Oct. 30, 2018 | "By one estimate," says Carl Zimmer, "genealogy has now become the second-most-popular search topic on the internet. It is outranked only by porn"... more »

Oct. 29, 2018 | A character study of God. Literary criticism is a valuable way to understand religious texts. But do the same methods work for the Bible and Quran?... more »

Oct. 27, 2018 | For Jill Lepore, history is about how we know what we know (or think we do), and what to make of the gap between evidence and truth... more »

Oct. 26, 2018 | His mother was his muse. Philip Larkin wrote home with terrifying frequency but didn’t have much to say beyond the trivial... more »

Oct. 25, 2018 | Hauntings, haints, and wraiths of every stripe and disposition appear in today’s literary fiction. But what to make of literature’s spectral moment?... more »

Oct. 24, 2018 | Lionel Trilling did not care to be a critic or to be thought of as one. He always seemed to want to be somewhere else, doing something else... more »

Oct. 23, 2018 | Writers and their fathers. In the space between what Joyce knew about his father, a violent drunk, and what Joyce felt about him, the author forged his style... more »

Oct. 22, 2018 | It’s tempting to think that enchantment ended with the Enlightenment. But what of Isaac Newton’s alchemy, the Frankfurt School’s occult leanings, Americans’ belief in demonic possession?... more »

Oct. 20, 2018 | A strange first job. After Oxford, Anthony Powell joined perhaps the only publishing house run by someone who hated books and considered authors “a natural enemy”... more »

Oct. 19, 2018 | The literature of identity can be self-obsessed, isolating, and overwhelmingly aggrieved. But it can also rally us to the cause of individual freedom... more »

Oct. 18, 2018 | Cy Twombly fell for Robert Rauschenberg, an Italian heiress, and, reportedly, his own assistant. His art, like his love life, was inscrutable... more »

Oct. 17, 2018 | George Scialabba is a mind out of time. His temper — a radical who demonstrates the virtues of conservatism — is the very opposite of what passes for serious thought these days... more »

Oct. 16, 2018 | Gandhi: Behind the cuddly icon was a relentlessly counterintuitive thinker — self-sacrifice over self-interest, obligations over rights, dying over killing... more »

Oct. 15, 2018 | The Iliad and Odyssey shaped behavior in the Greek world. How so? One example: they tarnished the reputation of daytime sex for well over a millennium... more »

Oct. 13, 2018 | Unambiguous identities – and the politics of identity – may be illusions. But when they are widely accepted, illusions become very powerful social facts... more »

Oct. 12, 2018 | Life has sped up. We ruthlessly divide our time into efficient units. We even walk faster than we used to. Time to slow down... more »

Oct. 11, 2018 | Work: The Greeks reviled it; the Judeo-Christian tradition thought it could lead to redemption. We think it’s simply what one does... more »

Oct. 10, 2018 | For Marilynne Robinson, the culprit behind our ills is disbelief, which neatly fits her theological disposition. But are we really suffering a surfeit of rationality... more »

Oct. 9, 2018 | The average person consumes 100,000 words a day. But are we paying close attention to what we read?... more »

Oct. 8, 2018 | Translators should themselves be artists, argues a new book. The goal: not just to accurately recreate a work of literature, but to enhance it... more »

Oct. 6, 2018 | “I did not feel guilty,” said Doris Lessing of the children she abandoned in Africa. But she also compared guilt to an iceberg, with “ninety-nine hundredths hidden”... more »

Oct. 5, 2018 | Young Oscar Wilde: Physically unprepossessing – overgrown, clumsy, “slab-faced” – he was nonetheless magnetic. But his talent was to annoy as much as to amuse... more »

Oct. 4, 2018 | The reluctant genius and the relentless promoter. Though Max Brod turned out his own books, his life was defined by the items he seized from the late Kafka’s desk... more »

Oct. 3, 2018 | Lionel Trilling's letters reveal a man who was deft, a bit dull, and often depressed. Above all, a man exquisitely attuned to small slights... more »

Oct. 2, 2018 | Yes, utopian projects deserve deep suspicion. Moral progress is, after all, fragile. But can our highest aspiration really be a purpose-free life?... more »

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