Oct. 9, 2015 | At 27, Charlotte Brontë, a poor, despairing student, walked into a church confessional for the first time. Within a year, she was writing her first novel... more »


Oct. 8, 2015 | Literary biography is a tricky genre — facts scatter, evidence goes missing. For instance, was 1606 really “the year of Lear,” as a new book claims?... more »


Oct. 7, 2015 | Frank Stanford’s poetry doesn’t show up in major anthologies. But decades after his suicide, his “feral imagination” makes a comeback... more »


Oct. 6, 2015 | “Only connect”? Not so fast. The popularity of books by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Elena Ferrante shows our increasingly conflicted relationship with relationships... more »


Oct. 5, 2015 | The Ezra Pound way: Abrasive, provocative, morally tone deaf, he offered up a unique — and uniquely frightening — blend of propaganda, ridicule, invective, and poetry... more »


Oct. 3, 2015 | Tragedy and Ted Hughes. Extraordinarily charismatic, the poet didn’t mean to hurt the women in his life — but, invariably, he did... more »


Oct. 2, 2015 | The globalization of literature. While English has acquired elite literary status, other languages are dying at an unprecedented rate... more »


Oct. 1, 2015 | You know the Enlightenment. What about the Late Enlightenment, two decades when theater, literature, painting, and music gave voice to the concept of man's liberty?... more »


Sept. 30, 2015 | The strange case of the castrati. They were loved by men as well as women, were paid legendary sums, and were said to have secret powers... more »


Sept. 29, 2015 | Think Chekhov. What comes to mind? Disappointment, death, longing, loneliness. Yet young Anton was a workaday humor writer... more »


Sept. 28, 2015 | Not all writers have an interest in punctuation. Wordsworth didn't care. Twain, however, ordered a proofreader shot for attempting to improve his grammar... more »


Sept. 26, 2015 | The decades-long correspondence between Bernard Berenson and Kenneth Clark is marked by a tone of mutual affection. The knives came out in private... more »


Sept. 25, 2015 | The science of well-being is a pernicious project based on a mistaken assumption: that we can engineer our own happiness. Blame Jeremy Bentham... more »


Sept. 24, 2015 | William Styron once wrote that being a young novelist was like being a rock star. Ironic, because Styron’s own public persona was so boring... more »


Sept. 23, 2015 | “America, I am coming to conquer you!,” a young, impoverished Londoner declared as he crossed the Atlantic. He — Charlie Chaplin — was right... more »


Sept. 22, 2015 | Neither victim or avenger, Primo Levi was a witness. And though he bristled at the label "Holocaust writer," it's in that role that he matters most... more »


Sept. 21, 2015 | Mary McGrory, for much of her career the only female pundit in the room, wasn't shy about giving advice to colleagues: “Subtlety is overrated”... more »


Sept. 19, 2015 | The combustible household of Samuel Johnson included a bibulous doctor, a blind poet, and Johnson's servant and heir: Francis Barber... more »


Sept. 18, 2015 | Christian conservatism took root in 1950s America to oppose the welfare state, not godless Soviets. What lurked behind the movement? Big business... more »


Sept. 17, 2015 | Outside of science, there isn't much progress in the history of thought. Bad ideas don't fade away, says John Gray. They simply recur... more »


Sept. 16, 2015 | Wordsworthian breeze, Tennysonian damp, Dickensian fog: Writing has always been weatherbound. "English literature begins in the cold"... more »


Sept. 15, 2015 | Contemporary philosophy is laden with runaway “intellectualism” – everything is taken to be a product of thought. But some things just are... more »


Sept. 14, 2015 | Soviet bus stops. Among the styles: Gaudi knockoffs, open-fronted dodecahedrons, folksy mosaics. These ruins retain a surreal beauty... more »


Sept. 12, 2015 | The pianist and composer Béla Bartók found his sound – tonal, atonal, unorthodox – in the folk music of Hungary, Romania, and nearby nations... more »


Sept. 11, 2015 | What else is there to say about Isaiah Berlin? That his personality has come to seem more important than his intellectual achievements... more »


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