Jan. 1, 2011 | Economic and scientific innovation helped propel the West past the East around 1770. So did Islam. Timur Kuran explains... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Christopher Isherwood detested the way marriage "drags down and shackles and degrades" men. Yet he was a pioneer of gay domestic partnerships... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'While some Western historians are reluctant to describe the Soviet Union as "totalitarian," Russia''s president, Dmitri Medvedev, has no such qualms'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Jürgen Habermas has a two-fold persona: opaque philosopher and lucid polemicist. Peter Gordon says they stem from a single calling... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Dismissed as a clownish entertainer, Cab Calloway was in fact a creative genius. Terry Teachout sings the praises of "Minnie the Moocher"... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | The Founding Fathers remain central to American political debate. Historical myths are easy to mock, and Jill Lepore "is an expert at mocking"... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Victorian Britain craved lurid reports of crime and murder. Newspapers were happy to oblige. By comparison, ours is a golden age of journalism... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Born in the Soviet Union, buried in Venice, a citizen of America, the poet Joseph Brodsky was a nowhere man - a universalist and a cosmopolitan... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'John Cage''s music sounds like an argument between form and chaos. His curiosity bled into his art. "I''m interested in going to extremes"'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Rigorous, disciplined, disarmingly unnatural - no artistic endeavour is more physically or psychologically demanding than ballet... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 19th-century anarcho-radicals bombed cities and assassinated political figures. Then, as now, policing terror sometimes means encouraging it... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Tony Judt''s memoir was composed as an antidote to insomnia, a bulwark against insanity. The result reveals a conservative streak'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Yuli Margolin spent six years in a gulag. His 1949 memoir, with its gimlet eye for literary detail, should have appeared in English decades ago... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | The new Steve Martin novel is a nasty exercise in narcissism - a lazy, complacent and forgettable book. If it is a satire, it satirizes only itself... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Harrowing essays, political tracts, literary criticism: The extraordinary life''s work of Thomas De Quincey. Not bad for a drink-soaked opium addict'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Tariq Ramadan regards tolerance as mere "intellectual charity." He doesn''t want it. Ramadan''s view, though fashionable, is without meaning'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Does America have a national character? It''s an important question; too bad historians stopped asking it. Claude Fischer tempts them back into the fray'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'The first printing of Sidereus Nuncius sold out in a week. Galileo''s elegant prose undid centuries of conformity and launched observational science'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Aberrant Marxist, heretical Jew, maverick social theorist - Walter Benjamin remains many things to many people... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'There is something very modern, almost New Agey, and endearingly insecure, about George Bush''s tone and posture in Decision Points'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | When Sergei Diaghilev emerged in fin-de-siècle St. Petersburg, ballet was passionless, mechanical, and dead. It was time for a new kind of dance... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Cass Sunstein is a brilliant, intellectually honest legal thinker. He is a progressive who is also very pragmatic, perhaps too much so... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'George Washington disapproved of it, and so did Benjamin Franklin. The Tea Party wasn''t such a good idea the first time around'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Computers are wreaking havoc on the English language. We hear this sort of thing whenever a new writing instrument becomes dominant... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Giacomo Leopardi''s great love poems tend toward the unrequited. In his odes on Italy, beauty and grandeur always fade toward the horizon'... more »


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