July 27, 2018 | Handsome, smart, and devious, George Villiers ascended in King James I’s court. But his rise ended with sexual shenanigans and, it seems, murder... more »


July 26, 2018 | Judith Shklar was a pessimist in an era of triumphalism. At odds with the political philosophy of her own time, her ideas are finally resonating... more »


July 25, 2018 | The prestige of books has declined. But that hasn't dimmed tyrants' longtime desire to collect their dull thoughts between two covers... more »


July 24, 2018 | Time is typically experienced as linear, uniform, and homogeneous. One appeal of books is that they function as time machines... more »


July 23, 2018 | “Bitching Aplenty” could have been the title of Seymour Hersh's memoir. His antics wouldn't be tolerated today. Has journalism deprived itself of genius by depriving itself of depravity?... more »


July 21, 2018 | The "problem of thinking" is a matter of overcoming discomfort, not biases. Thinking deeply is exhausting, and we instinctively avoid ideas that complicate our lives ... more »


July 20, 2018 | Robert Caro’s five-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson will have been published over three decades. The future of the genre, via video, ebook, or podcast, will be quite different... more »


July 19, 2018 | Literary theory is choked with jargon and oracular prose, which makes John Farrell's achievement all the more remarkable... more »


July 18, 2018 | Oscar Wilde, post-imprisonment, was a broken, tragic figure. Or was he? A different story lurks in his hilarious letters and his general seduction of Paris... more »


July 17, 2018 | The imperialism of economics. The field explains away complicated realities, ignores culture, and exalts reductionism. Can it be saved?... more »


July 16, 2018 | Life in the Matthiessen family. Hypermasculinity, CIA intrigue, multiple suicides, and literary brilliance. A member of the clan takes stock ... more »


July 14, 2018 | In 1908, an elderly woman was murdered in her Glasgow apartment. The police had a suspect. Then Arthur Conan Doyle got involved... more »


July 13, 2018 | A tale of two epics. Anthony Powell’s masterwork was as long and complex as Proust’s, and is of superior quality, writes Perry Anderson. Why has it been forgotten?... more »


July 12, 2018 | Is Lucretius a useful guide to the American political situation? Martha Nussbaum thinks so. She's not so much wrong as oblivious... more »


July 11, 2018 | Alcibiades punched his future father-in-law, bit his wrestling opponent, and tried to seduce everyone. How an appalling man became so appealing... more »


July 10, 2018 | The memoir as manual is a most irksome publishing craze. As if life were a tidy moral lesson, and every idiosyncratic experience worthy of extrapolation... more »


July 9, 2018 | To unpack the debate over “Afro-pessimism” and the theories of Frantz Fanon and Fred Moten, consider the work of the poet Aimé Césaire... more »


July 7, 2018 | Horror, wonder, awe. To observe jellyfish is to experience both the beauty and the danger of the natural world... more »


July 6, 2018 | A campaign against humanity. Invalided from civil service for alcoholism, Flann O’Brien turned his ire on publishers, television producers, and James Joyce... more »


July 5, 2018 | A farrago of politics, preaching, and fireworks. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is the literary equivalent of the Fourth of July... more »


July 4, 2018 | “Actuality is continually outdoing our talents,” noted Philip Roth. This anxiety — that reality is more creative than fiction — is key to the work of Laurent Binet... more »


July 3, 2018 | Stephen Greenblatt's tour of Elizabethan-era tyranny is reassuring: Shakespeare believed that tyrants ultimately fail. But it is also deeply unconvincing... more »


July 2, 2018 | “Writing about football is nonsense,” writes Karl Ove Knausgaard, in a book about football. Before punk rock, cigarettes, and women, he found joy in the beautiful game... more »


June 30, 2018 | The writing and enjoyment of intellectual works are often predicated on exploitation. Should one feel guilt — or gratitude — for such privileges?... more »


June 29, 2018 | What do Mary McCarthy, Hannah Arendt, and Susan Sontag have in common? They'd all have delighted in eviscerating a new group biography of them... more »


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