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ideas, criticism, debate
Updated: 35 min 54 sec ago

&ldquo;A clueless lot of scruffs, potentially quite dangerous.&rdquo; Were <strong>Hobsbawm, E.P. Thompson</strong>, and like-minded historians really Stalinists, as MI5 feared?

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 18:25
“A clueless lot of scruffs, potentially quite dangerous.” Were Hobsbawm, E.P. Thompson, and like-minded historians really Stalinists, as MI5 feared?

In a life marked by grief, <strong>Elaine Pagels</strong> writes about religion without pious uplift or false comfort. In their stead: only a partial triumph over despair

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 18:25
In a life marked by grief, Elaine Pagels writes about religion without pious uplift or false comfort. In their stead: only a partial triumph over despair

Is <strong>Twitter ruining book publishing</strong>? Lionel Shriver hits out at &ldquo;morality clauses,&rdquo; which make publishing contracts vulnerable to the whims of online outrage

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 18:25
Is Twitter ruining book publishing? Lionel Shriver hits out at “morality clauses,” which make publishing contracts vulnerable to the whims of online outrage

Happy birthday, <strong>Norman Podhoretz</strong>. The author, at 89, reflects on committing &ldquo;intellectual heresy&rdquo; and the irony of the <em>New York Review</em>&rsquo;s republishing <em>Making It</em>

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 18:44
Happy birthday, Norman Podhoretz. The author, at 89, reflects on committing “intellectual heresy” and the irony of the New York Review’s republishing Making It

<strong>Francis Fukuyama</strong>&rsquo;s <em>The End of History</em> may have been wrong, but at least it was ambitious. His new book merely summarizes arguments that already feel dated

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 18:44
Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History may have been wrong, but at least it was ambitious. His new book merely summarizes arguments that already feel dated

How do we judge <strong>abstract art</strong>? Do narratives make us more empathetic? These aesthetic riddles are suddenly the domain of experimental psychology

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 18:44
How do we judge abstract art? Do narratives make us more empathetic? These aesthetic riddles are suddenly the domain of experimental psychology

<strong>Michel Houellebecq</strong> wrote about terrorism pre-9/11 and provincial protest pre-<em>gilets jaunes.</em> It&rsquo;s like he&rsquo;s hired the zeitgeist as his publicity agent

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 19:40
Michel Houellebecq wrote about terrorism pre-9/11 and provincial protest pre-gilets jaunes. It’s like he’s hired the zeitgeist as his publicity agent

The re-fructifying of <strong>Saul Bellow</strong>. After he recovered from a coma incurred in the Caribbean, his 80s may constitute the best final act in American letters

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 19:40
The re-fructifying of Saul Bellow. After he recovered from a coma incurred in the Caribbean, his 80s may constitute the best final act in American letters

<strong>Susan Sontag</strong>, self-improvement guru. Her goals included better posture, eating less, writing home more, and not publicly criticizing anyone at Harvard

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 18:31
Susan Sontag, self-improvement guru. Her goals included better posture, eating less, writing home more, and not publicly criticizing anyone at Harvard

Artistic citizenship can mean simply sharing a local identity. It can also convey a social responsibility. <strong>Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie</strong> on why she is not an &ldquo;African writer&rdquo;

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 18:17
Artistic citizenship can mean simply sharing a local identity. It can also convey a social responsibility. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on why she is not an “African writer”

At 39, listless and depressed, <strong>Winston Churchill</strong> took to the canvas. Although some of his works evoke paint-by-numbers, he was generally a &ldquo;successful amateur&rdquo;

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 18:17
At 39, listless and depressed, Winston Churchill took to the canvas. Although some of his works evoke paint-by-numbers, he was generally a “successful amateur”

How wide is the circle of ideas not worthy of discussion? Which beliefs should be judged as &ldquo;<strong>out of bounds</strong>&rdquo; &mdash; and who gets to be the referee?

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 18:17
How wide is the circle of ideas not worthy of discussion? Which beliefs should be judged as “out of bounds” — and who gets to be the referee?

<strong>The real Socrates</strong>? Plato&rsquo;s version is pure rationality. Xenophon&rsquo;s dispenses practical advice, like the merits of dancing alone

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 17:38
The real Socrates? Plato’s version is pure rationality. Xenophon’s dispenses practical advice, like the merits of dancing alone

The 1943 cast recording of <strong><em>Oklahoma!</em></strong> put the Broadway musical at the center of American popular culture. It didn't stay there for long

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 17:38
The 1943 cast recording of Oklahoma! put the Broadway musical at the center of American popular culture. It didn't stay there for long

<strong>Death of the author</strong>? Barthes&rsquo;s 1967 declaration made sense at the time, but authorship has been hard to do away with

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 17:38
Death of the author? Barthes’s 1967 declaration made sense at the time, but authorship has been hard to do away with

Online literary salons were unprofessional, charming, and reliant on free labor. No more. The golden age of book blogging is dead. In its stead: <strong>Bookstagram</strong>

Sun, 01/13/2019 - 18:16
Online literary salons were unprofessional, charming, and reliant on free labor. No more. The golden age of book blogging is dead. In its stead: Bookstagram

His works are not Gothic; they are not parody or satire; they are funny but not jokey. It's weird how <strong>Edward Gorey</strong>'s art is ubiquitous but hard to characterize

Sun, 01/13/2019 - 18:16
His works are not Gothic; they are not parody or satire; they are funny but not jokey. It's weird how Edward Gorey's art is ubiquitous but hard to characterize

The <strong>philosopher&rsquo;s penchant for argument</strong> is grounded in a conception of the good life and the duties of good citizenship. It also inevitably makes him come off as an arsehole

Sun, 01/13/2019 - 18:16
The philosopher’s penchant for argument is grounded in a conception of the good life and the duties of good citizenship. It also inevitably makes him come off as an arsehole

Elizabeth Anderson asks, "<strong>"What's the point of equality?"</strong>" Is she the philosopher best suited to this awkward moment in American life?

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 18:08
Elizabeth Anderson asks, ""What's the point of equality?"" Is she the philosopher best suited to this awkward moment in American life?

In 1889, <strong>Debussy"</strong> visited the world&rsquo;s fair, which featured the Eiffel Tower. What impressed him more was an opera featuring &ldquo;a furious little clarinet&rdquo;

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 18:08
In 1889, Debussy" visited the world’s fair, which featured the Eiffel Tower. What impressed him more was an opera featuring “a furious little clarinet”