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How did a Jewish libertarian from the Bronx, a self-professed anarchist whose life was dedicated to <strong>destroying the state,</strong> end up on the reading lists of so many would-be fascists?

Arts and Letters Daily - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 16:39
How did a Jewish libertarian from the Bronx, a self-professed anarchist whose life was dedicated to destroying the state, end up on the reading lists of so many would-be fascists?

David Bentley Hart is a scholar of old ideas, like those published in the <strong>New Testament</strong>. But he is a modern writer. The evidence: He is very rude

Arts and Letters Daily - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 16:39
David Bentley Hart is a scholar of old ideas, like those published in the New Testament. But he is a modern writer. The evidence: He is very rude

&ldquo;I am almost sickened by my basic honesty,&rdquo; wrote <strong>Clarice Lispector,</strong> who broke with superficial truths to expose deeper ones. She had a complex relationship with veracity

Arts and Letters Daily - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 16:39
“I am almost sickened by my basic honesty,” wrote Clarice Lispector, who broke with superficial truths to expose deeper ones. She had a complex relationship with veracity

&ldquo;I write because I hate,&rdquo; said <strong>William Gass</strong>, who died last week. Anger at his bigoted father and alcoholic mother shaped a singular philosophical vision

Arts and Letters Daily - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 16:08
“I write because I hate,” said William Gass, who died last week. Anger at his bigoted father and alcoholic mother shaped a singular philosophical vision

&ldquo;<strong>Darwin was wrong</strong>,&rdquo; says A.N. Wilson, whose book is quite often wrong, too. Indeed, it's an object lesson in how not to write the history of anything

Arts and Letters Daily - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 16:08
Darwin was wrong,” says A.N. Wilson, whose book is quite often wrong, too. Indeed, it's an object lesson in how not to write the history of anything

Writers are told to fan out across genres, to expose themselves to everything. Bad advice. <strong>Don't read widely</strong>. Most work is middling and should be ignored

Arts and Letters Daily - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 16:08
Writers are told to fan out across genres, to expose themselves to everything. Bad advice. Don't read widely. Most work is middling and should be ignored

<strong>Read the acknowledgments</strong>. Amid the dreary enumeration &mdash; librarians, fact-checkers, mothers, therapists, divorce lawyers &mdash; truths seep out

Arts and Letters Daily - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:24
Read the acknowledgments. Amid the dreary enumeration — librarians, fact-checkers, mothers, therapists, divorce lawyers — truths seep out

Hoaxes succeed by promising us what we wish for. P.T. Barnum called it &ldquo;<strong>humbug</strong>,&rdquo; a form of fakery that doesn't deceive so much as fill its beholder with wonder

Arts and Letters Daily - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:24
Hoaxes succeed by promising us what we wish for. P.T. Barnum called it “humbug,” a form of fakery that doesn't deceive so much as fill its beholder with wonder

As we rush to impose moral clarity on human desire, remember: <strong>Sex is not a solvable problem</strong>. Let's minimize the number of its victims

Arts and Letters Daily - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:24
As we rush to impose moral clarity on human desire, remember: Sex is not a solvable problem. Let's minimize the number of its victims

When <strong>French theorists</strong> invaded Baltimore. Drinks flowed, insults were hurled, Derrida triumphed, and Lacan ran up a up a $900 phone bill

Arts and Letters Daily - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 18:48
When French theorists invaded Baltimore. Drinks flowed, insults were hurled, Derrida triumphed, and Lacan ran up a up a $900 phone bill

<strong>Patrick Leigh Fermor</strong> began walking in 1933. Until his death, in 2011, he was all generosity and enthusiasm, arcane knowledge and irresistible wit

Arts and Letters Daily - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 18:48
Patrick Leigh Fermor began walking in 1933. Until his death, in 2011, he was all generosity and enthusiasm, arcane knowledge and irresistible wit

<strong>Jerry Fodor</strong> was a skeptic, including in his own ideas about how cognition works. He was treated as a crank &mdash; a beloved crank

Arts and Letters Daily - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 18:48
Jerry Fodor was a skeptic, including in his own ideas about how cognition works. He was treated as a crank — a beloved crank

What do <strong>Ursula K. Le Guin</strong>, chronicler of imaginary lands, and <strong>James Salter</strong>, who wrote of soldiers and marriage, have in common? They're both moralists

Arts and Letters Daily - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 18:34
What do Ursula K. Le Guin, chronicler of imaginary lands, and James Salter, who wrote of soldiers and marriage, have in common? They're both moralists

<strong>Goethe</strong> was an uninhibited pagan who boasted of his "pretty wild life" and knowledge of girls. Yet he didn't have sex until he was nearly 40. What gives?

Arts and Letters Daily - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 18:34
Goethe was an uninhibited pagan who boasted of his "pretty wild life" and knowledge of girls. Yet he didn't have sex until he was nearly 40. What gives?

Pseudoscience, by definition, should not appear in scientific publications. But peer review is a porous gatekeeper, and &ldquo;<strong>predatory publishers</strong>&rdquo; are shameless

Arts and Letters Daily - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 18:34
Pseudoscience, by definition, should not appear in scientific publications. But peer review is a porous gatekeeper, and “predatory publishers” are shameless

<strong>Toril Moi</strong> believes literary theory has corrosive consequences. She wants to transform the way we think about language. But her version of literary studies has no literature

Arts and Letters Daily - Sun, 12/10/2017 - 18:45
Toril Moi believes literary theory has corrosive consequences. She wants to transform the way we think about language. But her version of literary studies has no literature

<strong>Freud&rsquo;s theories</strong> don&rsquo;t mesh well with modern science. Yet he represents something important for neuroscientists: the possibility that laws govern mental life

Arts and Letters Daily - Sun, 12/10/2017 - 18:45
Freud’s theories don’t mesh well with modern science. Yet he represents something important for neuroscientists: the possibility that laws govern mental life

<strong>Adam Gopnik</strong> has been called a monster of privilege, a &ldquo;pastry fetishist.&rdquo; His response? We don&rsquo;t dismiss Proust for depicting a well-off white man in Paris in the 1880s

Arts and Letters Daily - Sun, 12/10/2017 - 17:35
Adam Gopnik has been called a monster of privilege, a “pastry fetishist.” His response? We don’t dismiss Proust for depicting a well-off white man in Paris in the 1880s

In her fiction, <strong>Jenny Diski</strong> preferred self-concealment to baring her soul. Yet her life was her material, and, in the end, she was her writing

Arts and Letters Daily - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 18:08
In her fiction, Jenny Diski preferred self-concealment to baring her soul. Yet her life was her material, and, in the end, she was her writing

Biographers describe <strong>Oscar Wilde</strong> after prison as a broken man, a spent force. Nonsense. Until his final illness, he &ldquo;carried himself with a threadbare majesty&rdquo;

Arts and Letters Daily - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 18:08
Biographers describe Oscar Wilde after prison as a broken man, a spent force. Nonsense. Until his final illness, he “carried himself with a threadbare majesty”