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 »


March 31, 2015 | Humans are changing the planet, maybe changing evolution as well. That notion is fascinating, far-reaching, and almost certainly nonsense... more »


March 30, 2015 | Lewis Carroll, obsessed by young girls, photographed them dressed as princesses, or beggars, or naked. How to discern between playful and predatory?... more »


March 28, 2015 | Alfred Russel Wallace and his notebook traveled some 14,000 miles, accumulating evidence of natural selection. Does Darwin get too much credit?... more »


March 27, 2015 | Pity technology critics. Their arguments are empty and vain. What's needed is less technology criticism and more political and social criticism... more »


March 26, 2015 | The black power movement's reputation has been burnished by a rising tide of revisionism. But are these works of exacting scholarship?... more »


March 25, 2015 | A tale of two philosophers. One upbeat, the other gloomy; one a torchbearer for progress, the other a skeptic. But both quite fond of the limelight... more »


March 24, 2015 | Fail until you fail completely. Mow grass that does not need mowing. Dig holes. The free advice and deadpan humor of Samuel Beckett... more »


March 23, 2015 | Mark Twain, 31, got a newspaper to pay for a luxury cruise to Europe. The problem? Almost everyone on the ship was also a journalist... more »


March 21, 2015 | We live in an injury culture. That's not cynicism, it's fact. Pain is a fount of creative inspiration. And self-indulgence... more »


March 20, 2015 | Wilde in America. Clad in green-velvet knee breeches and patent-leather shoes, he crossed the continent in search of attention... more »


March 19, 2015 | Have you heard the story of the Duchess of Argyll's sex scandal? Gore Vidal's salacious, sardonic tales were well rehearsed... more »


March 18, 2015 | Brecht in America. His reception was grudging at best, obtuse and reactionary at worst. The problem? He fell victim to the professoriate... more »


March 17, 2015 | F.R. Leavis maintained the highest of high brows. His idea of intellectual slumming was listening to Schubert and reading a neglected classic... more »


March 16, 2015 | Among the Amazons. Did a tattooed tribe of horseback riders smoke cannabis, drink fermented mare's milk, and fight alongside men?... more »


March 14, 2015 | For writers, who thrive on isolation, fame is an odd goal. Elusive, too, because the world no longer cares about literature. Our Keats is Steve Jobs... more »


March 13, 2015 | War's psychic aftermath: trauma, chaos, depression, dissociation, fear and resilience. Making sense of the postwar persona... more »


March 12, 2015 | To grasp Keynes, you must understand that he was more than an economist. He was a don, speculator, farmer, statesman, theatrical manager... more »


March 11, 2015 | James Laughlin had exceptional taste and a knack for turning personal problems into aesthetic ones. In the end, he was undone by his insecurities... more »


March 10, 2015 | From the Harlem Renaissance through the Black Arts Movement, among the most influential readers of black writers were the men of the FBI... more »


March 9, 2015 | A good metaphor allows you to see the world in new ways. But there aren't many good metaphors. Most annoy and distract rather than illuminate... more »


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