June 9, 2015 | A guide to Jonathan Galassis Muse: Pepita Erskine = Susan Sontag; Sterling Wainwright = James Laughlin; Elliott Blossom = Harold Bloom. But who is The Nympho?... more »


June 8, 2015 | Boswell was at home in the salons of the Enlightenment, but he wasn't an enlightened thinker. Ask the women he pursued... more »


June 6, 2015 | What could have brought William F. Buckley and Norman Mailer together in friendship? For starters, both detested Gore Vidal... more »


June 5, 2015 | C.K. Scott Moncrieff: Catholic, homosexual, friend of Chesterton, Owen, Eliot, Waugh. Also war hero, spy, and the first English translator of Proust... more »


June 4, 2015 | Does evolution favor altruism? That cooperative groups prevail over uncooperative groups is an ascendant idea. That doesn’t mean it’s right... more »


June 3, 2015 | The closing of the French mind. Its way of thought has never quite recovered from the end of Communism and the fading of structuralism... more »


June 2, 2015 | Dave Hickey has a gift for unfashionable subjects, like Las Vegas and Liberace. An art critic of sorts, he’s also one of our best writers... more »


June 1, 2015 | In the 1950s, T.S. Eliot’s critical judgments were largely sacrosanct. By the 1980s, Harold Bloom had made a revolution in literary taste... more »


May 30, 2015 | The many myths of Alfred Hitchcock. Incarcerated at 4, beaten by Jesuits, left outside during a bombing raid: His trauma was part branding strategy... more »


May 29, 2015 | From 1948 to 1960, Nabokov wrote parts of Lolita, Pnin, and Speak, Memory. He was a writer transformed – an American, no longer a European aesthete... more »


May 28, 2015 | Bertrand Russell said that he feared argument with John Maynard Keynes, likening it to taking his life in his own hands. Keynes was ruthless, especially toward fellow academics.... more »


May 27, 2015 | Buckley once called Mailer a "moral pervert." Then they became friends, close enough for Buckley's wife to call Mailer Chooky Bah Lamb... more »


May 26, 2015 | In Putin's Russia, Stalin apologists are on the rise. "Strong leader," "effective manager," "benevolent dictator": Behold the whitewashing of a tyrant... more »


May 25, 2015 | To force men into utopia is barbarism, said Irving Howe. But the image of utopia keeps imagination alive ... more »


May 23, 2015 | In 1623 a London printer produced 750 copies of a 900-page collection of Shakespeare's plays. Centuries later the book became Henry Folger's white whale... more »


May 22, 2015 | We are born sinners: The belief has shaped our world. Has the feel-good religion of evangelism silenced the doctrine of original sin?... more »


May 21, 2015 | An orgy of self-fashioning. To become Tristan Tzara, Samuel Rosenstock left Romania, performed cabaret, and took up public relations... more »


May 20, 2015 | Helen Vendler, 82, has seen theories of literature come and go. She's immune to doctrines of taste, stubbornly idiosyncratic and unsystematic... more »


May 19, 2015 | Raymond Williams is the reason college students study Beyoncé as well as Beethoven. He also developed proto-digital humanities... more »


May 18, 2015 | The death of Vladimir Mayakovsky. In 1930 the poet shot himself with a gun provided by Stalin's secret police. Cause of death? Artistic frustration... more »


May 16, 2015 | A tale of two Marys. Wollstonecraft, the radical polemicist, and Shelley, her daughter, a coldhearted writer and member of the “league of incest”... more »


May 15, 2015 | Looking back at his philosophy dissertation 46 years later, T.S. Eliot was flummoxed. “I do not pretend to understand it”... more »


May 14, 2015 | Algeria, India, Israel: In each place, the triumph of secular revolutions ironically helped pave the way for religious revivals ... more »


May 13, 2015 | Explanations for the rise of global capitalism read like a shopping list of commodities: grease, coal, sugar, cotton... more »


May 12, 2015 | Good science arrived late. The modern techniques — observational testing, theory building — emerged in the 16th century. What took so long?... more »


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