April 21, 2018 | “Young men should prove theorems,” a mentor told a young Freeman Dyson. “Old men should write books.” Now 94, Dyson is following that advice... more »

April 20, 2018 | The artist the public loved and the critics loved to hate. Who but Leonard Bernstein would begin a New York Philharmonic performance by singing the Kinks?... more »

April 19, 2018 | The political intrigue, the horseback escape from arrest, the serial cheating — Pablo Neruda’s life was meant for telling. So how does a new biography fall flat?... more »

April 18, 2018 | In 1778, two women abandoned their routines and took to the Welsh countryside to write, think, read, and entertain literary guests. Is such a life still possible today?... more »

April 17, 2018 | At least since Aesop, animals were seen as symbols useful for understanding human morality. Then, in 1668, Descartes’s work changed everything... more »

April 16, 2018 | Not content with absolute power, dictators write long and tedious books. That's not to say tyrants are always poor stylists. Stalin's strengths were modest, but real... more »

April 14, 2018 | For Hannah Arendt, thinking was a form of political engagement. She didn't just want to find a place for herself in the world. She wanted to change it... more »

April 13, 2018 | What undergirds our commitment to equality? For Bernard Williams, it’s our ability to love and to suffer. For Jeremy Waldron, it’s something broader... more »

April 12, 2018 | Edward Lear would produce paintings as a hostess gift, regale companions with jokes and stories, and sing while accompanying himself at the piano. Best dinner guest ever?... more »

April 11, 2018 | For Joseph Conrad, international politics was subject matter — but with what kind of global vision? To Chinua Achebe, he was simply a “bloody racist”... more »

April 10, 2018 | James Wood was well matched to the literary style of the 1990s — aesthetics were in, politics out. Now things have changed. Does Wood still matter?... more »

April 9, 2018 | Most remarkable about Alexander von Humboldt's scientific achievements is that he didn't accidentally kill himself long before 1859, when he died just short of 90... more »

April 7, 2018 | Our understanding of consciousness is not just a “hard problem” — it’s a scandal, a mess. Into the fray ventures Antonio Damasio with his theory of homeostasis... more »

April 6, 2018 | The anecdotes, the famous faces bobbing in and out of view, the reams of office lore (sex on the desk, nervous breakdowns in the bathroom stall): What is Rolling Stone’s legacy?... more »

April 5, 2018 | The two Tennessee Williamses. He made sure his wildly transgressive stories reached only a niche audience. His sanitized Broadway big-hitters were another case entirely... more »

April 4, 2018 | As Kate Manne and Mary Beard plumb the depths of the patriarchy, a question emerges: Has anything changed since The Odyssey?... more »

April 3, 2018 | Harold Bloom has had it with comma counters, gender commissars, and literary critics. He is, to his own mind, a lone voice in the wilderness... more »

April 2, 2018 | Before modern philosophy, there were Erasmus and Luther. Their dispute stands as a lasting reminder that among the threats to human flourishing, misplaced certitude shouldn’t be underestimated... more »

March 31, 2018 | Life with Doris Lessing. An author attempts to enact her radical concept of freedom. But can a life so liberated regain a conventional shape?... more »

March 30, 2018 | What happens to anthropology when its fundamental divisions are undone — when magic and reason, and “primitive” and “modern,” no longer organize the field?... more »

March 29, 2018 | The world’s least orthodox literary salon: a fascist lecturing to literary titans in an asylum. Ezra Pound’s visitors, the “Ezrologists,” pioneered the tale of the “bughouse” visit... more »

March 28, 2018 | Baffled cows, depressed does, and conniving roosters. Science paints an ever-fuller picture of the inner lives of animals. But are we any closer to understanding their minds?... more »

March 27, 2018 | Fatalism is a permanent temptation of politics. Optimistic fatalism competes with the pessimistic variety. Democracy requires finding a way between them... more »

March 26, 2018 | Don't underestimate the power of an impertinent question. That’s what drove Oriana Fallaci, whose interview subjects usually regretted giving her the time. “Being a journalist means being disobedient”... more »

March 24, 2018 | Each generation of historians conveys the Jewish past in a way that's bound up with its vision of the Jewish future. Those visions generally turn out to be wrong... more »

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