Dec. 8, 2015 | The debonair, courtly letters of Bernard Berenson and Kenneth Clark chronicle a time when art history was a path to wealth and power... more »


Dec. 7, 2015 | Iris Murdoch said she was "capable of being in love with about six men at once.” Something about the sexual as well as intellectual thrill of the student–teacher relationship... more »


Dec. 5, 2015 | The inimitable Lucia Berlin. Neither feminist nor fantasist nor fabulist, she was a switchboard operator -- and a severely underappreciated writer... more »


Dec. 4, 2015 | Marianne Moore didn't plumb the deeper meanings of her poetry. "I am governed by the pull of a sentence as the pull of a fabric is governed by gravity"... more »


Dec. 3, 2015 | In praise of pessimism. It’s the anxious cynics among us who tend to get things right, both politically and artistically... more »


Dec. 2, 2015 | We've been treated to memoirs by New Yorker staff writers, editors, even a receptionist. Why does the magazine inspire such documentary zeal?... more »


Dec. 1, 2015 | What we want from fiction: emotional intimacy, the opportunity to transcend the barrier of self-consciousness that constrains us... more »


Nov. 30, 2015 | Joan Didion's writing remains fresh because it captures both the ambition of hopeful beginnings and the dignity of grief and survival... more »


Nov. 28, 2015 | Sometimes what passes as writerly craft is actually the product of a political agenda. Consider the Iowa Writers' Workshop in the 1950s... more »


Nov. 27, 2015 | Castro and the intellectuals. Why did so many American leftists embrace the Cuban revolution? It was a retreat into fantasy... more »


Nov. 26, 2015 | Have you forsaken the possibility of transcendence and settled for a life of safety and predictability? Blame Shakespeare and Freud... more »


Nov. 25, 2015 | When T.S. Eliot married Valerie Fletcher, he was nearly 70 and she was 30. Obscene poems followed. Explicitness, of course, is less erotic than suggestion... more »


Nov. 24, 2015 | Take it from a Cambridge-trained veterinarian: Evolution has made the lives of modern women a miserable swirl of moping about muffin tops. Oh, really?... more »


Nov. 23, 2015 | How to give. Ignore causes with which you have a personal connection. Give to charities that benefit the poorest people in the cheapest possible way... more »


Nov. 21, 2015 | Ancient Greece was replete with religion, but not the moral and metaphysical creeds we know. Greece was the birthplace of atheism... more »


Nov. 20, 2015 | At the age of 38, a slacker — a man of chat and gossip, not moral seriousness — become a great literary artist. The puzzle of Proust... more »


Nov. 19, 2015 | Despairing witness, acerbic book reviewer, passé novelist: Who was James Baldwin? No one speaks about him as fluently as he did... more »


Nov. 18, 2015 | The Romans combined military prowess and inclusive citizenship. If not a contemporary model, says Mary Beard, it does represent a challenge... more »


Nov. 17, 2015 | As a novelist, Marilynne Robinson writes with humility, avoiding dogma. As an essayist, she is a hectoring sermonizer... more »


Nov. 16, 2015 | Vladimir's ardor for Vera was undiminished for a half-century, though there was a lapse in 1937 — what Humbert called a "lethal delectation"... more »


Nov. 14, 2015 | Why do dogs poop facing north? Is mounting — a cushion, a leg — always a sign of sexual frustration? Do dogs experience guilt?... more »


Nov. 13, 2015 | What's the zeitgeist of the early 21st century? Misanthropy: We view ourselves as incapable of overcoming challenges. We have become unfree... more »


Nov. 12, 2015 | In the 18th century, a new kind of person appeared: the "man of feeling," who could empathize with strangers. This was a striking departure ... more »


Nov. 11, 2015 | The response to Timothy Snyder has been rapturous. Most of those cheering, however, are not historians of Nazism, Eastern Europe, or the Holocaust... more »


Nov. 10, 2015 | Edward Frenkel sees beauty in numbers, but his work is understood by only a few people. So the mathematician made an aestheticized pornographic snuff film... more »


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