Jan. 1, 2011 | Easy communication between languages is a lovely ideal, but it is a myth. In reality, it would mean eternal misunderstanding... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | The Atlantic Ocean: cold, iron, and salt; knife-sharp winds and the keening of gulls; sea lanes, docksides, and squadrons of steadily moving ships... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Mark Twain described his memoir as "frank and free and unembarrassed." But Judith Shulevitz found it tamed, evasive and, indeed, embarrassed...... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'What is remarkable about Oscar Wilde''s formalism is that it is so human. This may come as a surprise: we tend to think of his aesthetics as hothouse stuff'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Stefan Zweig was a cosmopolite: the kind of Pan-European emancipated Jew who managed to shed all belief systems with the exception of pacifism... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Most scientific biographies used to put their subjects on pedestals. Today, priority and grudges shape the history of science as much as the science... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Germany is fast becoming a smaller and stupider country. Outrageous! And yet Thilo Sarrazin''s claims contain too much truth to dismiss'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Ballet is a "conservative and insular art that resists change," says Jennifer Homans, thus linking it to beauty and nostalgia and noble ideals... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Will English find itself in the service of the world community forever? Given how easily languages can be dethroned, this seems an unlikely prospect... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Oliver Sacks again invites readers to explore the mysteries of the human mind with essays on people with drastically altered perceptions... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Romain Gary challenged Clint Eastwood to a duel over an affair with Jean Seberg. Eastwood declined, but he was still French ambassador to Hollywood... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Henry VIII''s mistress, Anne Boleyn, was the Camilla Parker Bowles to Catherine''s People''s Princess. Women hated that "goggle eyed whore"'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Yes, the Chicago Manual of Style trudges through each new edition, workhorse that it is. But even in the new 16th, it remains a poet. Even a dancer... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Scientists fight for recognition and jobs just like doctors, artists, and actors. They are bold, shy, plodding, brilliant, generous, and spiteful. Just human beings... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Thelonious Monk''s audiences heard music that was, to their worldly sensibility, better than a miracle: not just astonishing, it was believable too'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Americans use language to cover the sleeper, not to wake him, James Baldwin said, which was why the writer as artist is so important... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'When the Southern states seceded in 1861 and the Civil War broke out, Britain''s instinct was to stay out of the action. Too much tension, however'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Charles de Gaulle''s life shows the truth in the claim that no man is a prophet in his own land. Le grand Charles did not always enjoy reverence in his homeland'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Self-help books: pap from sea to shining sea, diaphanous lunacy, simpleton dullness. One fears for a nation awash in this drivel... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Nietzsche: a gentle professor who liked to think of himself as a wild beast on the rampage, an intellectual terrorist out to destroy Christianity... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | We plunder the Atlantic Ocean, gobble up its fish and dump our plastic water bottles into it. Still, the Atlantic has a resilience all its own... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'So we''re celebrity-obsessed? Look back to antiquity to find the most dazzling of them all. Cleopatra made no films: coins minted and stories told were enough'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Claude Lévi-Strauss''s great idea was that both myth and kinship were part of the most elementary processes of human thought'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | The growing concern for Soviet Jewry in the 1960s was part of a generational shift in American Jewish identity. It changed how U.S. Jews saw themselves... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Procrastination: under its antic form of action-as-inaction is the much more unsettling question whether anything is worth doing at all... more »


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