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ideas, criticism, debate
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<strong>Happy endings</strong> are rare in literary fiction. Instead we get bleak plots and pervasive pessimism. Can we really say literature is good for us?

Sun, 08/05/2018 - 18:54
Happy endings are rare in literary fiction. Instead we get bleak plots and pervasive pessimism. Can we really say literature is good for us?

Holocaust-deniers, anti-vaccinators, climate-change skeptics: The <strong>psychology of denialism</strong> runs deep and affects us all

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 18:54
Holocaust-deniers, anti-vaccinators, climate-change skeptics: The psychology of denialism runs deep and affects us all

<strong>Yuval Noah Harari</strong> dwells on big subjects &ndash; war, terrorism, nationalism, God. He does so by combining great swaths of padding with observations of crushing banality

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 18:54
Yuval Noah Harari dwells on big subjects – war, terrorism, nationalism, God. He does so by combining great swaths of padding with observations of crushing banality

Reading <em>Lolita</em> in the age of #MeToo. The book never pardons us for the sin of participating in it. The revulsion is why it endures. <strong>Caitlin Flanagan</strong> explains

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 18:54
Reading Lolita in the age of #MeToo. The book never pardons us for the sin of participating in it. The revulsion is why it endures. Caitlin Flanagan explains

The mythic <strong>personification of evil</strong> has been around for a long time, and our sense of its reality has not vanished with the steady march of rationalism

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 18:45
The mythic personification of evil has been around for a long time, and our sense of its reality has not vanished with the steady march of rationalism

<strong>Oscar Wilde</strong>&rsquo;s American book tour. He reclined sensuously on a fur rug for publicity stills, mastered the pungent axiom, and faced down rowdy hecklers

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 18:45
Oscar Wilde’s American book tour. He reclined sensuously on a fur rug for publicity stills, mastered the pungent axiom, and faced down rowdy hecklers

<strong>Learning French</strong> has been likened to joining a gang. Both involve "a long and intensive period of hazing.&rdquo; Why bother? It forces you to rethink your approach to language itself

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 18:45
Learning French has been likened to joining a gang. Both involve "a long and intensive period of hazing.” Why bother? It forces you to rethink your approach to language itself

The big business of the &ldquo;war of ideas.&rdquo; In front of 6,000 people, <strong>Jordan Peterson</strong> riffs on the human brain, God, and genocide, mining mass ennui for money

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 18:41
The big business of the “war of ideas.” In front of 6,000 people, Jordan Peterson riffs on the human brain, God, and genocide, mining mass ennui for money

For 19th-century British poets, to die in Italy was a guarantee of sanctification. Exhibit A: <strong>Oscar Wilde</strong> throwing himself on the ground at Keats&rsquo;s grave

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 18:41
For 19th-century British poets, to die in Italy was a guarantee of sanctification. Exhibit A: Oscar Wilde throwing himself on the ground at Keats’s grave

We used to reach for metaphors, idioms, and images to convey abstract ideas, says <strong>Steven Pinker</strong>. Now our prose is more efficient, but more lifeless

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 18:41
We used to reach for metaphors, idioms, and images to convey abstract ideas, says Steven Pinker. Now our prose is more efficient, but more lifeless

<strong>In defense of ugly art</strong>. From da Vinci&rsquo;s &ldquo;series of disgusts&rdquo; to such works as &ldquo;A Grotesque Old Woman,&rdquo; viewers tend to gawk at the hideous. They should look deeper

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 18:31
In defense of ugly art. From da Vinci’s “series of disgusts” to such works as “A Grotesque Old Woman,” viewers tend to gawk at the hideous. They should look deeper

Every generation gets the <strong>Emily Bront&euml;</strong> they need. The latest iteration: Proto-feminist who chafed at traditional gender roles; bread-making maven; skilled musician

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 18:31
Every generation gets the Emily Brontë they need. The latest iteration: Proto-feminist who chafed at traditional gender roles; bread-making maven; skilled musician

The cult of <strong>Evelyn Waugh</strong> included Graham Greene and Kingsley Amis. The modern Waughian wears tweed, rides a bike, and, most likely, blogs

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 18:31
The cult of Evelyn Waugh included Graham Greene and Kingsley Amis. The modern Waughian wears tweed, rides a bike, and, most likely, blogs

Recondite, scholarly works on human evolution or the history of trade have topped the best-seller list. Is this a <strong>boom in &ldquo;brainy&rdquo; books</strong>?

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 19:38
Recondite, scholarly works on human evolution or the history of trade have topped the best-seller list. Is this a boom in “brainy” books?

&ldquo;Work is a good thing in small doses,&rdquo; wrote Philip Larkin, who proved an efficient librarian. Today, however, labor often goes hand in hand with <strong>soul-crushing misery</strong>

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 19:38
“Work is a good thing in small doses,” wrote Philip Larkin, who proved an efficient librarian. Today, however, labor often goes hand in hand with soul-crushing misery

Russia came early to the idea that "the people" carry the moral solution to the world&rsquo;s ills. These populists, fueled by a <strong>guilty idealism</strong>, failed utterly

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 19:38
Russia came early to the idea that "the people" carry the moral solution to the world’s ills. These populists, fueled by a guilty idealism, failed utterly

<strong>Peter Berger</strong> did as much as anyone to illuminate the place of religion in the modern world. He was more opaque about his own religious identity

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 19:38
Peter Berger did as much as anyone to illuminate the place of religion in the modern world. He was more opaque about his own religious identity

Have people said that you should <strong>write a book</strong>? Hate to break it to you, but they're almost certainly wrong

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 18:37
Have people said that you should write a book? Hate to break it to you, but they're almost certainly wrong

In 1948, <strong>Hemingway</strong> set sail for Europe with more than 30 pieces of luggage and a royal-blue Buick convertible. He was in search of a second act. Improbably, he found it

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 18:37
In 1948, Hemingway set sail for Europe with more than 30 pieces of luggage and a royal-blue Buick convertible. He was in search of a second act. Improbably, he found it

<strong>What English has wrought</strong>. It's everywhere. Meantime, a language goes extinct every two weeks; up to 90 percent of the world&rsquo;s 6,000 languages are at risk of disappearing

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 19:36
What English has wrought. It's everywhere. Meantime, a language goes extinct every two weeks; up to 90 percent of the world’s 6,000 languages are at risk of disappearing