked his talent. In Klaus, this produced a fascinating and tragic restlessness ... more »


April 16, 2016 | What word-processing wrought. The shift from typewriter to computer changed the way artists and intellectuals wrote. Derrida, for one, saw that his paragraphs were too long... more »


April 15, 2016 | A puzzle of the French Revolution: Paris was alive with scientific progress, yet many scientists were imprisoned or murdered... more »


April 14, 2016 | If Christopher Hitchens was so good — clever, fearless, well read — why so bad? If he was so right, why so wrong?... more »


April 13, 2016 | What makes a dog a dog? Forty-two teeth, advanced auditory and olfactory senses, tight-knit social structure. But really it's all about food... more »


April 12, 2016 | Aged, skeletal, pancaked in makeup, Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmo’s major-domo, was the philosopher-queen of "the will to please"... more »


April 11, 2016 | Twain's autobiography - uncut, unexpurgated, unchronological - clocks in at half a million words. An uproarious and unmitigated delight, right? Well... more »


April 9, 2016 | Often dandyish on the page, Wallace Stevens could be vicious in person. He traded punches with Hemingway. He lost... more »


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