Jan. 10, 2015 | Intellectuals have spoken in the language of difference since the 1960s. Mark Greif recalls a time when commonality was in the air... more »


Jan. 9, 2015 | Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, thinks nations are defined by their books. For America, Huckleberry Finn is where to start... more »


Jan. 8, 2015 | The soul-sucking joylessness of the English department. Academics have annihilated the pleasures of reading literature, not to mention their writing... more »


Jan. 7, 2015 | Voltaire's garden was an ethical statement; Emily Dickinson's was a place for private retreat. What--if anything--can we learn from an author's garden?... more »


Jan. 6, 2015 | He was a dandified outsider with outsize ambitions. She was 10 years older and married - well, but not happily. Notes on a strange romance... more »


Jan. 5, 2015 | Willa Cather was against teaching college students how to write creatively, instead of how to write "clear and correct English"... more »


Jan. 3, 2015 | Penelope Fitzgerald, born into a remarkable family, was remarkable herself, not least for her persistence. She published her first book just shy of 60... more »


Jan. 2, 2015 | Step aside, love. Jealousy, an emotion so nuanced that we need other words to capture its twists, makes the world go round... more »


Jan. 1, 2015 | Libertarian paternalism. An oxymoron? Maybe. Desirable? Possibly. Inevitable? Definitely, at least according to Cass Sunstein... more »


Dec. 31, 2014 | Why Homer matters. Readers join a chain of inspiration that spans the history of Western culture. At the start was the poet's Muse herself ... more »


Dec. 30, 2014 | Christian in his moral vernacular, Catholic in his sensibility, Marxist in his political intelligence: Terry Eagleton is one odd intellectual... more »


Dec. 29, 2014 | In fairy tales, family members are murderers while animals are saviors. These doses of amorality and anarchy are desperately needed... more »


Dec. 27, 2014 | Witty, handsome, James ?J? Laughlin was hard to resist. But the publisher, poet, and anthologist, founder of New Directions, was deeply flawed... more »


Dec. 26, 2014 | What makes Leo Strauss so compelling? His detractors, mostly, and their eagerness to discover the sinister roots of conservative ideas... more »


Dec. 25, 2014 | Seamus Heaney disdained the righteous, the politically certain, the morally overbearing. He was committed to complication... more »


Dec. 24, 2014 | Le Corbusier, the original starchitect, is blamed for modernism's ills. Much of the vitriol, if not all of it, is deserved... more »


Dec. 23, 2014 | Dickens and his dogs. Timber, Turk, and Sultan were 'the terror of the neighbourhood,' the author boasted. Then he shot Sultan... more »


Dec. 22, 2014 | The French are prickly about criticism ? who isn't, really? But when it comes to French-bashing, no one does it better than the French... more »


Dec. 20, 2014 | 'I can't teach someone to write,' says John Casey, ?but I can sometimes teach someone to rewrite.' What he can teach them is craft... more »


Dec. 19, 2014 | For Robert Burns (haggis), Virginia Woolf (sausage, haddock), and Emily Dickinson (Black Cake), appetite was important to art... more »


Dec. 18, 2014 | When it comes to Orwell, we risk beatifying the man. Best to state what's simple and true: He was always interesting, even when he was wrong... more »


Dec. 17, 2014 | Death by a thousand apps. Self-reliance has given way to learned helplessness. Automation makes our lives safer and easier. But the costs are dear... more »


Dec. 16, 2014 | Art in an age of relentless acceleration. The novel used to be a speedy way of delivering ideas and experiences. Now it's unbearably slow ... more »


Dec. 15, 2014 | Smiles are fleeting, says Mary Beard, and hard to pin down. The perfect smile is a modern obsession. Blame the dental-industrial complex... more »


Dec. 13, 2014 | 'I never say what I believe and I never believe what I say,' declared Machiavelli. 'If I sometimes say the truth, I conceal it among lies?... more »


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