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Manure, wood shavings, hot peanuts, greasepaint, popcorn, burning sugar, sweat, despair: There's nothing like the <strong>smell of the circus</strong>

Arts and Letters Daily - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 19:38
Manure, wood shavings, hot peanuts, greasepaint, popcorn, burning sugar, sweat, despair: There's nothing like the smell of the circus

<strong>Cy Twombly</strong> fell for Robert Rauschenberg, an Italian heiress, and, reportedly, his own assistant. His art, like his love life, was inscrutable

Arts and Letters Daily - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 19:38
Cy Twombly fell for Robert Rauschenberg, an Italian heiress, and, reportedly, his own assistant. His art, like his love life, was inscrutable

Sotheby's and spectacle. <strong>Banksy&rsquo;s autoshredding stunt</strong> reinforces how contemporary art is not so much about art but the documentation of an event

Arts and Letters Daily - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 18:36
Sotheby's and spectacle. Banksy’s autoshredding stunt reinforces how contemporary art is not so much about art but the documentation of an event

<strong>George Scialabba</strong> is a mind out of time. His temper &mdash; a radical who demonstrates the virtues of conservatism &mdash; is the very opposite of what passes for serious thought these days

Arts and Letters Daily - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 18:36
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

The pernicious <strong>social dynamics of the internet</strong>. We overshare about our personal lives and fail to understand those of others. Narcissism spreads; empathy vanishes

Arts and Letters Daily - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 18:36
The pernicious social dynamics of the internet. We overshare about our personal lives and fail to understand those of others. Narcissism spreads; empathy vanishes

<strong>Descriptions of the future</strong> are hopelessly tied to the gadgets of today. Ideas, not technology, drive the biggest historical changes

Arts and Letters Daily - Mon, 10/15/2018 - 17:37
Descriptions of the future are hopelessly tied to the gadgets of today. Ideas, not technology, drive the biggest historical changes

<strong>Gandhi</strong>: Behind the cuddly icon was a relentlessly counterintuitive thinker &mdash; self-sacrifice over self-interest, obligations over rights, dying over killing

Arts and Letters Daily - Mon, 10/15/2018 - 17:37
Gandhi: Behind the cuddly icon was a relentlessly counterintuitive thinker — self-sacrifice over self-interest, obligations over rights, dying over killing

What is the point of a <strong>bookish life</strong>? It's not to become knowledgeable or clever, and certainly not to become learned. It is to become wiser

Arts and Letters Daily - Mon, 10/15/2018 - 17:37
What is the point of a bookish life? It's not to become knowledgeable or clever, and certainly not to become learned. It is to become wiser

Steven Pinker believes that we take the <strong>Enlightenment&rsquo;s gifts</strong> for granted; Homi Bhabha believes that we must calculate the cost of those gifts. A debate

Arts and Letters Daily - Sun, 10/14/2018 - 18:57
Steven Pinker believes that we take the Enlightenment’s gifts for granted; Homi Bhabha believes that we must calculate the cost of those gifts. A debate

The <em>Iliad</em> and <em>Odyssey</em> shaped behavior in the Greek world. How so? One example: they tarnished the reputation of <strong>daytime sex</strong> for well over a millennium

Arts and Letters Daily - Sun, 10/14/2018 - 18:57
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

When his aged father and newborn son died within a few years of each other, <strong>William James</strong> took an interest in "ghosts and clairvoyances and raps and messages from spirits"

Arts and Letters Daily - Sun, 10/14/2018 - 18:57
When his aged father and newborn son died within a few years of each other, William James took an interest in "ghosts and clairvoyances and raps and messages from spirits"

Kandinsky has long been seen as the father of <strong>abstract painting</strong>. But Hilma af Klint predated him. Her art was informed by seances &mdash; what the spirits said, she did

Arts and Letters Daily - Fri, 10/12/2018 - 18:40
Kandinsky has long been seen as the father of abstract painting. But Hilma af Klint predated him. Her art was informed by seances — what the spirits said, she did

Unambiguous identities &ndash; and the <strong>politics of identity</strong> &ndash; may be illusions. But when they are widely accepted, illusions become very powerful social facts

Arts and Letters Daily - Fri, 10/12/2018 - 18:40
Unambiguous identities – and the politics of identity – may be illusions. But when they are widely accepted, illusions become very powerful social facts

Women do the lion&rsquo;s share of the book reading, editing, agenting, and buying. Still, we live in a <strong>literary culture that ignores</strong> women

Arts and Letters Daily - Fri, 10/12/2018 - 18:40
Women do the lion’s share of the book reading, editing, agenting, and buying. Still, we live in a literary culture that ignores women

The New York Intellectuals changed the system, and the system changed them: a story of hollow affirmation, fading honor, and <strong>flamboyant</strong> <strong>decay</strong>

Arts and Letters Daily - Thu, 10/11/2018 - 18:53
The New York Intellectuals changed the system, and the system changed them: a story of hollow affirmation, fading honor, and flamboyant decay

Life has sped up. We ruthlessly divide our time into efficient units. We even walk faster than we used to. <strong>Time to slow down</strong>

Arts and Letters Daily - Thu, 10/11/2018 - 18:53
Life has sped up. We ruthlessly divide our time into efficient units. We even walk faster than we used to. Time to slow down

What was the <strong>Frankfurt School</strong>? Twentieth-century Europe had exposed civilization&rsquo;s dark impulses. Did the new reality demand a new style of critique?

Arts and Letters Daily - Thu, 10/11/2018 - 18:53
What was the Frankfurt School? Twentieth-century Europe had exposed civilization’s dark impulses. Did the new reality demand a new style of critique?

<strong>William Hazlitt&rsquo;s style</strong>, in the early 19th century, was strikingly modern. So were his challenges as a freelance writer: urgent deadlines and financial struggle

Arts and Letters Daily - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 19:03
William Hazlitt’s style, in the early 19th century, was strikingly modern. So were his challenges as a freelance writer: urgent deadlines and financial struggle

<strong>Work</strong>: The Greeks reviled it; the Judeo-Christian tradition thought it could lead to redemption. We think it&rsquo;s simply what one does

Arts and Letters Daily - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 19:03
Work: The Greeks reviled it; the Judeo-Christian tradition thought it could lead to redemption. We think it’s simply what one does

<strong>Are you charming</strong>? (Hint: If you think you are, you&rsquo;re probably not.) But what is charm? Easier to determine what it isn't

Arts and Letters Daily - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 19:03
Are you charming? (Hint: If you think you are, you’re probably not.) But what is charm? Easier to determine what it isn't