Arts and Letters Daily

Subscribe to Arts and Letters Daily feed
ideas, criticism, debate
Updated: 17 min 8 sec ago

When Mount Vesuvius erupted, thousands of papyrus scrolls were buried &mdash; the only intact <strong>ancient library</strong>. Will they finally be read?

3 hours 33 min ago
When Mount Vesuvius erupted, thousands of papyrus scrolls were buried — the only intact ancient library. Will they finally be read?

<strong>Oscar Wilde</strong>, post-imprisonment, was a broken, tragic figure. Or was he? A different story lurks in his hilarious letters and his general seduction of Paris

3 hours 33 min ago
Oscar Wilde, post-imprisonment, was a broken, tragic figure. Or was he? A different story lurks in his hilarious letters and his general seduction of Paris

Writers and even academic institutes are celebrating the <strong>mystical power of psychedelics</strong>. The enthusiasm is based more on hope than on scientific evidence

3 hours 33 min ago
Writers and even academic institutes are celebrating the mystical power of psychedelics. The enthusiasm is based more on hope than on scientific evidence

<strong>Auden left Britain</strong>&nbsp;for America in 1939 &mdash; &ldquo;at the first squeak of an air-raid warning,&rdquo; said Evelyn Waugh. Was it mere cowardice?

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 19:40
Auden left Britain for America in 1939 — “at the first squeak of an air-raid warning,” said Evelyn Waugh. Was it mere cowardice?

The <strong>imperialism of economics</strong>. The field explains away complicated realities, ignores culture, and exalts reductionism. Can it be saved?

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 19:40
The imperialism of economics. The field explains away complicated realities, ignores culture, and exalts reductionism. Can it be saved?

<strong>Shakespeare and science</strong>. He was a poet of Copernican astronomy before the telescope, and a poet of microbiology before the modern microscope

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 19:40
Shakespeare and science. He was a poet of Copernican astronomy before the telescope, and a poet of microbiology before the modern microscope

What does it mean to acquire a taste for something, whether classical music, coffee, or conservatism? It means <strong>shedding who we are</strong>&nbsp;and becoming who we aspire to be

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 17:06
What does it mean to acquire a taste for something, whether classical music, coffee, or conservatism? It means shedding who we are and becoming who we aspire to be

In 1989, <strong>Tim Berners-Lee</strong>&nbsp;came up with the idea that became the internet. Since then he's thought of little but how to guard it &mdash; and of how he's failed to do so

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 17:06
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee came up with the idea that became the internet. Since then he's thought of little but how to guard it — and of how he's failed to do so

Life in the <strong>Matthiessen family</strong>. Hypermasculinity, CIA intrigue, multiple suicides, and literary brilliance. A member of the clan takes stock&nbsp;

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 17:06
Life in the Matthiessen family. Hypermasculinity, CIA intrigue, multiple suicides, and literary brilliance. A member of the clan takes stock 

For the past 25 years, in novel after novel, Michel Houellebecq advanced a <strong>case against modern sexuality</strong>. Now his dystopia is our reality

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 13:34
For the past 25 years, in novel after novel, Michel Houellebecq advanced a case against modern sexuality. Now his dystopia is our reality

In 1908, an elderly woman was murdered in her Glasgow apartment. The police had a suspect. Then <strong>Arthur Conan Doyle</strong>&nbsp;got involved

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 13:34
In 1908, an elderly woman was murdered in her Glasgow apartment. The police had a suspect. Then Arthur Conan Doyle got involved

Science is too white, too male, too straight. So efforts to increase diversity make sense. But do they&nbsp;<strong>undermine scientific progress</strong>?

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 13:34
Science is too white, too male, too straight. So efforts to increase diversity make sense. But do they undermine scientific progress?

During <em>Shoah</em>&rsquo;s, 9 1/2 hours, <strong>Claude Lanzmann</strong>, who died last week, displayed a genius for not looking away from enormities and not tolerating niceties

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 15:52
During Shoah’s, 9 1/2 hours, Claude Lanzmann, who died last week, displayed a genius for not looking away from enormities and not tolerating niceties

A tale of two epics. <strong>Anthony Powell</strong>&rsquo;s masterwork was as long and complex as Proust&rsquo;s, and is of superior quality, writes Perry Anderson. Why has it been forgotten?

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 15:52
A tale of two epics. Anthony Powell’s masterwork was as long and complex as Proust’s, and is of superior quality, writes Perry Anderson. Why has it been forgotten?

A mystical approach to translating <strong>Clarice Lispector</strong>. Hallucinations and prayers abounded; magic crystals were employed; when the dictionary failed, a psychic was consulted

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 15:52
A mystical approach to translating Clarice Lispector. Hallucinations and prayers abounded; magic crystals were employed; when the dictionary failed, a psychic was consulted

<strong>Pity the semicolon</strong>. In poor favor since the mid-19th century, now it&rsquo;s an object of derision. The semicolon is a goofy antique, yes, but it still works

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 17:10
Pity the semicolon. In poor favor since the mid-19th century, now it’s an object of derision. The semicolon is a goofy antique, yes, but it still works

Is Lucretius a useful guide to the <strong>American political situation</strong>? Martha Nussbaum thinks so. She's not so much wrong as oblivious

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 17:10
Is Lucretius a useful guide to the American political situation? Martha Nussbaum thinks so. She's not so much wrong as oblivious

<strong><em>Privilege</em></strong>: We hear that word a lot these days, usually as an indictment lobbed by the privileged themselves. Why? Matthew Crawford has a theory

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 17:10
Privilege: We hear that word a lot these days, usually as an indictment lobbed by the privileged themselves. Why? Matthew Crawford has a theory

The man who discovered probability. We now live in a Bayesian age, but for centuries <strong>Thomas Bayes&nbsp;</strong>was dismissed as a crank. It's a scandal of modern intellectual life

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 17:24
The man who discovered probability. We now live in a Bayesian age, but for centuries Thomas Bayes was dismissed as a crank. It's a scandal of modern intellectual life

The ancient Athenian <strong>Alcibiades</strong>&nbsp;punched his future father-in-law, bit his wrestling opponent, and tried to seduce everyone. How an appalling man became so appealing

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 17:24
The ancient Athenian Alcibiades punched his future father-in-law, bit his wrestling opponent, and tried to seduce everyone. How an appalling man became so appealing